November 2, 2014

Microsoft Plans on Bringing Hyperlapse's Automagic Stabilization to First-Person Shots

Instagram's Hyperlapse app has been relegated by Apple to the island of misfit toys, as it apparently no longer appears on any top 100 App Store lists around the world. As filmmakers we most often make use of stabilization features in post like Adobe After Effects' Warp Stabilizer, but another "automagic" solution could come from an unlikely source: Microsoft. Microsoft is focusing primarily on first-person timelapses, which presents more of a challenge than handheld timelapses due to the increase in camera shake.

As an independent filmmaker I'm always interested in solutions that could take something that would appear as an expensive line item in a budget and reduce it to 20% of the cost at 80% of the production value. Warp Stabilizer already did to even more expensive tools; could consumer-facing Hyperlapse techniques do the same to Warp Stabilizer (at least where timelapse is concerned)?

While this is not a common shot in features, I think you will always find creative filmmakers who make use of new tools and techniques in interesting ways, while others grumble that something has "nothing to do with filmmaking." This is, potentially, one such tool (Microsoft is planning on releasing this as a Windows app). For more on how they achieve this, here's a technical explanation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA4Za3Hv6ng

But wait, you say — what about Instagram's Hyperlapse, doesn't that do the same thing? They are same same, but different. It can be hard to tell the difference from the finished videos, but the problems with first-person video is the degree of shake is much greater than what Instagram's Hyperlapse would be able to correct for, according to Microsoft

Instagram's Hyperlapse is similar to existing video stabilization algorithms in that it warps each video frame in order to remove slight camera shake. Unlike Adobe After Effects or the Youtube video stabilizer it does not rely on image analysis but rather the camera's built-in gyroscope to determine the necessary amount of rotation for each frame. To avoid visible out-of-frame regions it zooms into the video to leave some buffer area for cropping. 

This works well for sequences with only a little bit of motion, such as walking carefully around an object or filming out of a plane window. However, in less controlled situations, for example with a wearable camera, it breaks down.

Any interest in a Windows app that brings this to the masses, or do you only see yourself using post-production tools like those found in Adobe After Effects and Apple Final Cut Pro X    

Your Comment

8 Comments

Hmmm, this news is months old. I was actually under the impression I read about it first over here, but I now remember it was TNW. This is awesome, but very late. Hopefully there's some people who haven't seen or read about it yet here...

November 2, 2014 at 2:38PM

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Rean Combrinck
Film Maker
169

Yeah, we're totally late with this one. If/when this actually comes out we'll be on top of that!

November 3, 2014 at 12:33PM

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Saw this a couple months ago, but it’s super cool and I remember it blowing my mind when I first saw it. Genius tech. Nice to see Microsoft is doing more than making awful OS interfaces behind the scenes.

November 2, 2014 at 2:51PM

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Ryan Toyota
Graphic Designer / Typographer / Video Editor
1236

yes please! ill take one!
pls update when it comes out ;3

November 2, 2014 at 3:39PM

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Crippled by Apple? They innovated, and this app failed to do that alongside the platform. This app's failure has nothing to do with Apple.

November 2, 2014 at 4:29PM

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Elias Hardt
Director / 3D Graphics
98

This is amazing. I like that they show it breaking apart a bit on impossible shots, revealing how the tech works.

November 3, 2014 at 12:57AM, Edited November 3, 12:57AM

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Stu Mannion
writer/dir/dp
752

Funny how it looks almost like FPS shooter game, all with the textures of the environment refreshing on the fly.

It's very impressive nonetheless

November 3, 2014 at 5:21AM, Edited November 3, 5:21AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1485

This is some very cool tech. I wonder what results you could get if it were applied to a Steadicam or Movi shot. How smooth or realistic results could you get if you gave it footage with less work to do to stabilize it. Just thinking creatively as a storyteller.

November 3, 2014 at 8:54PM

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Michael Markham
Actor/Filmmaker
862

this technique i.e. using photogammetry to create geo and then projecting on the geo(or at least cards) and rendering through a smoothed camera is a technique used in Nuke and available now. The latest nuke 'live nuke 9 release' video online has an artist showing off how to do it.

November 7, 2014 at 3:12AM

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rafal
Filmmaker
81