Instagram today announced Hyperlapse, one of the company’s first apps outside of Instagram itself. Using an algorithm, the app makes it easy to use your phone to create smooth tracking shots and time-lapse videos.
The app is available free for the iPhone. Instagram hopes to develop an Android version soon, but Instagram says that will require changes to the camera and gyroscope APIs on Android phones.
The product team shared their story with WIRED. Instead of using power-hungry algorithms to model the camera’s movement, smartphone’s gyroscopes measure it directly. By using those measurements in a simple algorithm it maps one frame to the next, giving the illusion that the camera is being held steady.
Microsoft also announced their hyper-lapse research recently. According to Microsoft, simple frame sub-sampling coupled with existing video stabilization methods does not work for time-lapse videos, because erratic camera shake is amplified by the speed-up.
Their algorithm first reconstructs the 3D input camera path as well as dense, per-frame proxy geometries. They optimize a novel camera path for the output video (shown in red) 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. Microsoft is currently making their Hyperlapse algorithm available as a Windows app.