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Google explains the Pixel 2's impressive hybrid video stabilization

Most smartphone cameras, even those with optical image stabilization systems, rely on electronic stabilization only for stabilizing video footage. Google's new Pixel 2 devices, however, are managing to combine both optical and electronic stabilization for ultra-smooth handheld footage and panning. And a new post on the Google Research Blog explains in quite some detail how the system works.

As you would expect from a software company like Google, advanced algorithms making use of the company's expertise in the area of machine learning are the key to the solution.

Motion information is collected from the optical stabilizer and the device's built-in gyroscope. In a next step, the Pixel 2 devices then use a filtering algorithm that pushes video frames into a deferred queue, analyzes them, and uses machine learning to predict where and how the camera is going to move next.

The system can correct for more types of motion than conventional stabilization systems, including wobbling, rolling shutter and even focus hunting. Virtual motion is used to correct for strong variation in sharpness when the device is moved very quickly.

The system might still have scope for improvement, but with a video score of 96, including a very high sub-score of 93 for stabilization, the Pixel 2 is already performing very well in the DxOMark Mobile ranking, and already has us looking forward to future generations of Google's AI-powered hybrid stabilization system.

For more detail read the original article on the Google Research Blog.

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epambos
epambos

Truly informative blog and a testament to the power of computational models and algorithms. Sensor technology is only one aspect of driving the quality of the image forward, not just technically but aesthetically as well...

3 months ago
Andy873

Pixel 2 has by far the best stabilization on any smartphone.

But the screen is laughable, the design is comparable to mid range phones, yet it sells for premium prices, not worth it.

3 months ago
semorg

This is what we need to see from independent reviewers. A side-by-side review with other phones.
Including actual loss of video size, etc and also a comparison with the new GoPro. It’ll give users a comparison and maybe a benchmark.

3 months ago
Gon0S
Gon0S

impressive. How much more power does all this marvel consume in order to give such results ?

3 months ago
meanwhile
meanwhile

It's an impressive result, but what is the loss in FOV when enabling both? Looks pretty significant.

3 months ago
giorgionerd

fantastic result

3 months ago
CaPi

How about the impressive screen fixes? :(

3 months ago
alexzn
alexzn

This is a strong demonstration of Google's chops in machine learning, and this is not even relying on Google's cloud services and software. It is also a harbinger of what to expect in the next generation of Android and Pixel phones. As soon as Google closes the hardware gap with Apple, the cellphone landscape will start shifting. Given the shortage of real AI knowledge and talent in Silicon Valley, it will be very hard (if not impossible) for Apple to close the software gap with Google.

3 months ago
Lusis100

impressive

3 months ago
princecody
princecody

Does Google outsource their phones to Samsung or HTC or something 🤔

3 months ago
Dheorl

AFAIK not any more. At points in the past it's been ASUS and HTC, now they do it themselves (well, as much as most phone companies do).

3 months ago
alexzn
alexzn

They outsource hardware, not software, and they collaborate on hardware.

3 months ago
Impulses

Uhh, I'm pretty sure the XL 2 is made by LG and the regular Pixel is still HTC... They (Google) have much more of a role in the design phase tho, if not outright the final call and/or calling the shots. Older Nexus devices went thru more of a bid/supervision process where the OEM ultimately drove the design and Google had a lesser role.

3 months ago
RED i

Look at the road/scape it looks like like it muddy with no detail vs the unstabalized video.

3 months ago*
Dheorl

Considering the level of stabilisation, I think that's a very acceptable tradeoff.

3 months ago
RED i

Yah just like Gaussian blur being passed off as bokeh lol

3 months ago
Dheorl

Well not really. This is a video that is likely to give some people motion sickness vs a video that lacks a little detail in a few fairly unimportant areas. I mean I suppose everyone has their own personal tradeoffs they're willing to accept.

3 months ago
Iightandaprayer
Iightandaprayer

I think my iPhone X takes video as well.

3 months ago
piratejabez

Wow, that is a bit more complicated than I imagined. Very impressive!

3 months ago*
noisephotographer

"the Pixel 2 is already performing very well in the DxOMark Mobile ranking"
And Dxomark Mobile performs very well in the irrelevance rating with an irrelevance score of 97. But who doesn't expect Dxo advertisement when Dxomark's "editor-in-chief" writes for dpreview?

3 months ago
NJOceanView

It's just stunning. There was a time you needed a $30,000 video camera to do this.

This has to have enormous applications for people on boats, especially for some close-up whale/dolphin watching activities. Thanks for the post.

3 months ago
Gmon750

Worldstar videos should finally be viewable now.

3 months ago
Michael Berg
Michael Berg

Yeah and any of the Bourne movies.

3 months ago
teddoman
teddoman

Pretty impressive, and electronic stabilization makes a lot of sense for cellphone video. Quality expectations for cell video are not particularly high, so you just want it to be watchable right out of camera.

3 months ago

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