Restoration for dummies

Many people would like to start a fan restoration project – some have good ideas, I must admit – but almost no one has patience, time and skill to do one in person; they keep asking someone else to do it for them.

So, it’s time to reveal an hidden truth, feared by all of us, fan restoration project makers… the truth is…

EVERYONE COULD MAKE A RESTORATION WITHOUT EXPERIENCE!

you just need few things – no computer, fancy software, 4k monitors, steep learning curves… Continue reading

How to improve video capture quality

Apart the obvious things (better source media and player, better cables etc.) I’d like to explore some different approaches:

average/median multiple capture (using the same media/player)

I tried several times, and it works really well – it delete noise and dropouts NOT present in the media/player

average/median multiple capture (using different media/player)

usually it delete noise and dropouts ALSO if present in the media/player

hardware TBC

it improves the quality of tape based media – like VHS or Video8

hardware Comb Filter

it improves the quality of composite based media – like VHS or Laserdisc

phase-inversion trick

it deletes completely any dot crawl in theory – never found the working way in real life, though… anyone who is aware of how to make it work, please post the info here, thanks!

component4all

found here – it seems it works well (apart the change in color)… further investigations and tests are needed!

Why MPEG2 is not as bad as you may think…

Many thinks that MPEG2 is necessarily a bad codec to use, in particular for HD video – because is old, and there are more sophisticated new video codecs around; well, even if AVC (and VC-1, too) is better – a lot, indeed – this “ancient” codec is quite good.

With this, I don’t encourage anyone to compress video using MPEG2 instead AVC, at the contrary; but, when you encounter an MPEG2 hi-def source – like HDTV or D-VHS – please don’t discard it immediately!

Continue reading

Blu-ray with *different* color grading

.or, the “Teal & Orange” syndrome has infected more directors than we could think of! (^^,)

(link to a couple blog entries – Into the AbyssNot on Blu-Ray)

Many are aware there are some Blu-ray titles that have altered colors in comparison to DVD (or other sources), but which ones are affected?

If you think/feel/suspect that a given BD titles has the wrong color writing, what are the options? Continue reading

Restoration tips: Overlap matching

OVERLAP MATCHING

What is the Overlap matching?

When two images of different sizes are used to improve the final result.

Could you be more specific?

Usually this is used when two different versions of the same movie are available at different aspect ratios.

Let’s say you want to restore a movie that is not available in high definition, and you want to upscale a DVD or a laserdisc capture. If you are lucky, an anamorphic DVD is available, so a theoretical 720×576 (PAL) or 720×480 (NTSC) max resolution could be achievable. But, if the original aspect ratio of the movie is 2.35:1, then you have only 720×432 (PAL) or 720×360 (NTSC). Well, enough resolution left to do a decent upscale. However, if the DVD is not anamorphically enhanced, actual resolution drops to 720×324 (PAL) or 720×252 (NTSC).

But what if the only (or the best) available low definition sources are analog? In this case, a 2.35:1 original resolution in laserdisc could be at maximum 576×324 (PAL) or 576×262 (NTSC), while VHS could be 328×324 (PAL) or 328×262 (NTSC)… pretty poor…

So, how it’s possible to improve the quality of such low resolution sources? Continue reading

Restoration tips: the Slice Technique™

Restoration tips: the “Slice technique”

THE SLICE TECHNIQUE™

What’s about this so-called “Slice Technique™”?

In few words: achieve the widest (highest) image possible adding a “slice” of another video clip.

Be more specific…

Well, sometimes there are two editions of the same movie, where one has more image on one side, while less on the other side, and vice versa. So I thought to use the missing “slice” of one joined together with all the other, to obtain the widest image possible. Indeed, it could be only (e.g.) 3% wider than any each version, but I much prefer a 100% wide image Vs a “mere” 97%… (^^,)

Of course, it’s quite difficult – sometimes impossible – to use this technique with every movie, because what must be taken in account are the dimensions (eventual image rotation, width and heigth of sources and chosen slice, eventual resizing and cropping, exact point of matching), colors (both versions should have the same color grading, or one should color match the other), video quality (grain, resolution/definition, different compression used in the sources, frame whobbling in a version not present in the other – in particular at the beginning and ending of a shot), etc.

In these examples, I used a vertical slice and two sources, Continue reading

AviSynth and VirtualDub – speed improvement

Recently my old video card die… it is (was) a GeForce GTL 7600 (a custom made version by Sony, the same specs of a GT 7600, but a bit slower and with a very good pipe cooling system). It was the default video card in my Sony HTPC PC – a VGX-XL202 – and I never thought to replace it because, even if it was slow and old and with only 256MB, it was capable to play Blu-ray without stuttering (with some codecs and setting tweaks) and because AviSynth and VirtualDub use only CPU for their processing…

Or, at least, it was what I thought!

Just today I replaced it with a brand new Sapphire (AMD) Radeon HD 5450; a low profile 1GB DDR3 “honest” video card. I chose to buy this because I need a video card ASAP, it’s cheap and, as I have other two PCs, I’ll buy a better one later when I’ll upgrade another CPU.

Well, as I was working onto one of my project the day the card died, I promptly re-run the conversion, and I noted one thing: conversion speed is improved, A LOT! Now it runs at about double speed!

So, it seems that AviSynth and/or VirtualDub DO USE GPU power too, or the old GPU simply slowed down the CPU speed?

If it’s true that GPU power is important for conversion speed as the CPU, my next upgrade (CPU from Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz to Core 2 Quad Q6700 2.67GHz, and GPU from GeForce GTL 7600 256MB to AMD Radeon HD7750 1/2GB) will improve speed up to 2.5x/3x thanks only to CPU; how much the video card will improve speed is to be discovered…

If someone had some similar experience, please post here… if only I knew this, I would have replaced my old video card before… years before!