Microsoft's Latest Garage App Crafts Stories From Photos
The new app uses Microsoft Research's work in computational photography to automatically create shareable videos that tell a story.A new Windows Phone app from Microsoft Research and Garage, a rapid consumer app development group within the software giant, gathers and organizes photos, helping users create sharable visual stories. Dubbed simply Photo Story, the free app "automatically chooses the best representative photos of an event and organizes them into a themed video, complete with stylized music and editing, allow[ing] you to easily share via email or social media," wrote Microsoft content manager George Thomas, in a Next at Microsoft blog post. The software's aim is to help average users share life's moments without firing up an image or video editor. "The app, a Microsoft Garage Project, relies on machine learning and computer vision to auto-select the best representative photos, so there's no risk of including duplicates or low-quality photos," he continued. An accompanying YouTube video walks prospective users through the process of creating a "photo story." After users select a cover photo, the app uses computer vision technology to "pick the best additional photos taken around the same time," explained the video's narrator. Users then select a theme and soundtrack.
The app then generates a mobile-optimized video with polished transitions, which can be tweaked further by manually adding or removing photos and changing the title, theme and soundtrack. Users can also get the process started with Microsoft's virtual assistant, Cortana. By speaking the "Story from today" command, the app begins automatically selecting photos.