Stabilize Wildlife Videos for Free!!!

There have been times when I captured a moment on video without a tripod and well…we all know what happens to such videos…they are too shaky to be useful.

In this video, I will share two methods to stabilize videos using the free version of DaVinci Resolve 18 and also look at one technique to get a clean background.

I will use a recent video of a Laggar Falcon feeding on a Spiny Tailed Lizard. After taking quite a few shots of this scene, I switched to video and leaned my back against a car to make myself as steady as possible.

No prizes for guessing how the video came out. This is the original footage from my Nikon D850 and this is what we will be working on in DaVinci Resolve.

You can get DaVinci Resolve (free version) from their site or download it from the Mac App Store on a Mac. Currently, I am using the free version downloaded from the Mac App Store.

I will not get into any details about using Resolve since there are plenty of tutorials around for it, instead, I will only go through the how-to when using Resolve.

For this example, we will use the default untitled project and then directly drop the video file on the Edit Panel in Resolve and take it from there…

Since audio is not required for this video, I will put the video in the media pool and then put only the video on the timeline for editing.

Basically, what we need is a “Camera Lock” which simulates a tripod so to speak.

Now, the first method to make this video rock solid and no shake.

Make sure the inspector window is open. First, select Stabilization and make sure that Zoom is off and the Camera Lock is checked. The Mode is something you can experiment with for your videos, for now, I will go with the default Perspective. Now if we click on the Stabilize button, Resolved will analyse the footage and select the centre point (generally) as the camera lock point.

We can see that the video is stable, but, the cropped-out edges need to be fixed. In this case, I will zoom into the video and adjust the crop and edges.

To do this, scroll up in the Inspector windows to the Transform option on the top. We will set the zoom to around 2 for this video and adjust the Y position to around -500 and the X position to -250.

This is as steady as a tripod or even better…

Now, in case this method does not work for your video, let us look at an alternate way of achieving the same using the Color Tab instead of the Edit Tab that we have been using for the first method.

The first thing we need to do is to figure out which part of the video we should choose for Resolve to track and stabilize. For this video, I will select this branch using a curve selection from the Window tab.

Right next to the Window, is the Tracker option. I will remove the 3D and Rotation…Maybe Zoom as well in the tracking options and do a Track forward and reverse so we cover the entire clip.

Now, we have the Stabilizer option right next to the Window Tracker. We will check the Camera Lock and remove the Zoom and click on Stabilize.

Now, just like in the first method, we have a rock-solid video and we need to use Sizing (instead of transform) to zoom in and fix the edges. -500 for Tilt and -150 for Pan while keeping the Zoom to 2.

That’s it. We now have a rock-stable video.

What if, like with our still images, we wanted a clean background in this video? Well…I have mentioned in some of the earlier videos that as long as you have the subject in the clear, the rest becomes easy. The same applies here.

Since our subject, the falcon, in this case, is in the clear, we can remove the tree branches from the video. Let’s see how this is done from the Color Tab in Resolve.

Add a serial node, add the alpha output and connect the new node to that. Now, we will make a selection of the branches to remove that area from the video. If there is a need to make multiple selections, then, you can keep adding serial nodes for each selection or use some other similar path.

Ideally, we should let Resolve track the selection, but, since we already have a stable video, this step is not really needed.

Now we go back to the Edit Page and add a select Paper from the Generators in the Effects menu. Expand the Paper to match the video clip and then move the Paper layer down. Now we just need to adjust the Gain for the Paper to match the background in this video.

That’s it. We have a stable video with a clean background!

Lightroom 12 – All the new masks used in a photoshoot!

I recently had an opportunity to do a photoshoot for a friend of my wife, a celeb makeup artist (, since the photographer she had called could not make it for the shoot.

This gave me a lot of insight into various points related to makeup and what one should keep in mind in such scenarios. Do keep in mind that this is my first attempt at this…I only do wildlife otherwise!

These shots also gave me the opportunity to test out all the new masks in Lightroom 12 in a practical scenario and that is what we are going to look at in this video.

Painterly and Artistic Effects in Bird Photography

Someone recently asked me online about how to create a painterly and also an artistic effect for bird photographs.

This video is all about these two points…

1. How to simply create a painterly effect

2. How to make it artistic

So, let’s take a look at a quick example of how to achieve both these goals in Photoshop.

I have selected a recent shot from my balcony for this purpose which should be good enough to illustrate the basics of how to achieve this goal.

Okay, so a “Command” or “Control” + “E” would take this image from Lightroom to Photoshop.

Now, as illustrated in earlier videos, we just do a basic cleanup on this image.

First, we duplicate the image which puts it on a layer and we retain a backup in case we need to re-do the process. Command + J is a shortcut for this. Now, we can make the background layer invisible since we do not require it anymore.

A command + 0 fits the image to the window for a better view…

A simple select subject, and mask out the subject. Just use the selection and brush tool to clean up rough edges. Maybe try the colour range selection as well, if needed.

Now, let us see how to simply create the painterly effect.

Select “Stylize” from the “Filters” menu and choose “Oil paint”. Feel free to play around with the settings in this dialog box.

You can always use the help built into Photoshop to find out more about the settings in this dialog and what each option does.

Once you are done with that, just press “Enter” or click “OK” and we have our “painterly” effect.

Now, what about the “artistic” effect?

As it turns out, the person who asked me about this was looking for multiple copies of the same image put together in different sizes.

This is how I went about it…

Just duplicate the layer we already have. Use the “Free Transform” from the “Edit” menu to modify the copied layer. You can make as many copies as you want and pretty much apply any kind of transforms to each.

The art and concept belong totally to you and what you choose to create!

This is just an example that I came up with just to illustrate the concept.

Of course, you can also try to “Oil Paint” one layer at a time to give them all a different artistic look.

That’s it for now…Have fun, till the next one!

MI 10T Pro – What you should know!!!

I am recording this on the device itself so we can get a better idea of what I want to share here.

First, the biggest drawback of the new MI phones…Not just the 10T, but also the other MI models.

The default MI Dialer and Messages applications have been replaced by the Google ones. This is a shocker for any MI phone user since the Google Dialer and Messaging applications are pathetic by comparison.

Although there are alternate Dialling and Messaging applications, nothing I have seen so far comes close to being as good as the MI applications.

Okay, with that negative point out of the way, the rest is all good!

The screen is a high-quality LCD with a refresh rate of 144Hz. As a person who is into photography, I prefer the high-quality LCD to an AMOLED screen since the LCD has truer colours.

While most people would talk about the blacks on an AMOLED screen and the small area of an always-on display, just the blacks do not do a whole lot for overall colours. On the lighter side, this is a phone, not a watch that I might want an always-on display.

In short, you can actually use this screen to check images for actual colours in case your monitor lacks sRGB colour gamut support. Of course, we have might have better colour screens on the AMOLED side sometime, but, that is not the case so far…

Talking of photography, I will go through the default Camera and Gallery applications that come with this device and my recommendations to get the best out of the camera. Let us take a brief look at the camera settings first, and then the variety of modes this application offers.

Amazon Link:

Since the normal auto mode of the camera seems to be manipulating the image from the sensor, it is smaller and not as good as the one you can get from the Pro mode. My recommendation would be to use the Pro mode in full auto mode as a substitute for the normal camera/video modes for better results. #Xiaomi #MI #MI10T #Photography

Topaz Labs AI Tools – Getting Started…

Although I had been trying out the Topaz tools, but I was undecided till their 2020 Black Friday sale. For the first time all the AI tools were in one package unlike their regular bundles.

In this video, I will share some general points when using the Topaz AI tools from Lightroom or Photoshop.

The first point is that you should avoid processing any camera raw files in the Topaz applications. The reason is simple and documented on the Topaz site for all applications in their FAQ.

Let us look at this and some more…

Getting Started with TopazLabs AI Tools

#Photography #TopazLabs #Lightroom @Photoshop

Cleaning up Shadows in Wildlife Macros

Where there is light, there will be shadows!

In this short video, we will look at a different technique for cleaning up shadows in macro images using Lightroom range masks.

This technique can be adapted for other images as well. The final image can be seen on Flickr.

Let us look at an example to see how this is done…

Luminar AI – A Quick Walkthrough!

In this video, we will just take a quick look at the new Luminar AI menus and features without going into any details.

We will look at what is new and similar to Luminar 4 which should give a better idea as to what Luminar AI offers over Luminar 4.

So…Let’s get to the AI…

Luminar AI Lightroom Plugins Not Working?

If like me, you got the Luminar AI package on release and installed it, you would have noticed that the Lightroom plugins for Luminar AI do not work as expected.

Luminar has released an online update which fixes the issues, but, leaves the older, non-functional plugins in place. This can be very irritating at best.

Let us take a look at how to update the plugins and remove the non-functional ones…

Cloud Storage – What is the best option?

I will not get into any arcane storage options of unknown companies offering lifetime schemes. In fact, I would advise avoiding all such for a variety of reasons.

Let’s look at the top 3 names that offer us reliable cloud storage for normal users.

1. Apple iCloud

2. Google Drive

3. Microsoft OneDrive

Although there are some more names like DropBox, Amazon etc. we will ignore those for now…

Speed up Adobe Lightroom Classic

This is a little known technique that I wanted to share, but, kept forgetting 🙂

Basically, it’s not just Lightroom, this technique works for all disk/file intensive applications on the Mac and since Windows also indexes file, this would work on Windows as well.

Let’s take a brief look at how to speed up such applications on the Mac…