GoPro has acquired an exciting image stabilization software company that could help give a big boost your Hero action camera's video quality.
ReelSteady makes post-production video-editing software, and in May 2019 it released ReelSteady Go, a desktop application that automatically stabilizes footage shot from a range of GoPro cameras. These include the current Hero 8 Black, Hero 7 Black and Hero 6 Black, plus Hero 5 cameras including the Hero 5 Session.
But wait, don't the latest GoPros already have fantastic electronic stabilization in the form of HyperSmooth? Yes, and this is great if you want to share your footage immediately to social media or don't have time to edit. But if you want even better quality, and don't mind jumping on a laptop or desktop, then ReelSteady can produce even better, even cinematic, video quality. See the video linked below for a great example.
The reason why ReelSteady works so well with GoPros is because it taps into your compatible Hero's gyroscope metadata, which means it's particularly good at ironing out the wobbles and vibrations from challenging shooting situations. This is why it's become popular among FPV drone fans, who have used it to create fluid, roaming aerial shots like this one (created by ReelSteady co-founder Robert McIntosh).
The software isn't completely foolproof and requires a little time to master, but its acquisition by GoPro should increase the speed at which the software is integrated with GoPro Hero action cameras – and could eventually result in some of its features appearing in GoPro's own app.
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Right now, it's not exactly clear how GoPro and ReelSteady will work together, but GoPro says the software "will continue to be sold on the ReelSteady website and supported by GoPro customer support".
If you want more control than is on offer in the ReelSteady Go app, there is also a more powerful plug-in that's available for Adobe's After Effects. This pro-level stabilization software currently costs $399 (around £330 / AU$665), and lets you apply different levels of stabilization to different sections of your footage, to help you preserve image quality.
This differs from both ReelSteady Go and HyperSmooth, with the former adjusting the amount of stabilization in each frame automatically and the latter applying a standard 10% in-camera crop to your footage in order to smooth out the judder.
Of course, there's now the distinct possibility that some of ReelSteady's goodness will be absorbed into GoPro's own software, making it even easier for current and older Hero cameras to capture smooth, high-quality footage of your tree-top adventure course session or Airsoft addiction.
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