Software that can automatically cut the boring out of your videos

Computer scientists from Carnegie Mellon University have created an algorithm that they say can automatically cut out the boring parts of a video. Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science

No one wants to watch a boring video.

Luckily, computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have created a program that promises to cut the "boring" out automatically.

Called LiveLight, the algorithm was the brainchild of Eric P. Xing, professor of machine learning, and Bin Zhao, a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon. Their project has won support from Google, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, among others.

Zhao said the idea emerged when Xing was trying to find shareable parts of videos of his son.

Instead of sitting through tedious minutes or hours of footage, the computer algorithm "can pinpoint what is interesting in the video," Zhao told CBS News. It skips over the parts with little action and produces a trailer of the video's best moments.

For example, if you shoot a 2 to 5 minute video on your smartphone, LiveLight can boil it down to 20 to 30 seconds of the major highlights.

The program does it in one pass through the video, and the trailer is created in "quasi-real-time." "It never looks back," Zhao said.

The technology could also be a big time-saver for professional and home video editors. It produces a ranked list of sequences that the editor could consider for the final cut.

"We see this as potentially the ultimate unmanned tool for unlocking video data," Xing said in news release.

Zhao said they started working on the concept in 2011 and it took until last year to get the algorithm to run close to real time. Another challenge was getting LiveLight to "process high definition video and not sacrifice accuracy."

Currently, Zhao said they are working on an app for iPhones, Google Glass and an API release. They've started a company called PanOptus, Inc., based in Pittsburgh, Pa., and are currently seeking funding.

  • Leezel Tanglao

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