No more shaky footage: Imint's Vidhance software stabilizes video in real time

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Unsteady hands are the bane of every smartphone videographer’s existence. Optical image stabilization helps a bit, but unless your phone is secured to a gimbal or mount, capturing steady footage from your smartphone’s sensor is a Sisyphean task. To help address this problem, Imint AB, a Swedish video technology company that writes and sells image-stabilization and analysis software for military drones, has developed algorithms that can smooth out shaky footage from virtually any phone.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, Imint will demo the latest release of Premium Video Stabilization, which stabilizes phone footage in real time and is part of the Vidhance software suite. One of the firm’s side-by-side tests found that it scored 2.7 times better than the iPhone 7’s built-in stabilization features and 43 percent better than the Google Pixel’s electronic image stabilization (EIS). In “more challenging scenerios,” it outperformed the iPhone 7 Plus by a factor of four.

Even better, Vidhance’s real-time enhancements don’t impact the quality of the footage. In an interview with TechCrunch, Imit CEO Andreas Livendahl said that the stabilization algorithms can process images in a “single frame,” and that the bulk of processing happens silently in the background.

That’s a boon for stabilization. Most competing solutions, like Instagram’s Hyperlapse, don’t work in real time, or require that you crop out parts of the video. But with Vidhance, you get a sense of how the final result will look without having to wait for post-processing.

Imit’s software suite offers more than just enhanced stabilization. A new auto-zoom algorithm, the fruit of the company’s work on drone defense systems and surveillance software, can automatically track and zoom in on “the most interesting parts” of the video. Another automatically curates highlights from longer videos and stitches them together, like the Assistant feature in Google Photos.

Imit’s stabilization software is already found in Huawei devices like the Huawei Mate 9, and the firm is teaming up with French smartphone maker Wiko and Spain-based BQ on future smartphones. And earlier this year, Init announced a venture with Samsung that’ll see Vidhance implemented in future “non-smartphone” devices.

“Getting our software into real phone products is an important milestone; it confirms that we have directed our skills and resources in the right direction,” Vidhance director Johan Svensson said. “We are devoted to making consumers’ precious moments truly cinematic, but we will not lose our engineering focus in achieving this vision. We will continue to add features to our video stabilization package to secure our long-term leadership.”