Microsoft’s hardware business so often makes the news that we often forget that they are first and foremost a software company. In the past it has been its word processing and business management software which has drawn praise, but now the company is wowing us with a whole new kind of video processing software.
Dubbed ‘First Person Hyperlapse’, this new technology created by three researchers at Microsoft, enables a unique new way for us to consume video content. Inspired by the rise in first person amature video photography being driven by the proliferation and the GoPro and Google Glass, these researchers wanted to find a way to make this content more interesting and also more accessible.
The primary problem they attempted to overcome was that this kind of footage is often shaky, long and usually quite boring. To overcome this, they drew inspiration from the emerging field of ‘hyperlapse’ photography. This kind of filming, often done in marketing videos for cities, combines sped-up or ‘time lapse’ filming, with a mobile camera, to create visually interesting tracking shots.
The problem with this, is that when sped up, the cameraing shaking in first person footage is increased to unacceptable levels. So, Microsoft did what they do best, and came up with their own software solution. This software retraces the path of the camera in 3D space, and then optimizes the route between individual frames. They then made sure they keep visually interesting frames, and use digital stitching and blending to fill in the gaps.
The end result is something that is truly amazing. A simple walk along a path turns into a captivating spectacle, while a rock climb turns into an amazing expedition. See the results for yourself in the video below, as well as the techniques which Microsoft used to get this to work.
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