What is hyperlapse?
A hyperlapse video can take several forms and basically, it is a long video that is sped up and runs much faster. One type of hyperlapse video shows a plant growing, a flower opening, the changing weather throughout the day, even the seasons changing, and so on.
Microsoft Hyperlapse, a free utility for Windows users, is designed to take first-person video clips and turn them into hyperlapse videos. For example, you might mount a GoPro camera on your bike and go for a ride, strap it on your helmet and go rock climbing, or even just go for a walk.
This utility is not just for GoPro camera users and it can also be used with videos taken on your mobile phone or an ordinary digital camera. For example, you can hold your phone in your hand as you walk along to record a video. This can then be turned into a hyperlapse video.
If you simply speed up a normal video that has been shot hand-held or with a bike or helmet mounted camera, there is a lot of movement and it looks poor. You bob up and down as you walk, you might tilt the camera slightly one way and then the other, and so on. It’s shaky. Mounting a camera on something is not much better and there is a lot of camera movement and vibration.
Microsoft Hyperlapse not only speeds up a video, but also adds stabilisation too. It automatically selects frames that closely match each other to reduce camera movement and the result is a super-fast video, but one that is steady too.
You really have to see it to understand how clever it is. There is a good video with background information from Microsoft Research here and it is worth watching.
Create hyperlapse videos
Go and download Microsoft Hyperlapse for Windows. Install it and run it. The first task is to load a video and long ones are better than short ones. This is because the video is being sped up 8x or even more, so a 60 second clip will produce only around an 8 second hyperlapse video, depending on how much you speed it up.
The start and end of the video clip can be set and this enables you to trim the start and end points – just drag the markers at the left and right side of the bar at the bottom.
There is just one more step and this is to set the output options. At the top on the right is an option to select a camera model. They are all GoPro models, but you don’t have to select one and it can be left on Unknown Camera, which works with any video clip from any camera. Selecting a GoPro model enables the Advanced features in the Smoothing section, so you have some extra tweaking controls.
The speed control determines how much faster the resulting video will be. Try some low figures like 6x or 8x. Down at the bottom on the right is the output file and you can choose the folder and filename. The default is the same folder, but with a new name so the original clip is not overwritten.
The resolution can be set and the frame rate selected. The settings you choose will depend on what you want to do with the video. If you will be uploading it to the web, then select a low resolution and low frame rate, but if you will watch the video on a computer or TV, choose a high resolution like HD and a framerate of 30 fps or more.
When the Next button is clicked, the video is created and saved. Afterwards it can be double clicked in an Explorer window, opened in Media Player, VLC or whatever you use to watch video clips.