Video stabilization is essential for long-range electro-optical systems, especially in situations when the field of view is narrow, since the system shake may produce highly deteriorating effects. It is important that the stabilization works for different camera types, i.e., different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum independently of the weather conditions and any form of image distortion. In this paper, we propose a method for real-time video stabilization that uses only gyroscope measurements, analyze its performance, and implement and validate it on a real-world professional electro-optical system developed at Vlatacom Institute. Camera movements are modeled with 3D rotations obtained by integration of MEMS gyroscope measurements. The 3D orientation estimation quality depends on the gyroscope characteristics; we provide a detailed discussion on the criteria for gyroscope selection in terms of the sensitivity, measurement noise, and drift stability. Furthermore, we propose a method for improving the unwanted motion estimation quality using interpolation in the quaternion domain. We also propose practical solutions for eliminating disturbances originating from gyro bias instability and noise. In order to evaluate the quality of our solution, we compared the performance of our implementation with two feature-based digital stabilization methods. The general advantage of the proposed methods is its drastically lower computational complexity; hence, it can be implemented for a low price independent of the used electro-optical sensor system.
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