Instagram Details Tech Behind Their New Hyperlapse App

Instagram will still always be Instagram, but the photo editing application is giving users new ways to interact with their pictures by releasing new apps to play with. Recently they soft launched their Bolt application on Android in select regions and just yesterday they launched another photo app called Hyperlapse, which lets you capture and share moving time lapse videos. So far this is just an iOS application, but rest assured that in due time and possibly the near future, Instagram will have an Android ready version of this application waiting in the wings. As for now we'll explain some of the technology behind the Hyperlapse application that Instagram has brought to the forefront. Yesterday they have explained some of the details of how Hyperlapse works in a blog post, so we'll try to summarize it.

Instagram starts off by explaining that they needed to figure out a way to achieve the overall goal of allowing instagrammers to capture beautiful fluid videos with the time lapse effect. One of the hurdles to overcome while trying to accomplish this is the issue with handshake while shooting video. They reference the harnesses that cameramen wear in the movie industry to separate operator movement from camera movement, however they joke that they can't expect Instagram users to walk around wearing harnesses all day to get the same effect. This is where Cinema comes in. Cinema is basically a stabilization algorithm that measures and removes unwanted shaking of the camera during shooting, and Instagram has set up Cinema to use the gyroscope to accomplish the task. You can see some of the way Cinema works in action in the videos on Instagram's blog post.

Without going into too much technical detail, Instagram explains that even with the amazing things they can do with the Cinema algorithm, it still causes a data free region to show up outside of the visible area of the video after applying the time lapse, causing the output video to show the black square area you can see in the screenshot below. To counteract this from appearing, Instagram had to apply adaptive zoom in order to prevent the empty data regions, which helps to result in a video that looks like the second screenshot below. There's a lot of extra detail in the original blog post by Instagram and certainly more stuff that goes into the work that results in a cool app like Hyperlapse, but this pretty much sums up how things work. Are you looking forward to this appearing on Android in the future?

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About the Author
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Justin Diaz

Head Editor
Lover of food, craft beer, movies, travel, and all things tech. Video games have always been a passion of his due to their ability to tell incredible stories, and home automation tech is the next big interest, in large part because of the Philips Hue integration with Razer Chroma. Current Device: Google Pixel.
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