Sun position estimation and tracking for virtual object placement in time-lapse videos

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Realistic illumination of virtual objects placed in real videos is important in terms of achieving visual coherence. We propose a novel approach for illumination estimation on time-lapse videos and seamlessly insert virtual objects in these videos in a visually consistent way. The proposed approach works for both outdoor and indoor environments where the main light source is the Sun. We first modify an existing illumination estimation method that aims to obtain sparse radiance map of the environment in order to estimate the initial Sun position. We then track the hard ground shadows on the time-lapse video by using an energy-based pixel-wise method. The proposed method aims to track the shadows by utilizing the energy values of the pixels that forms them. We tested the method on various time-lapse videos recorded in outdoor and indoor environments and obtained successful results.

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This research is supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) under Grant No. 112E110. The first author is supported by TÜBİTAK under BİDEB 2210 Graduate Scholarship. We gratefully acknowledge Gordon Bates, Matthew Davies and Tom Gazda for permitting us to use their videos.

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Correspondence to Uğur Güdükbay.

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Balcı, H., Güdükbay, U. Sun position estimation and tracking for virtual object placement in time-lapse videos. SIViP 11, 817–824 (2017).

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  • Sun position estimation
  • Light source estimation
  • Illumination estimation
  • Time-lapse video
  • Shadow tracking
  • Image/video editing