Back in April, filmmaker Mark Bone released a video singing the praises of Catalyst Browse, free software from Sony that took the gyro data from the FX9 and processed handheld footage to make it look as though it was shot on a gimbal. It turns out that the Sony a7S III does exactly the same, and it’s far better than warp stabilization.
When the leaked specifications of the a7S III were being poured over back in July, there was one line to me that stood out: “Movie Edit add-on compatibility for Image Stabilization in post.” No-one seemed to be discussing this feature, so I emailed Bone to get his thoughts, and we came to the same conclusion: if the Sony a7S III does have a gyro, Catalyst Browse will be able to use that data to create gimbal-like footage.
This video from filmmaker Brandon Li confirms our suspicions: the Sony a7S III has a gyro, and you can achieve super-smooth handheld footage, albeit with a crop. If this sounds like Final Cut’s Smoothcam or Inertiacam or Adobe Premiere’s Warp Stabilizer, check out the difference in the quality of results.
Sony’s Catalyst Browse software is free to download: simply process the files to give the desired level of crop and stabilization, and then import the resulting files into your editing software of choice.
Given how excited the likes of Li and Bone are over this gimbal-free footage, it strikes me as a little strange that Sony is not making more of this feature. It doesn’t quite deliver the same results as a gimbal, and of course, as with any software stabilization, there’s the crop to contend with, but it does seem to offer results that are superior to any of the alternatives and brings a host of advantages.
Li gives a good summary of just how useful and effective this method of stabilization is, so be sure to watch to the end.
Is this the future of video stabilization? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.