How Microsoft Captures Remarkable Stills From Lousy Flash Videos

This photo of Mount Rainier looks like it was shot back in the 60s or 70s by a vacationer with a nice film camera. In reality, it was created by Microsoft from an unbelievably hazy, shaky video clip:

Even lousy video like this has one distinct advantage over a mere photo: sheer volume. It's easy to forget, this short clip has 900 still images inside (30 seconds of 30fps). Since it's a static image, Microsoft can take a small percentage of these 900 images—80 in this case—and combine their sharpest, most detailed parts. When glued together (and I'm guessing pumped through some color and contrast filters), the result is more impressive than anything you would have imagined from the original, sad source.


Microsoft is researching other image enhancement tools, like creating entire panoramas from clips like this one. More on that: [CNET]

UPDATE: Even more info here.

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