Shaky camera angles are occasionally used for cinematic effect, as seen in upping the fear factor of movies like Cloverfied and Blair Witch Project. These artistic decisions are the exception, not the norm. For most of us, a shaky camera is something we’d like to avoid, because most of our video is a reminder of special moments in our lives, not some freakish fictional adventure.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve wished for family members to use a tripod or invest in a camcorder with image stabilization. When they don’t you end up with something that can be nausea inducing. Smartphone cameras are even worse, because they don’t have room for the optical image stabilization that camcorders support. Thankfully, you can find a software solution to many of these shaky camera problems.
Named after the Mercalli Intensity Scale, which measures earthquake intensity, ProDAD Mercalli is a name synonymous with video stabilization. The pro version offers an amazing granularity of control that makes it possible to clean up a video production scene-by-scene and salvage footage that might otherwise be unusable. For those of us who simply want to remove the appearance of a shaky hand from our home movies, ProDAD offers Mercalli Easy.
As the name implies, Mercalli Easy makes stabilizing your video a simple task. In fact, the process is so simple it takes more time to explain (as I’m doing here) than it does to try it out for yourself. With Mercalli Easy installed on your Windows computer, simply open the application, drag and drop a video file or open it from the application menu, and let Mercalli Easy work its magic.
After performing an analysis of your video, Mercalli Easy lets you compare the stabilized version side-by-side with the original. You can trim the beginning and end of your video clip. And if you happened to shoot your video in portrait mode or on its side, you can rotate the video clip. As soon as you’ve made any minor tweaks, you then save the stabilized video to your computer. I have yet to find an instance where the Mercalli Easy version of the file didn’t look better than the one I started with.
Mercalli Easy works well with iPhone videos. It improves Android videos. And I even managed to smooth out some handheld shots from a camcorder that includes built-in optical image stabilization. This is one of those features you wish every video editing app included as a default setting.
You can see an example of just how easy it is to use the software in the video below. I’m not sure if my screen recording does the software justice, but I’m willing to argue that even in the screen recording the steady version created by Mercalli Easy looks better than the original.
At the current price of $14.95, you really can’t go wrong in making your videos more viewable. The free trial can give you a good idea of what you can expect from your own videos. Download Mercalli Easy and try it for yourself.