When Microsoft announced Microsoft Hyperlapse, we were curious to see what it could do. The company boasted that it could take any first-person recorded action video and turn it into a comfortably watchable timelapse. We decided to give it a shot and see what it could do with a simple driving video.
The desktop version of the software uses all the image data to figure out the 3D space recorded, along with the dominant path traveled, and stitches together a "Hyperlapse." It also removes a bunch of still bits from the video, such as when you're taking a quick break or stuck at a traffic light.
To test it out, I grabbed a GoPro, mounted it upside-down to the rear-view mirror, and had it looking back while I went for a quick spin.
During the drive, I could see the camera was shaking around quite a bit, so I was curious to see the results of turning it into a simple timelapse, where the software would take every tenth frame or so.
When I got to my destination, I loaded the raw data into GoPro Studio, re-oriented it, and sped it up 8x before exporting it. Once exported, the video actually looked alright:
After that, I exported the full clip at normal speed so that I could import this into Microsoft Hyperlapse. Importing went off without a hitch.
Setting the right options in Hyperlapse was a snap. I selected that I used a GoPro Hero3+ Silver (because that information had been lost in the file data after exporting the video from GoPro Studio), selected the advanced algorithm, left the "speed up factor" slider at 8x, set the resolution to 720p at 60 FPS, and sent it to processing.
Processing is where the troubles began. The video would render up until about 76 percent, at which point it crashed. This happened time after time, and because the software had only been available for a couple of days, resorting to the forums for help was no use. Luckily, on my fourth try it managed to finish rendering successfully, which took well over two hours on a Core i7-4770k at stock clocks.
Below is the video processed by Microsoft Hyperlapse:
We'll let the results speak for themselves. We clearly see the camera trying to follow the dominant path, although it does have a delay and doesn't always seem to know what to look at. That may be due to the car's interior occupying a large portion of the view. What is nice is that it cuts out the long still bits, meaning you don't have to watch me grab a mint and tuck a cable out of sight.
However, the problem with this attempt was that the original video was actually quite good, leading me to wonder if I'd used Hyperlapse in the wrong conditions? I therefore did what any good Dutchman would do: I went for a bike ride. A bike ride let me mount the camera with a first-person view, and I intentionally biked around moving side-to-side excessively and found some wobbly roads to see how Hyperlapse would cope with very shaky video. Basically, I set out to make the worst source footage I could within 10 minutes. Below are both the videos, with the plain one up top.
Clearly, the original timelapse is unwatchable. Of course (take my word for it), the source video that runs at normal speed at 60 FPS is also hardly watchable due to the side-to-side movements. After letting Microsoft Hyperlapse have a go at it, though, it actually looks very good. Hyperlapse completely worked out the shakiness and erratic camera movement and created a nice, smooth timelapse. Granted, it moves around a bit, which makes it seem like I was a drunk cyclist, but that's a sacrifice I can accept.
Would we recommend Microsoft Hyperlapse? Well, that depends on the kind of video you're making. For the driving video, where it was mounted on a static place, it clearly doesn't really help. In fact, I'd say that it even ruins the video. However, if you feed Microsoft Hyperlapse some proper action video, it can certainly make something very watchable and even enjoyable out of it. Now, if only there was a free version of the software that doesn't leave a huge watermark...
You can download Microsoft Hyperlapse here, and it is available for Android, Windows Phone (select models), Microsoft Azure and Windows. We used the Microsoft Hyperlapse Pro version for these videos.