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Microsoft releases wonderfully loopy experimental GIF-jiggler

Software detects motion and re-assembles vids into regions for 'temporal consistency'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Microsoft Research has released something rather interesting: a GIF-maker that analyses the patterns in a video and re-orders discrete sections of the frames to produce the best possible output.

Redmond has been showing off the software's capabilities for a few months now, with this paper and the video below describing its features in detail. The software's now emerged from the labs to Redmond's using the name this page.

Microsoft says the software uses a technique called "Automated video looping with progressive dynamism". That translates into analysis of a video to isolate the many moving elements it contains. That analysis includes detection of regions that are moving quickly or slowly. Once the analysis has been done, optimisation re-assembles those elements so that they move in a way Microsoft says results in a more natural five-second clip.

That can mean one pixel – but more likely a region of similarly-paced pixels - looping to its own rhythm independently of other loops in the same five-second video. That's a rather large departure from conventional animated GIFs, which uncritically cycle through however many frames they've been fed.

Microsoft says the result is more “temporal consistency” as regions of a video gain more natural start and finish points.

You may have trouble trying it out for yourself: a Windows 8 and XP machine Vulture South tried with the tool did not deem it a valid Windows executable, but the video below shows what's possible and how Microsoft boffin make it happen. ®

Watch Video

Bootnote: The headline alliterates if you pronounce GIF as its makers intended: with a soft J for jelly sound, not a hard G for golf.

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