On June 6, 2011, YouTube launched a video stabilization feature, a technique that mimics professional camera moves and applies them to videos recorded by hand-held devices. Starting today, "if you stabilize a video from a mobile phone or other rolling shutter cameras, Google will also automatically compensate for rolling shutter distortions," google announced.
"More recently, we have been working on a related problem common in videos shot from mobile phones. The camera sensors in these phones contain what is known as an electronic rolling shutter. When taking a picture with a rolling shutter camera, the image isn't captured instantaneously. Instead, the camera captures the image one row of pixels at a time, with a small delay when going from one row to the next. Consequently, if the camera moves during capture, it'll cause image distortions ranging from shear in the case of low-frequency motions (for instance an image captured from a driving car) to wobbly distortions in the case of high-frequency perturbations (think of a person walking while recording video). These distortions are especially noticeable in videos where the camera shake is independent across frames," Google Research explains the rolling shutter issue.
"The time delay in capturing two consecutive rows that we mention above is in fact different for every camera and affects the extent of distortions. Having knowledge of this delay parameter can be useful, but difficult to obtain or estimate via calibration. Imagine a video that is already uploaded to YouTube -- it'll be challenging to obtain this parameter! Instead, we show that just the visual data in the video has enough information to appropriately describe and compensate for the distortions caused by the camera motion, even in the presence of a rolling shutter," Google Reasearch adds
To see the technique in action, check out the videos below, obtained after applying rolling shutter compensation and stabilization to the one above.
Original video with rolling shutter distortions:
After stabilization and rolling shutter removal
The next time you upload your videos to YouTube, try stabilizing them by going to the YouTube editor or directly from the video manager by clicking on Edit->Enhancements. For even more convenience, YouTube will automatically detect if your video needs stabilization and offer to do it for you.