Algorithm eliminates blurred images from footage


Duke University computer engineers have designed algorithms. Capable of sharpening video blurred by a shaky camera. Newly integrated into Adobe’s After Effects video editing software. The solution is bringing relief to tripod-less videographers everywhere.

The researchers wrote an algorithm that analyzes and scores. The original frame on sharpness. It then does the same for each region of nearby frames and compares them to the original. By choosing the best available options and compiling them into one image. New and improved “Frankenstein frame” created to replace the blurred original.

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Sapiro and Delbracio junior professors in Duke university used the very shaking that caused the blur in the first place to find a shortcut for removing it. Because videos take many images in rapid succession. The duo decided to try to use the surrounding frames to sharpen the problematic image. Because shaky hand causes random movements, each frame is degraded differently.

Each image has something good and something bad. So we simply tried to merge all of the good parts, explained Sapiro. Discovered all the frames degraded differently, it becomes very easy to do this mathematically.

The simplicity of the calculations means the corrections made in a matter of seconds, making it a perfect addition to any video-editing software.

A prominent figure in the field for more than a decade and having licensed his work before, Sapiro has several contacts at various video analysis companies. After publishing lab’s work in IEEE Transactions on Computational Imaging in June 2016, reached out Adobe and might be interested in integrating the new method into one of the video editing platforms.

Algorithm Used in Adobe

Delbracio spent about a month working with colleagues at Adobe to make sure his algorithm worked in their environment. Writing a computer code for a scientific paper is one thing; integrating it into a platform in an intuitive way so that users can help shape the results is quite another.

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The collaboration successful, however, and the feature released in the Spring 2017 version of Adobe After Effects. The addition most notably allows users to take shaky footage and make it stable, avoiding blurred lines.

They already knew geometrically how to take the shake out of unstable footage said Delbracio. “But stabilizing the field introduces blur on top of the image, so it’s important to do both to recover usable video.”