New algorithim produces ultra smooth first-person hyperlapse videos


First-person cameras like GoPro and Google Glass have been steadily increasing in popularity over the past several years, and ever since Google Glass was made available to the public, similar forms of attachable first-person cameras have become all the rage. From people recording and uploading mundane experiences like bicycle rides to more significant activities like recording everything you do while going on a month-long road trip through the United States, or even terrifying combat footage captured from a helmet-cam, these small devices provide captivating perspectives to the public that are timeless and fascinating.

A still taken from a GoPro in timelapse mode can make it appear that you are driving at warp-speeds

A still taken from a GoPro in time-lapse mode simulates the appearance of driving at warp speed.

Another trend gaining popularity is recording videos in time-lapse mode, which is essentially speeding up the footage to about 10x the normal speed. Time-lapse videos are normally accomplished using stationary cameras instead of first-person attachable cameras. Due to the movement of the wearer, the time-lapse footage typically taken by attachable cameras is extremely shaky producing confusing images at such a high speed.

Recently, a team of researchers from Microsoft have developed an algorithm that completely smooths the footage, called “hyperlapse.” There is nothing simple about an algorithm, especially one that corrects an issue that was previously thought to be impossible to achieve.

As an explanation on why attempts to fix this problem haven’t been successful until now, the research team at Microsoft asserts, “At high speed-up rates, simple frame sub-sampling coupled with existing video stabilization methods does not work, because the erratic camera shake present in first-person videos is amplified by the speed-up.”

The following video is a demonstration of ‘hyperlapse’ which corrects the previous problem of shakiness, and in my opinion, to say that it is amazing is a serious understatement:

This video provides a more technical explanation of the system:

For a full explanation, including diagrams, please visit the Microsoft research team’s website.

About Author

A self-taught writer with some college (a nice way of saying that he didn't graduate), Nate fell in love with pocket billiards in his mid teens, and has spent more than half of his life as a student of the sport. Yes, it's a sport. He will argue incessantly if someone claims otherwise. He also loves video games, his favorite game being Dark Souls, followed by Dark Souls as a close second, and The Last of Us being his fourth favorite game (Dark Souls is his third favorite game). He has a tendency to ramble on when you strike up a conversation with him, so asking him for a short bio is a dangerously boring proposition and not recommended. Otherwise he tends to keep to himself. He is also an editor and founding member of Tech Gen Mag, living in southern California.

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