I came across this today which is really quite incredible. It is made by Patryk Kizny of DitoGear who create timelapse sliders with inspiration from Greg Downing at XREZ Studio (they developed the interactive GigaPixel panoramas).
From a static timelapse shot a virtual camera movement can be created, which means the camera can move on a virtual path and the timelapse footage is used to texture a 3D model of the scene.
The technique is called camera projection.
To maintain the perspective and give a realistic sense of movement (not just a 2D pan and scan) some 3D geometry is created in post that matches the shot. As you can see in the video, the countours and sweeps of the mountains in the shot are recreated in 3D so that when the virtual camera moves through the 3D scene, the photography itself can be projected onto it giving the virtual scene a photo realistic texture.
The movement of the virtual camera POV is very convincing as it moves sideways off the side of a mountain high up – a shot that would have been very expensive to achieve in the real world.
Here’s the final shot:
All the movement is recreated in post with the 3D geometry. The animation of the timelapse (skidding clouds, flare, etc.) all comes from the static shot. You get a bit of texture warping at the corners but it looks pretty good.
The technique doesn’t have to be used only with timelapse footage, or so I believe. Though the extra resolution of a 22MP still from the 5D Mark II certainly helps since textures are stretched digitally in post to fit the 3D geometry. I’m not sure how it would look with 1080p footage. I will ask Patryk and find out.
Update: another example of XREZ’s work on virtual camera timelapses