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You are on page 1of 6

**Intl. Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
**

Victoria, B.C., Ctlnada October 1998

**Fast Software Image Stabilization with Color Registration
**

Carlos Guestrin Fabio Cozman Eric Krotkov

{guest rin,fgcozman,epk} @cs.cmu.edu

Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

Abstract

**W e present the formulation and implementation of
**

an image stabilization system capable of stabilizing

video with very large displacements between frames.

A coarse-to-fine technique is applied in resolution and

in model spaces. The registration algorithm uses phase

correlation to obtain a n initial estimate f o r translation

between images; then Levenberg-Marquardt method for

non-linear optimization is applied to refine the solu-

tion. Registration is performed in color space, using

a subset of the pixels selected by a gradient-based sub-

sampling criteria. This software implementation runs

at 5Hz on non-dedicated hardware (Silicon Graphics Figure 1: Effect of camera motion on images. Top,

RI0000 workstaition). illustration of a camera moving in the world. Bottom,

resulting images from positions 1 and 2.

1 Introduction

to select the pixels to be used in the registration step.

Consider a camera moving in the world; for exam- This system was integrated with a visual position

ple, a person using a hand-held camera or a cam- estimator [3]. The position estimator was developed

era mounted on a car. The images obtained are of- for space robotics applications, where the video frame-

ten shaky, particularly when the camera moves fast, rate is low. Thus, the most important factor for the

When there is st significant amount of motion, it is image stabilization algorithm is to deal with large dis-

hard to keep track of objects in the video sequence. placement between frames, a high frame-rate is not

Getting disoriented is easy when the camera moves fundamental. In applications such as stabilizing a

quickly. When comparing two consecutive frames of a home video, on the other hand, a high frame-rate is

video sequence, t<hecamera motion causes a motion of fundamental, but displacements between frames tend

the contents. Figure 1 illustrates this effect. The goal to be of a smaller magnitude.

of image stabilization is to estimate and compensate

for this motion.

In this paper, we present a system capable of sta- 2 Related Work

bilizing video with very large displacements between

frames. This system is applied to feature tracking and There has been extensive work on image stabiliza-

to generate stable overlays on the video. tion, [a, 5, 7, 91 are some examples available in the lit-

This paper contributes with formulation and results erature. Most of these, including our system, use the

of the fastest software-only implementation of image same general framework for image stabilization: the

stabilization. The system presented here is capable motion between consecutive frames of the video se-

of stabilizing video at 5Hz on non-dedicated hardware quence is estimated (except for [2]) and compensated

(Silicon Graphics RlOOOO workstation). This is also for. The main differences are in the motion estima-

the only published work to use color information in the tion algorithm used, the type of motion compensation

image stabilization and apply a gradient-based criteria applied, the hardware and the final goal application.

0-7803-4465-0/918 $10.00 0 1998 IEEE 19

Authorized licensed use limited to: BIBLIOTECA D'AREA SCIENTIFICO TECNOLOGICA ROMA 3. Downloaded on October 8, 2009 at 04:16 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.

Morimoto and Chellappa developed a system that

performs motion estimation by tracking a set of fea- Therefore, the phases (@) are different by a linear

term in a , magnitude is invariant to translation:

ture points [9]. The system of Hansen et al. fits a

global motion model to the optical flow [5]. These @tg(t)l- @tJ(t)l= --aw .

implementations achieved higher frame-rates (between

10 and 28Hz) using specialized hardware. These ap- The desired translation can be obtained by calcu-

proaches use tracking or flow to stabilize video. Our lating the inverse Fourier transform of F [ d ( t ) ]where:

,

approach stabilizes the video by directly estimating W(t)l = Qtg(t)l - @![f(t)l= --a" I llW(~)lIl

=1 .

a global transformation by applying an image regis-

tration algorithm, This result could then be used for The inverse is a delta function translated by a:

tracking or flow estimation. We believe our approach

is less prone to local effects. Our approach achieves F[d(t)]= e-aW' + d(t) = 6(t - a) .

a lower frame-rate, but does not use specialized hard-

ware. The performance of other approaches will prob- Therefore, d ( t ) will have value zero everywhere ex-

ably be up to one or two orders of magnitude lower cept at a, which is the desired translation.

if used on non-dedicated hardware, while our system This same reasoning can be extended to continuous

would have performance comparable to existing sys- 2-D functions. Consider, g(x,y) = f(x - a , y - b ) , in

tems if implemented on dedicated hardware. this case, the function d ( z , y) is defined by:

Irani et al. formulate a method for determining 3D Qtd(%Y)l = @h[g(~IY)I - @[f(zc,y)l= -(awl + bw2) >

**ego-motion from the 2D motion obtained from sta- 11~[4s,Y)lll = 1 .
**

bilization [7]. Burt and Anandan demonstrate regis- Therefore:

tration of a frame in the video sequence to a mosaic, d ( ~ , y=

) 6 ( -~ a , y - b) .

rather than to the previous frame [2].

The registration algorithm presented in this paper An analogous methodology can be used to deter-

is also applicable to mosaicing. A similar methodol- mine the translation between discrete 2D functions,

ogy was formulated and used for image mosaicing by for example images. In the case of images and other

Szeliski [12]. Work on image registration is extensive, sensor data, it is usually the case that g is not a per-

Brown presents a survey of this field [l]. fect translated copy of f . In this case, the matching

function d(x,y) will not have a single non-zero value.

The estimate for the translation is obtained by deter-

3 Registration Algorithms mining the maximum value of d( 2 ,y) .

An estimation of translation could also be obtained

In our system, image registration is used to esti-

using an iterative method. These methods yield lo-

mate canera motion between consecutive frames of

cal estimates, thus, are prone to fall into local min-

the video sequence. The effects of camera motion

ima. This effect is accentuated when displacements

in the sequence are modeled by the camera motion

are large. The advantage of this method over iter-

model. In the literature, there are many models for

ative optimization methods is that the estimate ob-

camera motion [7, 9, 121. The most common models

tained with the phase correlation method is global,

are: translation, rigid, affine and projective [4]. thus, overcoming the limitation of local methods. The

In this Section, we present two methods used in

phase correlation algorithm is capable of dealing with

our image stabilization system: phase correlation and

translations of up to 50% of the image size.

minimization of image difference.

3.1 Phase Correlation 3.2 Minimising Image Difference

**The registration problem can also be modelled as
**

An estimate of image translation can be obtained the minimization of the intensity difference between

by using the phase difference of the Fourier transform. the images [12]. It is common to formulate the error

This algorithm was proposed by Kuglin and Hines [SI. function as the sum of the square intensity difference:

We will introduce this algorithm by analyzin the

continuous one dimensional case. Given f(t) ancfg(t) E 2 = C [ I t + i ( ~ l ~ ) - ~ ~ ( ~ , ~ ) ] 2 ;( w

U , hW e) =r ~e[ ( ~ , Y ) ] . (1)

such that g ( t ) = f ( t -.a), that is, g is a translated ",Y

version of f, their Fourier transforms are different by

an exponential term on the translation, a: 7 maps the coordinate system of image t to that

F[g(t)]= e-""JF[J(t)]. oft + 1. This transformation is usually a parametric

20

Authorized licensed use limited to: BIBLIOTECA D'AREA SCIENTIFICO TECNOLOGICA ROMA 3. Downloaded on October 8, 2009 at 04:16 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.

model of the effect on the images of the camera mo- 0 smoothed camera motion: the high-frequency

tion. Thus, the problem can be defined as finding the component of the camera motion is removed,

values of the parameters of 7 that minimize E’. eliminating “jittering” in the video, and is used to

An iterative numerical optimization method is used stabilize the overlays. The low-frequency compo-

to minimize E2 [la]. These methods are prone to fall nent of the camera motion, such as that caused by

into local minima, instead of the desired global min- a rover turning, should not be altered. A possible

ima. To circumvent this problem, the method can approach is to remove the low-frequency compo-

be performed in a coarse-to-fine fashion, for example, nent from the motion compensation. [4]

using a Gaussian image pyramid [ll]. Another in-

teresting technique is to also perform a coarse-to-fine

approach on model space. [6]. 5 Feature Tracking

3.3 Optimizing in Color Space

Feature tracking is used in many computer vision

When using grayscale images, a blue sky could be applications. The motion of the camera and of objects

incorrectly registered to a brown mountain, if they in the scene are the main causes of feature motion.

have similar intensities. This kind of mismatch is very Image stabilization can be used estimate the camera

disturbing to us, as viewers and users of the registered motion component.

images, because a blue sky and a brown mountain are In most tracking approaches, a window (or tem-

very different; they don’t even have the same color! plate) around the desired feature is matched using a

We have worked on the hypothesis that color gives a local search algorithm. These methods are affected

strong cue to the registration process, the cue neces- by local effects (local minima), such as textureless re-

sary to minimize this kind of mismatch. Therefore, it gions and local repetitive patterns. A coarse-to-fine

was incorporated in the formulation of the algorithm. approach is usually applied to minimize this problem,

Consider an ima, e divided into three bands, red but it will not solve it completely.

(R), green (G) and %lue(a).This formulation incor- For applications in which camera motion is the

porates color information into the error function: main source of motion in the video sequence, our ap-

E’ K ~ x [ R t + i ( u , v -Rt(z,y)I2

) + proach is able to estimate this motion. Therefore, it

“,Y is possible to use image stabilization to track features.

K ~ x [ G t + i ( u , v-) Gt(z3y)I2 + This is achieved by applying the transformation [T]to

”,Y

the original position of the feature, thus, obtaining a

new estimate of feature location. [4]

K I 3 C [ B t t 1 ( u , v ) - Bt(Z,Y)I2 i (2) The advantage of using a global method is that it

X?Y

is not affected by local effects. This allows us, for ex-

where (u,v) = 7[(z,y)] . ample, to track a region with no texture. However,

The constants K R ,KG and K B are weights for each the motion of the feature may not be perfectly esti-

component. Again, the problem is defined as finding mated with a global motion model. In this case, image

the values of the parameters of 7 that minimize E2. stabilization can be used to obtain an initial estimate

of feature motion. This estimate can then be refined

using a local method.

4 Motion Compensation

In this Section, wle present an overview of some mo-

tion compensation techniques. [4] 6 Implementation and Results

0 overlays on raw video: an application of this We implemented an image stabilization system us-

work is creating stable graphical overlays on video ing the formulation presented previously. This sys-

so that they appear to “stick” to world features tem was integrated into a Visual Position Estimator

as the camera moves. For example, buildings can designed to aid operators of teleoperated rovers [3].

be labeled in art aerial sequence, or the goal of a This system was able to stabilize a live video stream

teleoperated rover could be indicated. at 5Hz, using a software-only implementation on a Sil-

0 rigid frame: the motion estimate is used to warp icon Graphics RlOOOO workstation. This frame-rate is

all frames to a reference frame. The viewer feels adequate for a space robotics application, such as that

that camera motion has been removed. of the visual position estimation system.

21

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The image stabilization system implemented is able

to stabilize video with large displacements between

frames, up to 50% of the image size. This is essential

when the frame-rate is low.

Video clips and illustrations are available:

http://www.cs. emu. edu/-guestrin/ImageStabilization/

6.1 Overview

**The outline of the system implement is represented
**

below, for each frame, these steps were followed:

1. Registration: the parameters of the transfor-

mation 7 are determined in two steps: Figure 2: The top two frames were selected from a

video sequence. The bottom image is the square of

0 phase correlation: first estimate of trans- the difference between the two.

lation between images;

0 minimization of SSD: using Levenberg-

Marquardt method in a coarse-to-fine ap-

proach on the model and on the image space.

**2. Motion Compensation: stable overlays are
**

created; one of these techniques of motion com-

pensation is applied:

**0 overlays on raw video;
**

0 rigid frame;

0 smoothed camera motion.

**3. Feature Tracking: if desired, a local tracking
**

can be performed around the position of the over-

lays to minimize the drift. The transformation is Figure 3: The top two frames were extracted from a

also used to pre-warp the tracking template. stabilized sequence. The bottom image is the square

of the difference between the two.

6.2 Registration

**Figures 2 and 3 illustrate the quality of a typical
**

is a tradeoff between increased performance and ac-

result of the algorithm. On inspection of the difference

curacy. Through experimentation, we found that, for

images, notice that the difference in the overlapping this application, subsampling the images eight times

region of the stabilized €rames is much smaller than offered the best performance to accuracy ratio.

the difference in the original frames.

The input to our image stabilization system is a live Applying the phase correlation algorithm in this

320x240 pixels video stream. Since the Fast Fourier manner yielded a good estimate for the translation

Transform (FFT) requires a window size of 2" pixels, between images. This estimate was generally within 5

our algorithm used a 256x128 window. to 10% of the result obtained with the minimization of

image difference using the translation motion model.

Subsampling the image eight times decreased the time

6.2.1 Phase Correlation

to apply the phase correlation algorithm to only about

Performing FFT on a large image can be computation- 3% of the total computation time of the image stabi-

ally expensive. To increase performance, the images lization system. As expected theoretically, the phase

may be subsampled before applying the phase corre- correlation method was able to detect translations of

lation algorithm. Subsampling, however, will have an up to 50% of the image size (in this implementation,

effect on the accuracy of the algorithm. Thus, there up to 128 pixels horizontally and 64 vertically).

22

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6.2.2 Minimizing Image Difference intensity variation in the images only make E2 nu-

merically larger. The gradient information, however,

To perform this minimization, the Levenberg- is necessary to determine how to converge to a solu-

Marquardt method for non-linear optimization was tion. Therefore, gradient-based subsampling will de-

chosen [lo]. Using this iterative optimization method, crease the amount of data used in the optimization,

sub-pixel accuracy can be achieved. but maintain a large part of the information needed

In our implementation, optimization is carried out for convergence.

in a coarse-to-fine alpproach in image space, using a

In our implementation, we only consider a band of

Gaussian pyramid. A coarse-to-fine approach is also

a pixel (each pixel is composed of three bands) if its

applied in model space, starting with a simpler model

and using the result as the initial estimate for the next, gradient is above a threshold. This threshold is dy-

more detailed, model. In many cases, the largest mo- namically determined. First, the percentage of the

tion component in video sequences is caused by trans- pixels that will be used in the computation is defined.

lation. It is common to see the camera panning, but Then, the threshold gradient value that binds that

not rotating about its optical axis. For this reason, percentage of the pixels is determined. In our imple-

we first estimate translation between images and then mentation, the threshold value is determined by, first,

estimate other motion models, such as the rigid model sorting the gradient pixels. The desired threshold is

(rotation+translation) used in our system. the pixel with index npixelJ* loo-binding percentage 100

in the sorted vector. For our application, we found

Registration in Color Space that using 8% of the pixels yielded the best perfor-

We chose to weigh each band equally. Therefore, mance to accuracy ratio.

the constant K R , KG and KB in equation ( 2 ) were

set to one. The weights for each band could be tuned

through experiment ation or with a physical analysis 6.3 Motion Compensation

of the application.

Although, at first the color formulation seems Figures 4 and 5 illustrate the results of image sta-

two times more computationally expensive than the bilization on a video sequence. The position of the

grayscale one, in practice this was not the case. The flag was estimated using the global motion estimation

formulation color folrmulation was only 20% slower, calculated by the registration algorithm. Experiments

because the optimiization converged in fewer itera- were also performed in smoothing camera motion and

tions. motion coding, obtaining successful results (see [4]).

Robustness, on the other hand, increased dramati-

cally with the use of color information. For many test During our tests, we compared the visual result of

sequences, visually noticeable mismatches were much smoothed camera motion to that of just using the raw

more frequent with the grayscale formulation than video. We found that, for low frame-rates, the im-

with color. This algorithm was also applied to image provement is minimal. It seems that in the low frame-

mosaicing. A large number of sequences were tested rate case the high-frequency motion we would like to

and the number of visually noticeable mismatches de- remove has not been captured due to the lower ac-

creased by about 50%. quisition frequency. Therefore, smoothing the camera

motion is only necessary when the frame-rate is high.

Gradient-based Subsampling

In order to increase performance, we optimize on a 6.4 Feature Tracking

subset of the image pixels. If we chose the pixels in this

subset randomly or in using a regular pattern, we may

lose important features that help the algorithm con- A feature tracker, using the global motion estima-

verge to a correct solution. Therefore, we would like tion as an initial estimate for feature motion, was im-

to select a subset of the image pixels using a criteria plemented as described in Section 5. First, the global

that maintains a large proportion of the information. motion calculated in the stabilization step presented

Thus, a gradient-based subsampling was performed. previously is used to estimate the position of the fea-

The image gradient information is used to deter- ture in the current frame. Then, a local tracking algo-

mine the partial derivatives and the Hessian of the rithm is applied to refine this estimate. [4] Using this

error function E 2 with respect to the model param- feature tracking improved, visually, the accuracy of

eters. Intuitively, we can think that regions of low the positioning of overlays over long video sequences.

23

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Figure 4: The rigid frame technique of motion con; )ensation is applied to stabilize a video sequence.

I II I

Figure 5 : The motion compensation technique overlays on raw video is applied to stabilize the flag.

**7 Conclusion prove the local tracker, possibly merging templates,
**

instead of acquiring new Ones on every frame.

In this paper, we have presented the formulation

and implementation of an image stabilization system.

The formulation was applied to feature tracking and References

creation of stable graphical overlays. A software-only

[l] L. Brown. A survey of image registration techniques. ACM

implementation stabilizes a live video stream at 5Hz.

Computang Surveys, 24(4):325-376, December 1992.

The image registration algorithm used phase corre- [ Z ] P. Burt and P. Anandan. Image stabilization by registra-

lation to obtain an initial estimate for translation be- tion t o a reference mosaic. DARPA Image Understanding

tween images. The Levenberg-Marquardt method was Workshop, november 1994.

then used to minimize the image difference in a second [3] F. Cozman and E. Krotkov. Automatic mountain detection

step. This minimization was performed in color space and pose estimation for teleoperation of lunar rovers. Int.

Conference on Robotics and Automation, 1997.

on a subset of image pixels selected using a gradient-

[4] C. Guestrin, F. Cozman, and E. Krotkov. Image stabi-

based subsampling criteria. The system is able to deal lization for feature tracking and generation of stable video

with large displacements between the images (up to overlays. Technical Report CMU-RI-TR-97-42, Robotics

128 pixels in the current implementation). Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, November 1997.

The phase correlation method yields a global mea- [5] M. Hansen, P. Anandan, K. Dana, G. Van der Wal, and

sure that helps overcome the limitations of algorithms P. Burt. Real-time scene atabilization and mosaic construc-

tion. DARPA Image Understanding Workshop, November

that tend to fall into local minima. The translation 1994.

estimate was robust and also fast, using only 3% of [6] M. Irani, B. Rousso, and S. Peleg. Computing occluding

the total time and being within 5 to 10% of the result and transparent motions. International Journal of Com-

of the iterative method. puter Visaon, 12(1):5-16, January 94.

Using color in the registration process improved the [7] M. Irani, B. Rousso, and S. Peleg. Recovery of ego-motion

robustness of the algorithm in the order 50%. Regis- using image stabilization. In International Conjerence on

Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, pages 454-460,

tration in color space was 20% slower than grayscale. March 94.

It would be useful to address questions such as when [SI C. Kuglin and D. Hines. The phase correlation image align-

and why the algorithm fails. A challenging issue is to ment method. IEEE Conference on Cybernetics and Soci-

formulate and test physically founded ideas to tune ety, September 1975.

the weights of each band in the color registration pro- [9] C. H. Morimoto and R. Chellappa. Automatic digital im-

cess. age stabilization. IEEE International Conference o n Pat-

tern Recognition, August 1996.

Usual subsampling techniques will often affect ro-

[lo] W. Press, W. Vetterling, and S. Teukolsky snd B. Flannery.

bustness. In our experiments, using gradient-based Numerical Recipes in C. Cambridge Press, 1992.

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pare the results of the approach presented here with Technical Report CRL 94/2, Digital Equipment Corpora-

tion, Cambridge Research Lab, May 1994.

those of other methods. It is also important to im-

24

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