Introduction: How to Easily Stabilize Shaky Footage Using Adobe After Effects

     Before I begin I should tell you that this how-to is directed to those who are brand new to the program Adobe After Effect version 5.5.  I will walk through all of the steps allowing the reader to follow along exactly with the steps as I show them.  So the only requirement before reading this is to have the program installed and open on your computer, and you have shaky footage you would like to stabilize.  I have provided videos each step of the way that walk you through the step, but I did not record any sound with them.  You will have to read to know what is going on.
 Here is a video of before and after to show the effect we are going for here.

Step 1: Step 1: New Project

Step 1:  The first thing you must do is start a new project.  This is done by clicking on the file button at the top of the screen followed by new, followed by new project.

Step 2: Step 2

Step 2: Next you want to import that shaky footage by clicking on File-Import-File.  A window will pop up allowing you to browse through the files on your computer.  Browse through and find the file of shaky footage and open it by clicking import.  This will bring the footage into your project window.

Step 3: Step 3: Creating a New Composition

Step 3: Now what you will need to do is create a new composition.  Doing this will allow you to work on the footage all by it's self.  This can be done by clicking on your file, in the project window, and dragging it onto the new composition button found at the bottom of the window.  It looks like a film reel with shapes in it.  Doing this brings up a new composition tab in the display window and timeline.  It is best to drag and drop like shown instead of using the shortcut key because doing this automatically sets the settings to their correct places instead of having to set them all yourself.

Step 4: Step 4: Stabilizing Footage

Step 4: The next step stabilizes the footage now that we have it ready to work on.  You will find at the top of the screen the animation button.  Under this click on the stabilize motion button. By clicking on this it opens a new tab in the project window labeled effect controls, with a sub heading of Warp Stabilizer.  This is normal And is supposed to pop up automatically.. You will not have to change any settings and the effect will start to take place immediately.  A blue bar will appear across the video saying Analyzing in Background.  Wait for this to finish before moving on to the next step.  When it is done the Blue bar will have changed to Orange and then disappeared.

Step 5: Step 5: Export/Render

Step 5: Once that finishes you will want to export this footage into a useable format.  This part I have found trips people up frequently, who are unfamiliar with the program.  It took me several attempts my first try to find this but now that I have found it I will share it with you.  When exporting in After Effects you don't use the export button unless you are transferring it to another Adobe program.  The button your looking for is the Make Movie button found under the Composition tab.  This brings up a rather confusing tab where your timeline is, called the Render Queue.

Step 6: Step 6: Output Module

Step 6: Now you have control over the output of your movie unlike if you were to use the export function.  Now at this juncture you can choose to specify your output and set it to something different but the default settings will suffice for most cases. The only thing you really need to do is to specify the "Output To" function.  To do this you can click on the text next to the "output to" label, which is highlighted in orange.  Click on this and a new window will pop up allowing you to choose the destination folder and format of your file.  This is like choosing the "Save As" function in a word program.  The window will allow you to not only choose the destination folder for your output file but also allows you to re-name it.  Since my original footage was named shaky footage i re-named the rendered footage Fixed Footage, and clicked the save button.

Step 7: Step 7: Finishing Up

Step 7: At this point you are ready to export the files.  You can now push the Render Button at the top right of the timeline window (bottom right of the screen) and It will render your video and output it to the folder you have chosen. 

Step 8: Finished Product

You have now finished your project.  That once shaky footage is now smooth.  To view the finished product find the folder you chose as the destination folder and open your finished product.