Last autumn, Microsoft shared an extremely intriguing research demo for Hyperlapse, which could smooth out time-lapse videos to an incredible degree. And then Instagram released an app of the same name and similar functionality two weeks later. Whoops.
But Microsoft isn't shrugging off its cool tech, nor is it ditching the name. Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile launched yesterday for Windows Phone and in beta for Android, plus there's a preview version of Hyperlapse Pro available for Windows PC. In other words, it's for the platforms that Instagram's Hyperlapse isn't on.
Both are built on research into computation photography, but really, you need only see a video to understand how it works. Microsoft Hyperlapse not only lets you condense a lengthy video into a shorter, speedier clip, but also uses a software algorithm to dramatically stabilise the footage. So your bumpy jogging trip could seem as smooth as butter once run through the app.
The Pro version is primarily designed for footage shot from GoPros and other action cameras, and has additional replication features. It's available for free, but it's a preview and has no official support, so you might have to fend for yourself if something doesn't make sense.
Confused about the differences between Hyperlapse apps? Microsoft has already addressed it with a very technical explanation. In short, Microsoft's app renders the world you shoot in 3D and creates a smooth virtual camera to run through it. It sounds extremely complicated, yet the app seems totally simple and straightforward in use.
The Windows Phone app is freely available to download, although not every Windows Phone 8.1 device supports it. For Android, on the other hand, you'll have to join this Google+ group and then wait for the Google Play link to work. Will Instagram Hyperlapse users become converts? We're interested to find out.