Microsoft Hyper-lapse Renders Smoothed Time-lapsed GoPro Video

REDMOND, WASH.—Researchers at Microsoft have developed a way to smooth out time-lapsed, personal video footage. “Personal” as in the GoPro or Google Glass, for example.

“Here’s some videos I shot riding my bike and hiking through the Cascades,” says Johannes Kopf of Microsoft Research in the demo video. “There’s nothing wrong with these, they’re just hours long and dead boring to watch. I’d rather show you a short summary of these videos.”

Kopf notes that the only way to shorten the presentation is the speed it up, which intensifies camera shake not overcome by video stabilization technologies.

“Our algorithm first reconstructs the 3D input camera path as well as dense, per-frame proxy geometries,” he said in the technical paper he co-wrote with Michael F. Cohen and Richard Szeliski. “We then optimize a novel camera path for the output video (shown in red, at right) that is smooth and passes near the input cameras while ensuring that the virtual camera looks in directions that can be rendered well from the input. (Story continues below video.)

“We have developed a new view-independent quality metric that accounts for foreshortening induced by texture-mapping source images onto final views. This novel metric is integrated into the path planning objective and results in a path that is both smooth and optimally placed and oriented to be renderable from the available input frames.

“Finally, we generate the novel smoothed, time-lapse video by rendering, stitching, and blending appropriately selected source frames for each output frame.”

Further details are available in the trio’s technical paper. The YouTube version of the technical video is above, and a 287 MB hi-res file is available for download from Microsoft Research (opens in new tab).