Saturday, February 14, 2015

SOFTWARE | See-in-the-dark Photo Booth effect filter

My new, see-in-the-dark Photo Booth effect filter is now available for download from MediaFire; with it, you can use your iSight camera in the dark, and—provided your screen is facing the same direction as the iSight camera—the recorded video will look as if there was light:

A moderate example of the filter, showing the filtered video on the left, the original on the right

Amazingly, this picture was taken in the dark using the usually inferior 2-megapixels iSight camera (2014 MacBook Air) with the equally inferior Photo Booth app
Equally amazing is that, under the same testing conditions, the usually superior 5-megapixels iPhone 5s camera failed miserably by comparison
This is not just a brightness and/or contrast tweak. The filter is specifically designed to work under any lighting conditions: indoors and out. Not only that, but it readily compensates for sudden changes. For example, when walking from a lit room to a dark room, you won't see any glare or wash-out in the video.
Notice the detail restored in the mirror's reflection in the filtered version of this video (right) versus the original (left)
While that may sound pretty advanced, it's all just simple color space theory programmatically applied to video processing. Knowing just a few key facts enables automatic and near-perfect adjustments to be made based on the image as it is acquired (in other words, the video input is adjusted per a set of instructions that take input from the actual video input, requiring no user interaction and no extra set of instructions for each environment in which the camera might be used). And, those adjustments are always non-destructive, meaning that, no matter where you point the camera, the video will always look like its supposed to.
The new filter excels in mixed lighting environments; notice the balance between the dark room and the light room in the filtered version (left) as compared to the sharp contrast of the original (right)

Like the first video filter released a few days ago [see SOFTWARE | New chroma-tracking video filter available for Photo Booth], this is a Photo Booth effect created in Quartz Composer:

Like the first video filter released a few days ago, this Photo Booth effect is a Quartz Composition that will also process existing video that was shot in the dark 
Not only will it render live video in real-time, but will process your existing videos just as fast. Just open the file in Quartz Composer, and drop your too-dark-to-view videos on the composition for instant results.
For a first release, the new filter does well in fast-motion video; still, future releases will combine frames to create a more fluid playback and a richer overall image; the purpose, for now, is to see what you couldn't otherwise see before
Also like the first released video filter, the see-in-the-dark filter displays images on-screen differently than it renders them in the final output. In Photo Booth, the image in the preview window looks very grainy and washed out, as shown below:
In Photo Booth, the filter renders a somewhat undesirable image in the preview window...
 However, the same image, when output to a photo or video looks fine, also shown below:

...but, when you take a photo (or video), the image turns out as expected
As always, contact me with any questions, concerns or comments; and, look for updates to this filter in the very near future, which will feature sharper edges (via Sobel edge detection) and more realistic and smoother transitions between light and dark areas (via luminosity masking by region).
Another sample of old video processed by today's newly released video filter