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YouTube buys Green Parrot Pictures to clean up blurry videos

blurry-video-green-parrotYour badly-shot home videos are about to get an upgrade online. YouTube, a division of Google, announced Tuesday that it has acquired Ireland-based Green Parrot Pictures. Using Green Parrot’s video retouching technology, YouTube can turn even the blurriest videos into something watchable.

As YouTube’s video technology director Jeremy Doig explains on the company blog, videos on the site come in a wide variety of qualities. It’s not always the best-produced clips, however, that get the most attention.

“Some videos are beautifully shot by professionals or aspiring filmmakers using the very latest in HD cameras and equipment,” Doig writes. “But some of YouTube’s most popular or moving videos are shot using low-quality mobile phones and video cameras.”

Doig cites videos of the recent protest in Libya as an example of “emotionally captivating” YouTube content that’s also “jerky, blurry or unsteady.” It is for this type of videos, Doig says, that YouTube has acquired Green Parrot Pictures.

Founded by Anil Kokaram, a professor of engineering at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, Green Parrot Pictures specializes in “motion based manipulation of film and video,” according to the company website. In other words, Green Parrot can make bad-quality videos look better. The company has built a solid reputation in the film industry for its work on such films as Lord of the Rings, X-Men and Spider-Man.

Green Parrot uses a number of techniques and technologies for improving footage, including image stabilization, flicker and blotch remover (especially useful for older films), and noise reduction.

As Doig points out, YouTube gets the “equivalent of over 170,000 full-length movies” uploaded to the site every week. All of this footage is processed by YouTube to format it for the various sizes of videos on the site. Rather than employing the Green Parrot touch only on select clips, the technology will be added to every video, as it’s being uploaded.

Watch an example of Green Parrot Pictures image stabilization to see just how drastically the technology can improve shaky footage: