December 20, 2015
It has been a while since I last put up a post. It’s not that we haven’t been doing anything, but more due to my getting interested in all sorts of video and image processing software. The two primary programs are ffmpeg and ImageMagick. A third is Hugin which is mainly used for making panoramas from two or more photos. The first is mainly for video editing and manipulation and the latter for still images. Both are highly sophisticate and apparently ffmpeg is use by Google for processing videos uploaded to YouTube. I think that should sound impressive. So, how much does ffmpeg or ImageMagick or Hugin cost? Nothing. They are all completely free. I should mention that the first two are command line programs although some GUI (Graphical User Interface) frontends have been developed.
So what have I done with these programs? A fair amount with ffmpeg, and some with ImageMagick. One example is the first video below showing before and after processing. What I did was take a video from the barn deck. I handheld my phone. I tried to keep things steady but there always seems to be some jerkiness or shaking. ffmepg has the ability to stabilize videos up to a point. I did this, and then used another feature to resize the videos and put them next to each other. I trust you can tell which is which. The improvement toward the end where you see the truck is pretty dramatic. As to the video itself, this was our first real snow although it was mostly gone by the next day. So far El Niño seems to be keeping the East and Northeast milder than usual. We’ve been told that January and February are the truer winter months. In any case, I’m sure we’ll get plenty of snow before too long.
Video stabilization using ffmpeg.
Most of you are familiar with the “Ken Burns” effect. This is where a still photo is panned and zoomed to bring it to life. Ken Burns used this techniques extensively in his Civil War series. In my case I really just wanted to see if I could do it. I took a picture of two fishing boats. These boats belong to a man that lives further down Oak Point Road. He is a lobster fisherman and pulled the boats out of the water about two weeks ago.
I first the picture and made it bigger so that the panning would look smoother. I then wrote a script (a small program to handle the command line instructions over and over) that slowly zoomed in on the boats. I did a pretty simple version by keeping the bottom-right corner fixed. With the script and ImageMagick several hundred individual images were produced. I then used ffmpeg to assemble these into a video. A sound track could be added as well without too much effort. Another free program called Audacity can be used to edit sound files in various ways before adding them to the video. There are other free audio editors, but I haven’t tried them yet.
Lobster fishing boats waiting out winter.
My next post will show a couple of hikes we went on, and demonstrate that I am doing more than playing with my laptop. In the meantime, below is a picture of Cap in his new winter coat and our Christmas tree. It is a black spruce that we cut down on the property. There are so many trees that I really don’t think this one will be missed. Nonetheless, we thanked it for its sacrifice.