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A handy tool for journalists: Stabilize your shaky smartphone videos with Google’s photo app

Google quietly unveiled a new video stabilization feature in its Google Photos app a few months ago and it’s amazing.

I discovered the usefulness of this feature when I edited video clips of our epic annual family road trip to Colorado. In between time-lapse videos of the drive, I added highlights of the main stops we made at state and national parks. Most of that video footage came from my smartphone, an LG G5.

As you might expect, the hand-held videos were shaky — even with the phone’s internal stabilization feature. When I got home and started editing the clips, I noticed the stabilization option in Google Photos. I tried it out and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

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Screen Grab of Google Video StabilizationFor each video you want to stabilize, you open the Google Photos app on your phone, tap on a video clip, and then tap on the “edit” option that looks like a pencil. You’ll see the “stabilize” feature at the bottom of the screen. Tap that, and you’ll have to wait a few moments, depending on the size of the video, for the app to stabilize your video.

It magically transformed my shaky footage into videos that looked like they were shot with a tripod. The end result was a slightly cropped video that might have a bit of warping in the image, depending on how it was shot. But I didn’t notice much distortion in the footage I shot.

For anyone who spends a lot of time shooting video with their smartphones, such as journalists, this could be a handy tool that irons out annoying shakes and leaves mostly smooth, professional looking footage. Stabilize each clip, add it to your video-editing software, and you’re all set for your next news story or family adventure.

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