Good cameras come with optical image stabilization (OIS) feature that reduces handshake and general movement caused by the person who is holding the camera. The result is smoother video clips and sharper still images. OIS has its limits, and that’s why stabilizers have been made available as accessories both for large cameras and smartphones. These electronic stabilizers let the photographer walk, cycle or drive while shooting a video. Now, Google’s engineers have managed to pack all the modern image stabilizing technology into the new Pixel 2 smartphone.
The results are simply amazing for videos shot with a Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL smartphone when the Fused image stabilization feature is turned on. Just watch the following video where a motorcycle rider is filming another rider on a bumpy mountain road. The photographer has two Pixel 2 smartphones recording at the same time. The left one doesn’t have the Fused feature turned on, whereas the right one has.
The video above shot with the Google’s new Fused image stabilization technology is like magic – it is as smooth as a high-end drone that was flying behind the motorcyclist had recorded the video clip. How is it possible? Google’s engineers explain the complex technology in a long blog post here.
Here is a summary of the Fused technology. It consists of two parts: optical image stabilization (OIS) that is built in to the lens, and a software technology running on the phone that Google calls electronic image stabilization (EIS). There is nothing new in OIS, but when Google’s EIS software algorithms complement OIS, the magic starts to happen.
The EIS software can detect different types of movements and correct blurs and shakes in images. The stabilization software consists of several stages that improve the images. The real gem of the whole EIS system is an algorithm called lookahead motion filtering. It buffers a sequence of images in order to understand the captured motion. Since it can look to the past as new images are coming in, it can determine which objects are stationary and which are moving. In multiple stages, the algorithm then stabilizes the images.
Here is another sample video that shows the Fused image stabilization. The photographer with two Pixel 2 phones is running along with the subject.
You probably noticed that the stabilized video is cropped. It is the same effect that happens if you post-process your video in an editor application using its stabilizer feature on a computer. What is the difference between the Pixel 2 and a video editor app?
The Pixel 2 video stabilizer does everything on the fly. You shoot your video, push a button to stop recording, and the saved clip is already processed by the EIS stabilizer.
Via DP Review.