Q & A

Q & A

Q: I was given some old home movies that were converted to DVD from 8 mm film. But the original camera work is so shaky that it makes us queasy to watch. Is there any easy technology out there that can help?

You first need to convert digitised movies on the DVD to video files you can edit on the computer. So-called DVD converter programs for Windows and Mac OS X are available in shareware archives, but the cross-platform HandBrake video transcoder can usually convert discs without copy restrictions to MP4 files or other video formats.

Once you have converted the movies and have them on your hard drive, video stabilisation software may hopefully reduce some of the original camera shake.

Free or relatively inexpensive video-editing programs for home users - like Windows Movie Maker for Windows 8, Apple’s iMovie and Adobe Premiere Elements - now include video stabilisation tools you can use on the clips once you import them into the program.

The $20 (Rs 1,208) Muvee Turbo Video Stabilizer, or plug-in software like the $100 (Rs 6,043) NewBlue Stabiliser (which works with many popular video-editing programs) are among the other options. YouTube even has video stabilisation tools for uploaded clips.

The software may not smooth out all the shakes, but it could make the movies easier to watch. If you like the improvements, you can also burn the stabilised clips back to a new DVD.