Microsoft Research demonstrates technology that can dramatically smooth motion in first-person videos



I often watch my son using his GoPro camera while snowboarding, surfing and power long boarding (yes there is such a thing!). The result is hours of video that no one will ever watch except for my son and his dare devil friends.

Interesting enough, I find that I am not alone! Johannes Kopf of Microsoft Research made this same observation as few people are interested in watching hours of monotonous footage punctuated infrequently by a few seconds of excitement. Johannes made this discovery shortly after purchasing his first GoPro and strapping it on for a climb in the Cascades. “I wanted to show my friends the full experience of getting up one of these mountains—from base camp to summit,” says Johannes.image

But any attempt at speeding up five hours of footage significantly amplified the camera’s slightest movements, making the video unwatchable. And the stabilization techniques currently available were no match for the camera’s constant movement as Johannes scaled the lofty heights.

So Johannes spearheaded Hyperlapse, a new project at Microsoft Research, where he works with the Interactive Visual Media Group. That project has culminated in a technical paper being presented Tuesday at SIGGRAPH 2014 in Vancouver. If you have never heard of SIGGRAPH, it hosts the year's largest, most comprehensive exhibition of products and services for the computer graphics and interactive techniques marketplace and is viewed as a launching pad for innovation.

For years now, our team in the Utility group have demonstrated scenarios on how wearable computing could be used in the field. While there has been some progress we think this is an area that will explode in the next decade and work that we are doing in Microsoft Research will have a significant impact on the Utility field crew of the future. We will talk more about some of these scenarios in a future blog.

For now, we would encourage you to take a look at the Johannes Kopf blog here and an excellent write-up from Engadget (the definitive guide to this connected life) on related Microsoft Research work being shown at SIGGRAPH concerning how to turn a smart phone camera into a cheap Kinect and much more. Enjoy! - Jon C. Arnold

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