GoPros and other action/helmet cams are rad -I'm sure most would agree. Though whilst being used properly they have revolutionised and added another dimension to action sports cinematography, the ubiquity of 'radical unicorns' (© Chris Moran) has also created thousands of hours of boring, useless footage.
Whilst speeded up time lapse footage has been a cliché since the time of the Benny Hill show, Microsoft's development team has added something new to the mix.
Whilst in the past we and others have tried to help through helpful tips and ingenious accessories, what if there was an easier way of converting all that dull piste footage your friends and relatives force upon you - the modern equivalent of the tortuous holiday slide show - into something enjoyable to watch?
Microsoft of all people have just released test footage of some new software designed to do just that. Whilst speeded up time lapse footage has been a cliché since the time of the Benny Hill show (a cliché we've not been afraid to exploit in the past), their development team has added something new to the mix, as you can see from the video above.
It essentially takes key frames from any POV footage in motion and blends them together using similar algorithms to the ones that make Google Street View possible, creating a smooth, travelling shot of your path across a virtual map.
Using similar algorithms to the ones that make Google Street View possible, it creates a smooth tracking shot of your path across a virtual map.
Whilst the footage shown works well for first person urban shots, it does break down a little with the random geometry of the rock climbing footage.
The question would be whether this would work well or not in snowy conditions, where the majority of any shot is composed of white snow and blue sky without many contrasting elements to provide reference points. The high speeds POV filmers travel at during filming might also hinder the detail the software can capture.
Also it looks a little weird when it encounters moving objects, for instance other people on the street, or piste. Fundamentally there's not much you could do about this, so the best use of the tech would be to use it for pure nature shots.
I'm guessing the best use for this for this would be for capturing split tours or hikes, imagine how sick a smooth travelling shot up a ridge line would look presented like this!
Whilst the technology is still in its infancy, it's great to see that someone at last is trying to solve the problem of endless shonky GoPro footage. The voice over on the video puts it best:
There's nothing wrong with these (videos), other than that they're hours long and incredibly dull.