The video software company Imint has revealed new disruptive functionality in its Vidhance® Mobile software platform. The real-time software, running on a portable camera device such as a smartphone, enables user to automatically capture smooth and stable cut-outs, following objects of interest with cinematic pans and zooms. The Autozoom capability is a result of earlier works by Imint within the defense segment, and the company has fused robust algorithms for object detection, tracking and sizing, and added videographic rules for zoom and composition, to give consumers instant and effortless videos that are far more interesting and engaging from more traditional “shaky surveillance camera”-clips. Regardless of the filming situation – your friend’s adventurous cliff dive, your daughter’s soccer game, or your grandfather driving away on his new HD motorbike – Autozoom solves a problem recognized by most. Either the filmmaker keeps a wide angle throughout the clip, resulting in a boring, disconnected viewing experience, or tries to fiddle with manual zoom, with terrible result with magnified shakes and the object more often out of the frame then in.
Imint is a software company based in Uppsala, Sweden, with its background in academic research in image analysis and video optimizations. Imint’s efficient real-time Vidhance algorithms has been field deployed for several years in demanding defense- and industrial applications. In October 2014, Imint publically launched its first prototype of Vidhance Mobile, with its software re-targeted for smartphones. Vidhance Mobile is an intelligent software platform that can added to the phone’s operating system or directly into apps, giving the smartphone or app respectively, a clear edge in camera capabilities and giving all users a smooth video experience. The first feature introduced in Vidhance Mobile was true cinematic video stabilization. Following this launch, Imint has been relentless in its R&D efforts, pushing the envelope further, to bring consumers new disruptive ways to capture breathtaking videos, for sharing or live streaming.
The revealed Autzoom feature addition to Vidhance Mobile, works by combining several layers of real-time video analysis and optimizations. Imint’s technology for object tracking and sizing has been deployed in demanding applications such as military drone surveillance and air traffic management, and is very robust in terms of object size, shape, color, orientation and illumination. When enabled, the software automatically moves closer to the object of interest, and compose a more engaging close-up experience. Several ways for user interaction is available, from simpler user guidance by tapping on the preview screen where the object of interest is, to use the automatic moving object detection also a part of legacy Vidhance applications within defense applications, such as airborne maritime surveillance. When enabled, the user can be presented with simple overlays to the preview, with object recommendations, and while autozoom is running, an icon for disengaging and searching for new objects.
Simon Mika, CTO of Imint, gave further description of the new functionality, and next steps:
“We are very happy with the first results – we had a hunch this would be extremely helpful for effortless creation of stunning video clips, but when the first results were out of the labs we all knew this was a killer feature. As a positive side note, it also offers realistic alternatives to how to utilize high resolution sensors. Not all situations calls for recording in 4K, as video files get huge, and it might not be convenient for quick sharing of clips on social media. With Vidhance Mobile Autozoom, the user automatically get scaled down version – but covering the interesting parts in a way that looks more professional.”
“We’re now extending this functionality with additional intelligence, such as using motion patterns and object recognition for optimal frame composition. We believe that for consumer video to become ubiquitous, on-the-go recording should just work, and users should be surprised on how good videographers they have become.”
Andreas Lifvendahl, Imint’s CEO, added to Mika’s comments:
“I am truly impressed by the team’s ability to spin out innovations in a short time – we’re revealing Autozoom only nine months after the first Android-based version of Vidhance Mobile was first showcased. The timing is also excellent, as we see a second wave of interest around mobile video, driven by live social media applications like Meerkat and Periscope. After an initial hype, we believe user expectations on higher quality streams will need to be addressed to keep engagement to this medium. With Vidhance Mobile, we have followed a gap analysis approach; what are consumers with smartphones main shortcomings compared to a professional film crew? Our video stabilization and adaptive regional contrast optimization solved the basic problems on video quality. Autozoom enables users to emulate professional gear on tripods, doing stable close-ups.”
Asked about next steps in this gap-closing approach, Lifvendahl concluded:
“Obviously the main remaining tasks is to use several cameras, and do a professional production mix of different angles, positions and distances, as broadcast companies has taught us it should look. Well, there are no shortage of smartphones around, so the interesting problems is how to connect these, how an automatic “cloud producer” would do the mixing, and what kind of metadata that needs to flow between ad-hoc contributors and such cloud producer. We will reveal more on our roadmap here at a later stage; we are currently filing a number of patents, as we believe we have solved some of the messier technology hurdles here.”