Even if Apple keeps improving the camera on your iPhone, your videos are not going to be any better if you don't have a steady pulse or a tripod. We can edit our clips, make them shorter, compress them and now, there is one app that helps you to stabilise your videos.
Movie Stiller [iTunes Link] promises to convert your unwatchable videos into something that doesn't give you a headache. The app developed by Creaceed (the guys behind the document scanning app Prizmo) allows you to pick any video from your iPhone library and give it a pro treatment. Let's be fair, when the your clips are too shaky because it has been windy outside or you were filming from a car, they are going to be pretty bad. Movie Stiller doesn't work miracles, but it will help you to get a decent result. The secret behind its technology lies in analysing every single frame and align the main subject to create the illusion of a stable image. The app simply corrects your video removing that annoying vibration typical in mobile cameras.
If you are familiar with video editing on your desktop, you know that any stabilisation technique will eventually create black borders in some parts of the film. This is a result of arranging the frames so the final result looks smoother. To correct this problem, the app removes the edges and gives you a real time preview of the final clip. This means that the software probably doesn't remove the shakes if, let's say, recording a video while you walk (I have included my own examples for you to check.)
Quick and straightforward: You can edit your video on the go
The issue here is about the output quality. While app does marvels when you get the optimum settings for your video, the stabilised video with have a lower resolution than the original. If you are just going to keep your videos on your iPhone and view them on your tiny screen, you might be able to get away with a shaky one. However, if you plan to share them via email, YouTube or social networks, I recommend to process them first. Movie Stiller won't delete the original, so you can use the stabilised version for uploading: your flicks would be compressed anyway; a good video with lower resolution cannot be that bad after all.
For such a technical app, the controls are comprehensive and you feel in control of the process at any time. Changing stabilisation strength and the cropping area need no explanation and I encourage any user to play a bit with them to obtain a perfect result.
I normally use desktop editing software for my videos and don't really use the stabilisation feature. iMovie, for example, won't allow you to tweak the cropping, so I'm quite glad this app allows you to change settings and see the results live. I miss more editing tools to change the white balance or apply some filters, as other photography apps do. I hope new surprises are included to the app in the future, since Creaceed already has experience with its Elasty desktop video editing software.
Decent or extreme? videos taken with an iPhone 3GS can look too pixelated if you crop the borders too much
Movie Stiller is an useful app for those sharing video online, constantly filming funny moments on the go or uploading clips to social networks. The stabilisation tends to be accurate in the first attempt, but if you need to do some extreme processing, you'll get a pixelated picture compared to the original. If you don't do much editing, a quick stabilisation process can work for you. Bear in mind that you get the best results keeping your camera still. If it has huge shakes like in my video comparison, the image can get pixelated and blurry at times. I leave you two videos with the lowest settings and the highest strength for you to compare.
App Store's best iPhone apps and games
I love good iOS apps, baked beans and children that don't do their homework. This is where I comment on the latest App Store candy with all the details you don't really need to know.