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Review: proDAD Mercalli Version 4 SAL+

The new version of proDAD's popular video stabilization solution, Mercalli V4 SAL + works really well, and has grown into more than just a stabilizer, adding CMOS correction to remove the jello, wobble, and skew distortions caused by modern CMOS sensor cameras. Essentially it is two products in one.

Dynamic Zoom

When stabilizing your footage, Mercalli uses a new stabilization engine with Dynamic Zoom to constantly monitor and adjust the amount of zoom needed to correct the video while maintaining the borders and keeping the highest resolution possible. This means less zooming in, so more of your resolution is saved. After all the analyzing on my test clips I was amazed at how little zoom Mercalli V4 needed to correct the footage.

Used Camera Optics

Another new option is the Used Camera Optics drop-down at the top of the screen. Figure 5 (below) shows the options available. Within each camera are many options of model numbers and shooting modes to select from.

Figure 5. Used Camera Optics options. Click the image to see it at full size.

What proDAD has done is actually get together with many of the camera manufacturers that make POV cams. They learned math behind the wide-angle lenses used and how they interacted with the sensors in the cameras. As a result, Mercalli V4 can now better deal with the warp of the fisheye look in many shots. It doesn’t straighten the fisheye, but in the process of stabilization the fisheye doesn’t react negatively to the stabilizing. It stays truer to how it should look in the original footage. Stabilization utilities and fisheye content often don't play well together. Mercalli V4 SAL + improves on this process.

There are many more options you can experiment with if needed. You can manually adjust almost every aspect of the stabilization process if needed to get the most out of your footage. It will often take some experimentation but the results can be worth the work.

New Export Options

There are a few new options under the Export functionality as well. One is the new options for export file types shown in Figure 6 (below). You are no longer limited to .mp4 or .mov files. You can now select from MJPEG, ProRes, or even H.265 file types.

Figure 6. Export file type options in the new Mercalli

Just next to the Setup option is a new function called Combine Videos. This allows you to work with multiple clips and In/Out points. Upon export, the Combine Videos function will create one long clip that contains all the clips in your Media Bin. In Figure 7 (below) you can see a Media Bin containing three clips that have been analzyed.

Figure 7. Combined videos in the Media Bin

There is a new Storyboard function in the Media Bin. There are options in the Media Bin to move clips up and down in the order, and remove or create duplicate version of a clip. Once you create a duplicate you can set new In/Out points and analyze a new portion of the clip. This is great functionality that makes it easy to grab multiple shots out of a single clip.

Once you press the Start Export button, all the content in the Media Bin will be encoded to the file type you selected. If you selected Combine Videos they will all be in one clip. If you don’t select Combine Videos the clips will be exported individually.

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