Imint Roll Outs Vidhance Mobile 1.0 for Smartphone Integration, Reveals 2015 Roadmap

The software company Imint AB announces the upcoming release of its integration-ready Vidhance® Mobile software platform for Android smartphones, bringing true cinematic video stabilization to devices in 2015. The Real-time Video Stabilization within the Vidhance Mobile platform is a purpose-built software that both augments existing image stabilization techniques and adds a dedicated video stabilization layer to a phone’s operating system, giving users a smooth video recording by eliminating unintended wobbling and swaying. Further, Imint also reveals its 2015 product roadmap for its Vidhance Mobile platform, which dramatically changes what consumers can expect from their own mobile device’s video capabilities. Capabilities include auto track-and-zoom, on-the-fly cut suggestions and regional contrast enhancements, enabling consumers to instantly capture studio-produced quality video clips. The new product functionality is brought into Vidhance Mobile by fusing and adapting Imint’s tried-and-tested defense system’s algorithms, first launched in 2008. The first beta of Vidhance Mobile was publicly announced in October 2014, as described in earlier press releases from the company.

Vidhance Mobile Video Stabilization

Vidhance Mobile is a patented, real-time, purpose-built all-software video stabilization solution, with minimal latency and low processor requirements, derived from Imint’s defense targeted video analytics, enhancement and optimization software.

The first demonstration unit with Vidhance Mobile featured video stabilization on a Nexus 5 device, and was launched in October of 2014. The demonstration prototype has been evaluated by interested parties, and Imint is now announcing the upcoming availability of an integration-ready, Android-based, Vidhance Mobile version, with initial real product integration commencing in Q1 of 2015. Existing stabilization solutions in most leading smartphones utilize digital, electronic, and/or optical image stabilization (DS, EIS and OIS) and solve for image stabilization, not video stabilization. As tests with premium smartphone brands have shown, current solutions only address certain high-frequency shakiness – they do not solve for the full range of distortions that prevents achieving truly stabilized, high quality video. Highlights for the Vidhance Mobile 1.0 release:

  • The launch of Apple’s iPhone 6 “Cinematic Video Stabilization” in 2014 marked the first real attempt to address video stabilization separately, and on top of, image stabilization. Tests performed by Imint shows Vidhance Mobile achieves better results than the iPhone 6;
  • Vidhance Mobile is an intelligent software layer added to the phone’s lower Android OS levels as a device-optimized extension to camera drivers and hardware abstraction layer (HAL) implementations. The method used by Imint ensures a quick and smooth snap-on integration into smartphones, providing benefits to all applications that use video capture;
  • Vidhance Mobile video stabilization corrects for the full range of unintended walking- and moving motion. The past industry consensus has been that an all-software solution running on the CPU and GPU would not meet real-time performance criteria, but Imint’s patented and efficient solution has proven this to be false;
  • In the Vidhance Mobile 1.0 release, Imint is also introducing a full six degrees of freedom motion analysis, detecting user unintended motion not only in X,Y and Z translations, but also rotation around all axes. The result is a smooth, distortion- and skewing free live video recording.

Imint will be initiating integration projects in Q1, 2015 with lead customers. Although Vidhance Mobile has excellent performance and power consumption metrics as is, further optimizations can be done in joint integration teams, combining Imint’s software and algorithmic expertise with partner’s camera and hardware competence. Joint integration projects also brings other merits, one example being reduction of video file sizes or improved video quality in live transmission: Tests have shown that applying Vidhance Mobile stabilization ahead of video encoding can yield file size reductions in the order of 5-30%.

Imint’s CTO Simon Mika commented on the upcoming release:

“We have made tremendous progress this past fall, and we’re glad to now put our momentum into the next gear, and work on real product integration with some of our lead partners. Proper video stabilization has been standing somewhat in the shadow, as the market has been focusing on image stabilization technologies. This is now rapidly changing, and with our optimized and efficient software solution, we are very well positioned.”

Vidhance Mobile Roadmap

Further, Imint is also revealing some of its Vidhance Mobile roadmap features for 2015. The overall ambition is to bring consumer video recordings to new levels, meeting raising user expectations, and allowing them to have professional-style video clips to share immediately without post-processing needs. This is achieved by bringing field-proven algorithms from Imint, used in defense- and industrial applications, fusing functionality and adapting them to fit consumer users and mobile devices, and providing automatic support to align to cinematographic heuristic rules. Some of the capabilities to be launched in 2015 are:

  • Auto Track-and-Zoom: This addresses the problem of users feeling dissatisfied when filming moving objects, like kids running on a soccer field. Combining Imint technology for object tracking and utilizing today’s high-resolution camera sensors, Vidhance Mobile records an adaptive and smooth cut-out of the whole scene, creating a virtual rails sensation, much more in line with professional film making.
  • On-the-fly Cut Suggestions: Vidhance Mobile will solve for the problem of user recording too long clips, with unwanted or uninteresting sections in the clip, by using a selection of video metadata stored alongside the video, such as motion- and sharpness metrics. After stopping the recording, the user is automatically presented with segmented parts of the video clip. This enables on-the-fly selection on what to keep, and what to discard.
  • Adaptive Regional Contrast Enhancements for low or uneven illumination: Imint is adding a software layer on top of improved still image quality methods such as HDR, with its adaptive contrast enhancement algorithms. These efficient methods work for under-exposed as well as over-exposed areas within a frame, and are purpose-built for video. The algorithms detect areas that are too dark or too bright; improve the contrast regionally, and blend out the result for a smooth, flicker-free video experience, all in full real-time.

Andreas Lifvendahl, CEO at Imint, added to the disclosure of some of the roadmap highlights:

“Smartphone consumers today feel like professional photographers, thanks to the improvements in camera technology. They are however not satisfied with their own video recordings, as they look amateurish and often uninspiring – not as Hollywood has taught us how it should look. It is exciting to take our vast video experience from the defense domain, to combine and built new innovative features that I am sure will surprise users, making them proud and happy to share much more video clips than done today.”

Additional images and illustrations found here. Video example based on the Nexus 5 prototype found here.