Faking a photograph is one thing, but manipulating video has been a practice more suited to reclusive regimes and dastardly government agencies... until now.

A research project from Washington University has taken the concept of improving badly shot video and touching it up one step closer to reality in what amounts to Photoshop for moving images.

Reduced effort

As an alternative to manually altering each video frame, the new technology works by takes a reference from a handful of still shots of the same scene and extrapolating that onto the moving images.

The key here is that still shots are generally better exposed and of a far higher resolution than anything shot on a conventional video camera.

Touched up

Some clever programming results in the software applying the qualities of the still shots to the video, which should come out looking just as good as the snaps.

With scope to also remove elements from videos, the potential for the eight-strong team's project is immense, with everyone from Hollywood to Kim Jong-il likely to be lining up for a slice of rewriting history the way they always wanted it to be.