Quick thoughts and test: New version of Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE) 1.4.3 (Updated 14/4/2011)

Posted on April 4, 2011

As any regular reader of my blog knows, I am quite a fan of Microsoft Image Composite Editor and regularly use it to create panoramas and photosynths, and have quite a few synths hosted on www.photosynth.net.

A couple of days ago (7th April) a new version was released, 1.4.3. Get it here. There is also a nice demo video there.

Back last year there was some pre-release information around this new release, the most exciting was that it could now take video input and use it to create the panoramas and synths. I have been looking forward to this release every since so was quite excited at the news.

The new features (as taken from the website) are :

  • Stitch directly from a video (only on Windows 7)
  • Automatic lens vignette removal
  • Improved blending engine
  • Options dialog to control memory usage and scratch disk locations

I don’t know why the video option is Windows 7 only, however my laptop runs Windows 7 so I was very keen to try out this new feature. With limited time I just took my blackberry, made a quick (1 minute) low resolution (around 2 Meg) video (.3gp format). (Update : It works on Windows 7 only as it makes use of some new video API that is present only from Windows 7 onwards).

I chose the composite video option in MS ICE, selected the file and it in, asked about clipping the frame, which I declined to do. MS Ice then analysed the video and selected 66 images which it then stitched together. It created a final image 2560 pixels x 426, covering 360 degrees horizontally and 56 degrees vertically, just 1.09 megapixels. This was a little disappointing since I had tried to get at least 90 degrees vertically and large sections of the video appeared missing (you can see part of the roof and not others). The room was a little dark and the blackberry camera isn’t great in low light conditions, I guess I temper my expectations until I try this out properly with the Canon EOS 550D or the Ixus 210. They at least do HD (and full HD) video.

The end result can be seen below. Very dark and more than likely not doing justice to the new features (my fault I’m sure). I hope to upload more examples soon, but in the meantime check out the first attempt.

Update :

Tonight I took a similar video clip using the Canon Ixus 210 in HD (720p). The result looked much better onscreen and MS ICE also did a much better job with the source footage. Many more images were picked from the video (110 selected, 109 stitched) covering 360′ horizontally and a much better 130′ vertically. This produced a final image 6144 pixels by 2165, giving 13 megapixels. The end result as uploaded to Photosynth is much more pleasing then the Blackberry version and gives a much more complete view of the room.

This video option is definitely one I will play around with a whole lot more. Next time out the Canon Eos 550D to do some full HD (1020P) video.

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Categories: Photography


One Response

  1. Minor update for Microsoft Image Composite Editor now 1.4.4 | j-j.co.za:

    [...] Info on release 1.4.3 and some tests of the awesome video panorama feature (click here) [...]

    09.06.2011 23:44 Reply

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