One app story

For quite a long time I was sure that most of my University skills could hardly be used in my business. Just try to think of any use for military- KGB-ideology kind of stuff, taught for 5 years, mixed with development courses in rare devices. No, I didn’t think so either.

I like to think though, that the first part has helped me to deal with complex situations. Next to that, the ideological stuff put me in a lot of very funny situations and they say laugh extends one’s lifetime span, so… The surprise was that my knowledge of development of very specific devices became very helpful. Even better; that knowledge led to a new app creation.

As you might have already noticed, national security guys are very interested in technologies that deal with sounds. Soviets had this joke that even the walls had ears, and quite a big amount of scientist worked on those ear-improvements. I never did anything interesting in that area but studied sound very carefully during my time at university. For example, I studied how to hear the sounds you want and at the same time ignore noises, even from a huge distance. It’s a skill that’s only useful when you want to hear someone but go unnoticed at the same time, but guess what: recently I’ve been able to use the mathematics behind those techniques in real life for something much more positive!

Background noise is one of the primary reasons why mobile videos suck. Noisy videos are hard to watch, let alone hear. As developers of a mobile video editing app we’re always looking for a way to improve our user’s videos. The task to improve sound in mobile videos and remove background noises didn’t look very scientific at first. But almost immediately I got into fast Fourier transforms, frequency analysis, noise harmonics suppression, complex vector math. Oh man, it was almost like getting back to the University, but instead of doing math on a paper I had to use the most advanced techniques the iOS platform offers (i.e. the Accelerate framework and especially it’s digital signal processing part). After a couple of weeks of hard work and with some help of my colleagues I made an app to remove noises from video clips made with a mobile video camera. Interested to see how I did? You can try out the app here.

Finally, if you are going to shoot a Christmas greeting on your phone then Denoise might be the best $1 investment to make it better.

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