New software could create entirely new views from existing video

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A groundbreaking algorithm developed by researchers at Cornell University and Google Research is poised to revolutionize the world of filmmaking.

The software, known as DynIBar, has the potential to stabilize shaky video, change perspectives, and create stunning visual effects like freeze-frames, zooms, and slow-motion sequences.

The algorithm synthesizes new views using pixel information from existing footage, even compensating for moving objects and unsteady camerawork.

This remarkable advancement outshines previous efforts, which often produced blurry or glitchy results in only a few seconds of video.

Although the software is currently in the early stages of development and not yet integrated into commercial video editing tools, it holds immense promise for both personal and professional applications.

Noah Snavely, a research scientist at Google Research and associate professor of computer science at Cornell Tech, presented this groundbreaking work, titled “DynIBaR: Neural Dynamic Image-Based Rendering,” at the prestigious IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition.

The project received an honorable mention for the best paper award. The lead author, Zhengqi Li, Ph.D. ’21, played a pivotal role in its development.

While significant progress has been made in view synthesis methods that generate new perspectives from a collection of images, these methods often struggle when dealing with moving subjects, such as people, animals, or swaying trees.

DynIBar tackles this challenge by estimating how objects move over time, taking the process a step further than previous approaches. However, incorporating the element of time into the equation poses a complex mathematical problem.

To simplify this problem, the researchers turned to a computer graphics technique called image-based rendering, which was developed in the 1990s.

This approach allows the software to handle complex scenes with numerous intricate details, such as leafy trees. By altering and recombining parts of images, the algorithm can generate new images while maintaining the complexity within the source image, resulting in faster loading times.

Despite its remarkable capabilities, this software may not be immediately accessible on smartphones due to the lengthy processing time required. Even on powerful computers, it can take several hours to process just a few seconds of video.

Soon, the technology may find more practical applications in offline video editing software. The next hurdle for the researchers is finding ways to generate new images when pixel information is insufficient, such as when the subject moves too quickly or the viewer desires a 180-degree viewpoint change.

They believe that incorporating generative AI techniques, like text-to-image generators, could assist in filling these gaps.

With the advent of DynIBar, filmmakers are on the cusp of an exciting era where video editing can be taken to new heights. The software’s ability to stabilize footage, alter viewpoints, and create stunning visual effects without the need for additional shooting is truly remarkable.

While the technology is not yet widely available, its potential impact on the industry is undeniable.

As researchers continue to refine and improve the software, we eagerly anticipate the day when these captivating video enhancements become accessible to all, unlocking a realm of creative possibilities.

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