Instagram recently launched a new Hyperlapse app, a new app to capture high-quality time lapse videos even while in motion. Just 18 months ago, hyperlapse was so obscure the term didn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. Then, little more than one year after someone created the wiki, the new Hyperlapse app racked up over 119k posts in its first week, and that's just the Instagram posts that were tagged with #hyperlapse.

Traditionally, time lapse videos depend on holding your phone or camera still while you film. The Instagram blog tells us that their Hyperlapse app "features built-in stabilization technology that lets you create moving, handheld time lapses that result in a cinematic look, quality and feel—a feat that has previously only been possible with expensive equipment". You can see in the video below that the stabilization is extremely effective, and Wired suggest that Hyperlapse is like holding a $15,000 video setup in your hand.



It is the stabilization technology which we find very interesting, and Alex Karpenko was good enough to give us a run down of the stabilization algorithm and the engineering challenges they encountered while trying to distill the complex process of moving time lapse photography into a simple and interactive user interface. 

Video stabilization is instrumental in capturing beautiful fluid videos. In the movie industry, this is achieved by having the camera operator wear a harness that separates the motion of the camera from the motion of the operator’s body. Since we can’t expect Instagrammers to wear a body harness to capture the world’s moments, we instead developed Cinema, which uses the phone’s built-in gyroscope to measure and remove unwanted hand shake.