Picture yourself, if you will, at a baseball game ( or soccer, or basketball). Imagine that each player, from each team has a HD video camera following his every move throughout the entire game. A few seconds after the game is finished, 5 of the best frames from all the video feeds are send to to publications worldwide.

Just like that.

How is this possible you say ? It is not. At least not yet. But it is coming soon.

Researcher at the University of Washington are currently working on what could be called “machine based photo editing”

Using videos of people speaking at a camera, they can teach a computer to extract the best frames that would make perfect portraits.

How do they do it ? Simple. They first use real people to select the best faces in a feed. They then teach the computer the elements that make a good portrait, like a visible smile, an expression, open eyes, etc and that’s it. They compare the machine edit with the real people edit and see if they have a perfect match. when they do, they know that they no longer need humans.

This wouldn’t have to be limited to sports photography. The same could be done for movie premieres, press conferences, political rallies and so on. In the amateur field, this would be perfect to cover parties, weddings or any family/friends events. Imagine, you are filming and you camera could automatically pick the best images and post them to Facebook.

Harder would be coverages of wars or any brutally unexpected events.

The push for machine based editing is already happening. Microstock companies, for example, would be delighted to get rid of the thousands of free lance photo editors that comb through their millions of submissions and give it to a 24/7/365 machine that would never ask for a raise.

Most photo agencies would certainly also be  delighted. Since the advent of digital and with the continuous drop in prices of cards, they have seen the volume of images submitted to them increase dramatically. Being able to instruct a computer on how to pick the best frames would cut costs dramatically.

The possibility of quickly and reliably edit from a video feed will soon open up the doors to impeccable photo coverage without the need of ever using a photographer. When ? in the next 5 year. And you thought that declining space rate prices was a challenge.

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