The Sony ZV-E10 stores gyro data for stabilization – but how does it work?

A few people were a bit disappointed that Sony released a vlogging camera, the ZV-E10, without in-body stabilization. Well, WE got kicked out anyway. If you’re going to shoot handheld, you need all the extra stability you can get. This is a camera aimed at least in part at novices, and they won’t understand why their new “proper” camera can’t stabilize video even half as well as their smartphone.

But Sony had the answer: built-in gyroscopic data. Because even though the ZV-E10 doesn’t have a built-in stabilizer, it has internal gyroscopes that can record camera movement frame by frame and embed it in the video file.

So on your computer, you can use Sony’s free Catalyst Browse software to stabilize video using the gyro data stored with it. This is because it applies digital stabilization but uses real camera motion data.

How digital stabilization works

Digital stabilization is nothing new. It is available on many cameras that record video, either as an alternative to IBIS or as a replacement. It might sound like a loophole, but digital stabilization for video makes a lot of sense.

Essentially, it works by comparing the frame of each successive frame of video. If it sees a mismatch, it repositions the frame to align correctly.

For this to work, there needs to be some free space around the edges of the frame to allow for this constant “cropping”. This is why digital stabilization modes have a crop factor. The software needs some leeway.

Indeed, the digital stabilization works in the same way as IBIS, but shifts the framing in the software rather than shifting the sensor in the camera.

But if the Sony ZV-E10 has built-in digital stabilization, then why use Gyro Data Later instead?

One can think of two reasons. First, the in-camera DIS needs to be applied quickly on the fly using the camera’s limited processing resources, and then doing it in software offers a lot more control and probably a lot better results ? Second, if you apply it behind closed doors, it’s done for good.

Ok, but almost all video editors have built-in digital stabilization anyway, so why would you need it?

Because video editing software uses generic motion detection algorithms to apply stabilization, while Sony’s system uses actual camera motion data. In principle, this should be a much better technical solution.

Is the Sony DIS gyro effective?

We thought we should try it out with a small selection of experiments, including a run-and-gun style sequence with shooting while walking, some static shots at different focal lengths, and some slow, “crane” motion. “. You can see the results below. Remember that the stabilized and unstabilized versions come from the same clips. These videos were not recorded twice.

So a few observations here. The first is that the stabilization is quite spectacular and better than we’d expect from an IBIS system and certainly better than the in-camera digital stabilization. However, the more movement there is, the greater the crop factor applied by the software, and we can see some shimmery artifacts where stabilization hasn’t been able to counter movement across the frame evenly.

However, the short answer is that using Sony’s Catalyst Browse software to apply the built-in gyro data is indeed very effective. Some say it’s practically as good as a gimbal, although we wouldn’t go that far. What we would say, however, is that it’s at least as good as Sony’s IBIS systems on other cameras (which admittedly aren’t the best) and we’d definitely use it again.

We also tested it against generic digital stabilization in iMovie and DaVinci Resolve 18. iMovie did not match the results from Sony’s own data, but Resolve came very close and in our limited testing, if the results of the Sony’s gyroscope were better, it wasn’t. greatly.

To use the ZV-E10’s gyro data, you’ll need to process your clips in Sony Catalyst Browse, which will add another step to your workflow. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

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Disadvantages of Sony ZV-E10 Gyro Data

1. There is still an important cultural factor, so if you’re shooting in 4K, your stabilized video will be at a lower resolution, perhaps closer to 3K. If you use it in a 4K project it will be oversampled and lose some definition.

2. You must use Sony Catalyst Browse for stabilizationwhich means introducing another video editor into your workflow.

3. You need to remember to turn off the DIS in camera and probably any IS lens too in order to give the software full control.

It’s not just the Sony ZV-E10 that stores gyroscopic data!

Other models include:

• Sony ZV-1
• Sony A7C
• Sony A7S III
• SonyFX3
• Sony FX6
• SonyFX9
• Sony RX0 II

And it’s not just Sony. Blackmagic has released an update to enable a “secret” gyro feature in its Pocket Cinema cameras, including the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 and Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro. These will now incorporate gyroscopic data which can be used by DaVinci Resolve 18 to automatically stabilize footage.

Blackmagic recently “unlocked” the gyro stabilization data for its Pocket Cinema cameras. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

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Is gyroscopic data the future of video stabilization?

It is ONE future, not THE future. Often the real problem in video is keeping the camera still and moving smoothly, which requires a physical stabilization device for the whole camera, not just its sensor or lens elements. As with digital stabilization, these simply counteract movement and don’t solve all the problems it introduces.

Still, Sony’s gyro stabilization is pretty remarkable compared to what we’ve seen so far, and that’s a good excuse for Sony not caring about the expense and hassle of IBIS.

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