New Software Allows Smartphones Users to Remove Unwanted People from Video

Take People Out of the Background


In a truly remarkable display of ingenuity, a company called Scalado, based in Sweden, has developed software that when added to a Smartphone, allows the user to simply tap on unwanted portions of a video to remove them. Though the product is not currently available, The Verge reports that it will be demonstrated live at next month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The idea is not meant to be offered as a downloadable app, but more as an integrated part of a Smartphone. The Scalado site says that the company plans to license the technology to Smartphone makers who will then offer the Remove feature as part of the phone’s normal feature set. The reason it won’t be offered as an app, is because the software needed to perform the vanishing act is far too complicated to be written in the simple languages that are use to write regular downloadable apps. But, as those that watch a video demo, the feature will almost certainly be in demand.

There are some caveats regarding the product, though not enough to detract from its wow factor. First, it only works with video, and only with objects that are moving. Also, the camera has to remain still while the video is being captured, and focused on the subject that is to remain after the others are removed. Once those requirements are met, objects (or people) can be removed from the video one at a time by simply tapping the video screen over where they appear. This can be done one by one till all of the unwanted objects, such as cars or dogs walking by, are removed, leaving just the subject, apparently alone after being filmed in a crowd.

According to The Verge, the trickery works by having the camera assess each image as a still, then comparing it with those that came before and after. Thus, if a still image shows an empty driveway before and after a car drives by, the software need only replace the ones with the car in it with one of the before or after captures. In many respects, it’s very similar to an earlier product made by the same company that allows for creating optimum group photos. With that technology, the person with the camera takes several pictures of a group of people, then the software allows the user to move through them all picking the face shots that show up the best in each. The software then uses those to build a final optimum group photo.

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