Drone time lapse with the drone not moving - fixed position in the sky - "dancing buildings" problem

New Here ,
Apr 19, 2021 Apr 19, 2021

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Hello, I'm trying to make a time lapse video with my Mavic Mini drone, showing downtown buildings in the distance. I fly the drone to the spot I want, hover, then have it take a photo every 5 seconds, and I do not move the drone - the drone is in a fixed position. I import the photos into Photoshop, and auto-align the images, and export the video. The problem is that the buildings are "dancing" in the video - they bounce up and down, check out the short video I made (look at the buildings at the top of the video. The problem must be that the drone is moving slightly in the air due to wind. Are there any clever techniques to fix this problem? Photoshop did a great job aligning the roads, and smaller buildings, but not the tall buildings. You might need to watch this video in full screen to see the problem - it's only 2 seconds long.  Thanks.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZKxAHpK1Lg&t=1s

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 19, 2021 Apr 19, 2021

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You are correct that the drone did not stay perfectly still.  The other problem was the change in reflections on the buildings.  PS will struggle with this using Auto-Align images.   Try the script Load Files into Stack and check the box to align images. This is done differently than Auto-Align so that could solve your problem   

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New Here ,
Apr 19, 2021 Apr 19, 2021

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Thanks Bob, I tried using Load Files into stack, and checked the box to auto align.  It does seem to be a bit better, but the buildings are still moving a bit.  I wonder if there is another way to align the images whereby I can specify to the program that the top of the buildings are to stay static?  Do you know anything about this?  Cheers

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 20, 2021 Apr 20, 2021

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The warping comes from both movement and the wide lens used.  I would suggest doing your time lapse with more images then reduce the amount of frames in post when you have a working method.   This will more than likely have you buying a larger card for the drone but that will smooth things out.  Just remember stationary is not stationary and there will be wind the drone is dealing with that you don't feel on the ground 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 19, 2021 Apr 19, 2021

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If the problem was caused by the drone moving, the entire frame should have moved equally. But it looks like the movement is not uniform: The bounce appears at the top and at the bottom left corner, while most of the rest of the frame is OK. Because the movement is not the same across the frame, I wonder if the cause is electronic image stabilization. Some forms of electronic image stabilization apply a slight warp or distortion to counteract camera shake and rotation, also applying a slight crop to provide room for the corrections.

 

That still leaves the question of how to correct it. Because the movement is not uniform, it might need a non-uniform solution. For example, making a copy of the video layer, masking out the parts that are moving (e.g. the buildings at the top), and in the Timeline panel, applying keyframed Scale or Position corrections to those parts only. This is possible in Photoshop, but you might have more control over it in Adobe After Effects.

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