Using Visual Guides to Straighten a Video

If you feel that your video is a bit tilted to one direction, all that you need to do is rotate it a bit to fix it – then crop the edges that are uneven. That part is easy, but what can be a little bit tricky is trying to find visual guides that you can use to straighten your video.

“What are Visual Guides?”
In this case the visual guides you’re looking for will normally be horizontal lines that you can use as a reference point to make sure that your video is straight. Essentially you will want to straighten the lines when you rotate your video, and in the process straighten the video.

If you want to you can think of the visual guides as tilted lines that need to be fixed. At times it will be obvious which lines you should use, but that is not always going to be the case.

For some videos there may not appear to be any horizontal lines that you can use at all.

It is possible to use vertical lines as visual guides as well. In fact often vertical lines are used in conjunction with horizontal lines to create videos that look truly stable.

Finding the Visual Guides
Ideally you should try to find strong horizontal lines that span the composition (or a significant part of it) to use as visual guides. It should be a line that balances the composition, so that straightening it will make the video look straighter

That is why the horizon perfectly fits this role, and if it is present in your video you should definitely use it. If it is not then some other strong horizontal line will do the trick. For example it could be the edge of a road, a row of houses, the top of a building, and so on.

An implied line that connects multiple elements in your video may be the best option if there don’t appear to be any horizontal lines that you can use.

In addition to horizontal lines, you should look for vertical lines that are at right angles to the horizontal lines. The vertical lines can help to balance the video as well, and will strengthen to horizontal lines that you’re using as visual guides.

Final Words
The one exception where you might have a lot of difficulty finding any visual guides is if the video is distorted in some way. If it is you should correct that first before you straighten and crop it.

It shouldn’t be difficult to rotate video web app, and your editor should have what you need. If you prefer you could look at other options however, and for example may be interesting.

The same goes for cropping the video – and by the time you get to that point it should already look straightened. It may help to try using different lines as visual guides however, to see how your choice can affect the way that the video turns out.

Featured image by Tembela Bohle via Pexels.