Image deblurring and warp stabilizer would be a killer combo

In case you have been living under a rock, and have not yet seen the recent Adobe presentation on image deblurring, here is the video. I recommend you watch it first, and then read on:

The demo itself is pretty impressive. I’m sure it won’t fix every photo, and it will also be having it’s own share of problems, however I don’t think there is anybody who would disagree, that this technology is really revolutionary. Richard Harrington blogged “It will change everything”, and it surely will. There is a lot of creative potential with this technology as it is.

However, the real killer would be translating it to video. I can’t even start to count how many times have I tried to stabilize shaky footage only to back down considerably due to the motion blur that no stabilizer has yet been able to remove. No matter how good a stabilizer, be it a simple tracking and position/rotation/scale lock or more advanced algorithms like warp stabilizer, if the camera movement is erratic, you will get a variable amount of motion blur, which is often more pain to watch, than original shaky footage. Therefore I received all claims about warp stabilizer being a new steadycam with more than a grain of salt.

However, if warp stabilizer did include image deblurring, then it would indeed be another game changer. Interestingly, kernel calculation in moving picture might be actually helped quite a lot by temporal data and tracking (although subframe calculations would still be necessary), and the algorithm for video might in the end be less computation-intensive on the per-frame basis. And instead of the simple stabilize option, we would have the option to remove motion blur, or even calculate proper motion blur for the newly stabilized footage.

How great would that be, huh?

For those willing to delve deeper and read on the history of this research, here is a nice article from fxguide.com, that describes it: You saw the unblur clip with the audience gasping…here is the source. And for those interested in other impressive work in Adobe, check out the rest of Adobe sneak videos. Especially look at video meshes, pixel nuggets and local layer ordering. These technologies might find their way to your favorite editing software as well.

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About Bart Walczak

I'm a video editor, and an aspiring colorist and VFX artist, with some experience in desktop publishing, web development and programming.
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