I've been playing around with some time lapse sequences shot from the roof of our building in New York. It's terribly windy and the resulting sequence exhibits some slight camera shake.

I'm seeking a software solution to align the images to compensate. Note: I don't have PhotoShop.


3 Answers 3


Aligning can be done for example with stitching-programs like Hugin.

  • add all you pictures to the hugin-project
  • let the pictures be analyzed/matched by "align image stack" (Images - Tab: Feature-Matching)
  • add some points if needed (Control Points - Tab)
  • set optimization to Position and Translation at the most (Optimiser-Tab)
  • Optimize (Optimiser-Tab)
  • check with "Preview panorama" (button above)
  • go to Stitcher-Tab, set Projection to "Rectilinear"
  • choose Output as "Remapped images"
  • stitch! :D

You will get your pictures remapped into several exactly overlapping ones in the choosen format/size (Stitcher-Tab: Autocrop can remove nonoverlapping borders). It's a nice side-effect and prerequisite of stitching, I used it to create ghost-images (people swinging down a slope: put them five times into one picture), just stitching them together later (using enfuse/enblend on command line).

Hugin can do much more (like every decent stitcher, I guess), for example remove your barrel distortion and also vignetting. Look into optimizations for that.

  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks so much for the recommendation, I'll definitely check it out. I'm downloading the Mac build as I type this... \$\endgroup\$
    – Kris
    Jan 25, 2011 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 - cool Hugin side effect. I'll have to play with this, too. \$\endgroup\$
    – D. Lambert
    Jan 25, 2011 at 16:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have tried the auto-align feature of hugin (via the align_image_stack command). I used it for a time-lapse sequence and it does not work well (probably, because there is too much movement of objects in the scene). Understandably, hugin doesn't seem to be able to set control points only in the background. - So be careful with hugin for a full-automated solution. Update: I now have tried the alignment feature in Photoshop CS5 with the same time-lapse sequence. The result is definitively much better via align_image_stack. So, if you have access to Photoshop, give it a shot - it's \$\endgroup\$
    – halloleo
    May 16, 2013 at 6:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I used Photoshop a while too (access at the University) but it's normally much too heavy for such simple operations. That said: of course its detection might be better in that use case, I haven't compared. I for myself tend to add points manually if the detection fails - you only need to set at least two or three (making rotations/translations-detection possible) if you use above limitations. \$\endgroup\$
    – Leonidas
    Jan 8, 2014 at 9:07

An interesting next step could be to use a software called Flake to get rid of people, cars ... on crowded places. You can find it also on the Mac App Store. I just stepped over it but have yet to try it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It does look like an interesting compositor, but I don't know if it does auto-alignment well — that's not listed as a feature. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jan 24, 2012 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ He used Apple's Shake for alignment, so I guess one would have to go with Hugin first if you do not have Shake \$\endgroup\$
    – hctWien
    Jan 24, 2012 at 16:25

If you end up uploading the video to youtube, you may use the build-in video editor of the site. There is a 'stabilize video' effect there. Here you can find a more detailed description with a sample video.

Of course the Hugin-based solution described by Leonides will most likely give you a better result, but this solution is much simpler.


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