Imint Launches Vidhance Mobile – Providing True Cinematic Video Stabilization for Smartphones

The software company Imint announces the release of its Vidhance® Mobile software platform for Android. The first functionality of the platform showcased is real-time True Cinematic Video Stabilization for smartphones, removing the swaying motions from hand-held filming. Vidhance Mobile is an intelligent software layer added to the phone’s operating system, giving the smartphone a clear edge in camera capabilities, giving all applications an optimized video experience, and providing for a flexible software platform for further video functionality. The software is based on patented technology employed for several years in the defense and aeronautical domains, providing ultra-efficient and low-latency video enhancements. Vidhance Mobile for Android was first showcased at the White Bull European Tech event Pathways 2014 in Barcelona on October 8th, 2014, as part of Imint’s Bully Award presentation.

Vidhance Mobile is a patented, real-time, purpose-built all-software video stabilization solution, with minimal latency and low processor requirements. Vidhance Mobile augments existing technologies including electronic- and optical image stabilization (EIS and OIS). Tests with leading smartphones from premium brands with such capabilities demonstrate that low frequency wobbling motion is still not adequately resolved, and this results in the inability to achieve truly stabilized, high quality video. Vidhance Mobile is an intelligent software layer added to the phone’s operating system, giving the smartphone a clear edge in camera capabilities and giving all applications a smooth video experience. The Vidhance Mobile architecture enables swift integration onto a smartphone platform, ensuring that the novel functionality can reach market in a short time. With no look-ahead buffers, performance can be increased, battery efficiency improved, and the stable video is readily available for preview, live feeds and more efficient encoding. Consumer focus is rapidly moving to the video experience, and a tipping point in user sharing is on the verge. Video quality remains a barrier, as expressed by Caitlin Dewey of Washington Post: “Anyone who has ever taken a handheld video knows that medium’s Achilles’ heel: No matter how hard you try to hold your hand still, the frame shakes and pitches and generally nauseates anyone who tries to watch it”. Vidhance Mobile offers instant rig-on-rails video results. With the launch of the first Android-based prototype, Imint also revealed some of the upcoming functionality in the Vidhance Mobile roadmap, addressing low or uneven light conditions, noise, on-the-fly editing and follow-and-zoom moving objects – turning “problems” into stunning results that users are proud of sharing.
[Vidhance Mobile is a patented, real-time, purpose-built all-software video stabilization solution, with minimal latency and low processing requirements. ] Vidhance Mobile is a patented, real-time, purpose-built all-software video stabilization solution, with minimal latency and low processing requirements.

Imint – Image Intelligence AB was spun out of next-generation research conducted at the Center for Image Analysis at Uppsala University, Sweden. Vidhance has been providing its intelligent video processing software to the demanding industrial and defense markets, to improve time critical decision making from remote video feeds, such as military surveillance from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and submarines. The Vidhance software algorithms have been improved over many years to meet the challenging requirements from these traditional markets, where harsh filming conditions, hard real-time requirements and resource-limited computers sets the operative boundaries.

Accelerating interest in Imint’s software platform for consumer devices, prompted Imint to engage with partners to bring the technology to broad consumer benefits and to propel consumer video usage, thereby unlocking the true utility and economic potential of mobile video. Vidhance Mobile analyze the video data only and separates the intended motion from unintended motion, removing the latter. The solution’s independence from motion sensor data distinguish it from existing methods and third party applications, and are thus able not only to dampen unintended motion, but cancel it out – giving True Cinematic Video Stabilization. Vidhance Mobile is not an app – it is an intelligent software layer added to the phone’s OS, giving the host device a clear edge in camera capabilities, and provides a platform for distinguishing new camera-based features. Imint is now on tour to show the first prototype implementation of Vidhance Mobile on Android.

Imint also launched a dedicated web site to promote Vidhance Mobile, at www.vidhance.com.

Simon Mika, Imint CTO, gave some details on the roadmap:

“Vidhance is best described as an efficient software layer, gathering a wealth of real-time metadata from captured frames; not only background motion as needed for cinematic video stabilization, but also object detection and motion, color and contrast, and so forth. Access to this metadata is an ideal platform for further innovation, to create tomorrow’s breath-taking mobile video solutions. We will shortly showcase our Auto Zoom functionality, as an example on how this metadata can be fused to create something novel. Auto Zoom will enable you to film an object of interest – say your kid riding a bike away from your parking space and out and away onto the street, to get a studio professional instant result. Just keep your kid in the preview screen while filming, and Vidhance will automatically track and zoom in to follow, utilizing the high camera resolution, and keep everything stable, to create the impression you were following alongside from a camera on rails. You will have a clip worth sharing immediately – and can do so, as it is all real-time”

Imint CEO Andreas Lifvendahl added another important aspect of video stabilization:

“A very important side effect on the multi-dimensional motion analysis performed by Vidhance Mobile, is the positive effect is has on video encoding. Encoders compress video by trying to code differences between frames, rather than the full data within a frame. Today’s encoders do a good job in identifying translations, which is sufficient for studio produced movies. With handheld filming however, you also get a lot of unintentional rotation, which severely limits the encoders chances of doing a good job. As Vidhance Mobile is a frame-by-frame real time solution, with no look-ahead buffers needed, it can be applied before encoding – thus giving in the range of 5-30% additional compression. With available video resolution going up to or beyond 2160p, users will quickly run out of available memory. And for live streaming, for example in video calls or conferences, increased compression means higher video quality can be used at a given bit rate.”

More facts on Vidhance Mobile:

Vidhance is implemented in mobile devices primarily in the lower OS levels, a device optimized extension to camera drivers and hardware abstraction layers (HALs) implementations, thus providing benefits to all applications that use video capture. Vidhance Mobile is a real-time, purpose-built all-software video stabilization solution, uses an optical flow-based video stabilization technique taking advantage of existing technologies that typically use sensors to estimate motion – but they are unable to accurately sum up slow movements over time, which is the signature of walking motion.

True cinematic video stabilization is the first functionality brought into Vidhance Mobile, but more is on the roadmap. The Vidhance technology, serving in defense system, has a wealth of other capabilities enhancing video, improving user experience and enabling new and unique features. Short term, Imint will add its adaptive regional contrast optimization to Vidhance Mobile, giving “HDR for video”, improving video quality in bad or uneven illuminated scenarios. Another near term functionality is intelligent noise reduction, also supporting low-light filming.

Vidhance Mobile is implemented in mobile devices primarily in the lower OS levels, as device optimized extensions to camera drivers and hardware abstraction layers (HALs) implementations, thus providing benefits to all applications that use video capture. It provides in-depth metadata on motions, contrast, saturation etc. – thus serving as a sandbox utility upon which new innovative functionality can be built. Imint presented some of these in its roadmap, but integrating partners have the full freedom to explore further and beyond. The snap-on approach of wrapping the camera driver, also ensures a “quick-fix” and non-intrusive integration, enabling Vidhance Mobile to be added to a phone platform in the later development stages, or as a pure software upgrade to existing models already on the market.