Good news for extreme sports fans: Microsoft has figured out how to make high-speed video watchable, without making the watcher woozy.
If you've ever watched a 15-minute recording of someone climbing a mountain or riding a bike down a rocky path with a head-mounted camera, you also know these videos can get kind of boring at times. It's possible to condense the action into a time-lapse video, but this only highlights all the erratic bumps and shakes in the recording, and it isn't very pleasant to watch.
Microsoft Research's technology, dubbed "Hyperlapse," aims to solve both of these problems by creating a condensed time-lapse video that looks as smooth as the original recording.
Hyperlapse looks at each frame in the video and tries to figure out the geometry of the world. Then, it traces a smooth path through the world and stitches together multiple frames at a time to create new frames along this optimized path. As a result, the perspective may be slightly different from that of the original video, but errant camera shakes and movements that stray from the path are eliminated.
The algorithm's creators say they are working hard on a Windows app so GoPro users can create their own videos. It's unclear how much the app will cost or what sort of local processing power it would require. In any case, this kind of tool would dovetail nicely with Microsoft's new focus on productivity and creativity, as it'd give video directors another reason to consider Microsoft services.