Science and Tech


Instagram's Hyperlapse Brings Pricy Stabilization To Phones

Instagram announced a new video stabilization app called Hyperlapse on Tuesday, bringing a high-end filming technique to peoples' iPhones.
Posted at 11:48 PM, Aug 26, 2014

​A new app came out Tuesday, and it’s got some folks pretty excited. Why? Because its doing away with the curse of all smartphone videos: shakey video shots.

This is Hyperlapse, Instagrams new brainchild. It lets your iPhone capture the kind of footage you'd normally only get with expensive video setups simply by stabilizing videos using your phone's gyroscope.

The social media company announced the app in a blog post, posting a video comparing normal hand-held shots with Hyperlapsed shots.

TechCrunch says, even though the app has a whopping three controls, it's actually pretty complicated.

"Image stabilization tech is processing-intensive to the point where it really isn't feasible on mobile. However, by using the gyroscopes in the phone itself, the Instagram team used algorithms to calculate the movements of the phone and correct it in the shot."

Wired even compared the app to a $15,000 tracking rig. The magazine spoke with Thomas Dimson of Instagram’s product team about what inspired him to create the app.

Turns out, it was 1992’s Baraka — a hybrid film/photo essay that features tracking shots of different parts of humanity.

Dimson told Wired: "It was my senior year, and my friend who was an architect said, 'You have to see it, it will blow you away.' Ever since, it's always been the back of my mind."

Hyperlapse marks the second stand-alone app released by Instagram — the first being Bolt, a Snapchat competitor released in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa.

As for why the app was released as a stand-alone instead of packaged with Instagram, the company’s co-founder told Wired they felt hyperlapse would be less noticeable hidden inside another app.

Hyperlapse won't be the only app offering time lapse functionality for long. Apple announced a similar feature that will be added to the standard camera app when iOS 8 is released this fall. (Video via AppleInsider)

For now, it's probably best to heed the words of The Washington Post's Caitlin Dewey: "Most importantly, don’t go crazy. We all like a good timelapse, but could do without 500 in our Instagram feeds."