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Use Dynamic Link to bring Warp Stabilizer to Premiere Pro CS5.5

Editors can take advantage of advanced stabilization in Premiere Pro CS5.5

By Mark Christiansen | October 30, 2011

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The Dynamic Link process to stabilize a Pr clip in AE begins in the Pr timeline.

Warp Stabilizer was arguably the biggest addition to After Effects CS5.5. Once you understand how to use it, it's a tool that can change the way you shoot; if you find yourself without a tripod or any kind of stabilization with a camera as notoriously unsteady as a DSLR, even on a moving shot, you can end up with footage that can look as if a dolly or SteadiCam were used to take it.

For editors and shooters who work more in Premiere Pro than in AE, this is clearly a case where Dynamic Link, the technology bridge between the two apps, is useful. Warp Stabilizer isn't part of Pr, and it is relatively straightforward for basic usage even for the casual AE user. This article not only walks you through how to achieve shot stabilization on clips in a Pr edit, but it opens the door to how to use Dynamic Link generally, for those who've wished they had a better handle on it.

We begin in Pr, with an edit. I have a collection of shots that were taken handheld and head-mounted, with a 7D and GoPro, respectively. The handheld shots are intended to be lock-offs, while the head-mounted shots are intended to be smooth and dolly-esque. Hello dolly? Nope, goodbye!

The simple edit contains of shots that play back perfectly without transcoding thanks to Mercury Playback Engine optimization combined with an nVidia CUDA card, a huge Pr advantage unavailable in AE.

The basic recipe is as follows:


  • Select a clip and right-click to choose Replace with After Effects Composition.

  • In the AE timeline, right-click the layer and choose Stabilize Motion.

  • Press 0 on the numeric keypad (or control + 0 on a laptop) to preview the result.

  • Save the AE project.

  • Return to Pr and preview the clip.

  • Mark the comp's region in the timeline with the work area in and out points and choose Sequence > Render Entire Work Area.



...with a few extra notes at the end to help with some typical specific cases that can add a step or two.

Select a clip and right-click to choose Replace with After Effects Composition

If AE isn't already running, it starts up and populates a new project with the selected footage inserted into a comp. (If it is running with a project open, the footage and comp are added to that project and highlighted in the Project panel.) With multiple shots, you'll decide whether to give each of them a separate project or build them all up in one AE project, which I'll do in this case.

The comp is trimmed to the exact length of the clip in the Pr timeline. That's good in that you only stabilize the section of the source shot that you need. However, it also means that if you want any extra handles for dissolves, extra steps are required. We'll revisit those below.


Warp Stabilizer is most easily activated by right-clicking the clip in the AE timeline.


In the AE timeline, right-click the layer and choose Stabilize Motion

The Warp Stabilizer effect immediately goes to work on the layer. A blue bar appears across the footage as it is analyzed, and progress percentage and overall frames visible in the Effect panel. Next an orange bar briefly appears across the footage as it is stabilized, and once that disappears, the clip is tracked.

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