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  1. Member
    Join Date: May 2013
    Location: Sweden
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    I am planning to start a restoration service for VHS and camcorder tapes here in Sweden, and I am looking for a program that would do automatic post-processing (the cost of labor in Sweden makes it prohibitive to offer manual post-processing). I fully understand that automatic post-processing would not be as good as manual post-processing, but it would surely be better than no post-processing.
    So what automatic post-processing programs are there? I found nothing good when I searched the forum. I hear lots of good things about Avisynth, but I don't think I have the time to learn that program. So I was wondering if there is an automatic script that could do simple things like noise reduction, gamma correction etc. Logo removal, removal of commercials etc is not necessary. It does not have to be one script for all capture types, it could be several scripts, like this:

    svhs-pal.avs
    svhs-ntsc.avs
    8mm-pal.avs
    8mm-ntsc.avs
    minidv-pal.avs
    minidv-ntsc.avs

    The end result will be provided to the customer via Internet to be viewed on any device. I would also like to be able to append a short intro and outro video, and to superimpose a very small logotype. Finally, the customer would probably do a final edit of the videos himself using a program such as Movie Maker.

    Another possibility would be to hire staff in a country such as India and have them do manual post-processing for each file, but I think I would prefer automatic post-processing.

    So what would be a decent automatic Avisynth script that can run hands-off? I could even pay a small sum of money for help with this.
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  2. Guest34343
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    There is no such automatic program that can do anything useful.

    My advice if you want your company to be successful is to learn the appropriate basics. Saying you don't have enough time wouldn't give me much confidence as a potential customer.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: May 2013
    Location: Sweden
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    So exactly how useless would automatic postprocessing be? Like 1% of what could be done with manual post-processing? Or even less?
    I would use the best s-vhs players.
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  4. Guest34343
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    In my humble opinion the idea is just silly. You have to address the specific issues with each video. For example, a VHS-sourced stream may be pure interlaced or telecined. The needed processing will be very different. Or, one video may be very noisy and another clean. You would want a strong denoiser for the first but not the second. All these things need an experienced human eye.

    Anyway, if such a program existed, why wouldn't your customers just use that? What would be your value added? Do you think this forum could be replaced by a single link to some automatic program!?

    Not meaning to rain on your parade but you have to be realistic.
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  5. Member
    Join Date: May 2013
    Location: Sweden
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    Answer: The value added would be that the (minor?) improvement would already have been done for them.

    "Silly" or not; would you say that the improvement that could be made with general automatic methods would be equal to 0.00%? If so, there would obviously be no point for me to do it, and I thank you for the answer.
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  6. Guest34343
    Guest
    I've said what I can say. Asking me to quantify things to two decimal places of percentage when we don't even have any candidate programs in mind is, again, silly, IMHO. Even expecting to improve things in a minor way is dubious; you may degenerate the video by processing it inappropriately.

    I'll stop here. Maybe someone else will be able to help you with it.
    Last edited by Guest34343; 4th Jun 2014 at 09:07.
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Jun 2012
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    Originally Posted by Livingonvideo View Post
    would you say that the improvement that could be made with general automatic methods would be equal to 0.00%? If so, there would obviously be no point for me to do it, and I thank you for the answer.
    It's not out of the question that your auto-processing could make things worse.
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  8. Banned
    Join Date: Nov 2005
    Location: United States
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    i think maybe you need to rethink your strategy a bit, the automatic post-processing could be done via the use of a bunch of custom scripts each designed for a specific task, for instance maybe you could have one script for noisy sources that need deinterlacing, one for noisy sources that are progressive, one for videos that need to be cropped, etc.

    what i would do is capture the vhs sources as uncompressed avi's (you will need fast hdd, either 15000 rpm hdd or a raid 0 solution, put them into a "watch folder", check the captured avi to see what kind of post processing, if any, is appropriate, then launch the correct script and let it do its thing.

    the script would rely on avs, .bat and ffmpeg and it would take some time to get together about half a dozen or so scripts but you could certainly automate part of the process.
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Mar 2011
    Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
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    The OP clearly doesn't have a clue what he/she is doing and wants to know how to use free tools with a major learning curve to automate a process he/she doesn't understand.

    Hard landing ahead ...
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  10. Guest34343
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    Originally Posted by Hoser Rob View Post
    Hard landing ahead ...
    More likely the plane will not even get airborne.
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  11. Member
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    Location: Sweden
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    No matter how much people say their huge expertise can never be replaced by computer vision, it happens every day and it will happen for video restoration too. Maybe not tomorrow but probably within a few years. I will prove the haters wrong.
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  12. Originally Posted by Livingonvideo View Post
    No matter how much people say their huge expertise can never be replaced by computer vision, it happens every day and it will happen for video restoration too. Maybe not tomorrow but probably within a few years. I will prove the haters wrong.
    A few years? A few decades, maybe. And it will probably take a supercomputer to do it.
    You do appreciate that video is an immersive, subjective activity, right?
    How can a computer (with no human interaction) distinguish between film grain and 'noise'?
    Come on! Be sensible here.
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  13. Guest34343
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    Originally Posted by Livingonvideo View Post
    I will prove the haters wrong.
    Folks trying to help by injecting a dose of reality are haters.
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  14. Member
    Join Date: Jun 2012
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    Originally Posted by Livingonvideo View Post
    No matter how much people say their huge expertise can never be replaced by computer vision, it happens every day and it will happen for video restoration too. Maybe not tomorrow but probably within a few years. I will prove the haters wrong.
    Some before and after samples would go a long way towards alleviating doubts.
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  15. Originally Posted by Livingonvideo View Post
    So I was wondering if there is an automatic script that could do simple things like noise reduction, gamma correction etc.
    There is no "fix everything that's wrong with this video" filter. But you could have some prototype scripts that you could fine tune for each video. Some filters, like McTemporalDenoise() have presets. A prototype using it might look something like:

    Code:
    AviSource("filename.avi")
    ColorYUV(autogain=true, autowhite=true)
    McTemporalDenoise(settings="medium", interlaced=true) # very low, low, medium, high, very high
    Then manually change the preset. For example change settings="mediulm" to settings="very high" to suit the particular video.

    Automatic brightness/contrast filters in AviSynth (like ColorYUV(autogain=true) above) produce brightness pumping at shot changes or even as the content changes. Generally, they should usually be used for individual shots, not entire videos. What I usually do is make a single compromise levels adjustment for the entire video. For example, if the black level is too high over the entire video (very common with VHS) I'll pull it down so that the darkest parts of video are near black. But that needs to be done on a case by case basis.

    If you plan on handling more than peoples' private camcorder videos, and you are looking for really optimal processing, you'll also need to consider whether the video is interlaced, telecined, or progressive, NTSC/PAL conversions, etc. Things can get very complicated, fast.
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  16. Member
    Join Date: May 2013
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    Finally a knowledgeable and helpful reply. Thanks jagabo!
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  17. Originally Posted by Livingonvideo View Post
    Finally a knowledgeable and helpful reply.
    Nonsense. How is what he said fundamentally different from what neuron2 or the others said earlier? He admitted the ColorYUV line is useless for complete videos (I agree). You said "I am looking for a program that would do automatic post-processing (the cost of labor in Sweden makes it prohibitive to offer manual post-processing)." And he responded with, "There is no "fix everything that's wrong with this video" filter" which is pretty much what the rest said. The "prototype scripts" he suggested (I call them "template scripts") are just common sense and most people doing video restoration have the same and choose which filters to use and at what strengths after studying the video to be restored. None of this is done without the "manual post-processing" you're trying to avoid. The only reason some of the earlier ones started making fun is because you ignored good advice and continued to think there was some sort of a magic bullet for this. There isn't.
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  18. Member Noahtuck's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2004
    Location: ®Inside My Avatar™© U.S.
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    @ manono
    Thank you!!

    I was going to say he obviously does not have a clue what he is talking about or what he is doing as jagabo basically said what everyone else said if livingonvideo read and understood what was written!!
    But I held my tongue and you SET ME FREE!!!
    LOL!!

    that you could fine tune for each video.
    Do ya get it, not automatic for all videos.

    Then manually change the preset. For example change settings="mediulm" to settings="very high" to suit the particular video.
    Do ya get it again, not automatic for all videos.

    If you plan on handling more than peoples' private camcorder videos, and you are looking for really optimal processing, you'll also need to consider whether the video is interlaced, telecined, or progressive, NTSC/PAL conversions, etc. Things can get very complicated, fast.
    And again, FAR from "automatic"....

    Far from the OP's "magic bullet" automatic solution...
    LOL!!

    Or the infamous "fix everything that's wrong with this video" filter!!
    Which by the way I have perfected!!!!

    LOL!!
    Originally a member since 2001, LONG LIVE TARAN's!!!
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  19. Guest34343
    Guest
    I'm thinking one doesn't even need to do anything to the video. Just null process it and collect your fee. After all, OP wanted to argue that even a 0.01 percent improvement would justify the business model. But that is indistinguishable from 0.00% for all practical purposes.
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  20. Originally Posted by manono View Post
    Originally Posted by Livingonvideo View Post
    Finally a knowledgeable and helpful reply.
    Nonsense. How is what he said fundamentally different from what neuron2 or the others said earlier?
    I agree. I didn't say anything much different than others already stated. I just gave a method that makes the process a little easier. And listed a few particular filters to consider.
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  21. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    I just gave a method that makes the process a little easier. And listed a few particular filters to consider.
    Sure, and I agree. I wasn't critizing you at all. Denoising is one of the most important filtering one can do on VHS tapes.

    Livingonvideo, we have people that do this sort of a thing for a living. Swedish cost of labor doesn't figure into this at all. Full restorations (as opposed to using a DVD recorder on them and calling it finished) are expensive anywhere you go. Ask lordsmurf what he charges for the sort of thing you're thinking of doing as a business. Okay, you don't want to have to charge 1000 Euros (or the Swedish equivalent) for a complete job (even if you knew how to do it), but I think you'll quickly change your mind after you've done a few.
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  22. Member
    Join Date: May 2013
    Location: Sweden
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    I work with computer vision. According to your philosophy, this science is not possible either is it? How could a computer play chess or recognize images? How could a computer detect and understand what's in an image? How could a smart camera recognize things like red eyes and correct that? How could automatic white balance ever work? How could automatic black level correction ever work? How could Photoshop ever do auto contrast or auto levels?

    Of course, the truth must lie somewhere in between "computers can't automatically fix EVERYTHING that is wrong with a video" and "computers can't automatically fix ANYTHING that is wrong with a video".

    I fully understand that you act hostile towards people that you perceive to be threatening your business. However that's no excuse to pretend that automatic correction doesn't exist or would be possible. I found some of this "non-existing" automatic restoration here: http://algosoft-tech.com/ - (the version Viva Auto). However, that's mainly for telecine.
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  23. Member
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    Originally Posted by Livingonvideo View Post
    How could a smart camera recognize things like red eyes and correct that? How could automatic white balance ever work? How could automatic black level correction ever work? How could Photoshop ever do auto contrast or auto levels?
    Smart cameras pre-flash to close down the subject's iris to minimize red-eye. Photoshop determines the blackest black and the whites white, arbitrarily lops off 5% on each end and expands. This is easy stuff. Once you get into something as seemingly simple as auto gamma adjustments it falls down. Eliminating ringing, mosquito noise, missing or offset color channel, fluctuating color and exposure, digitized timebase errors, garbled control tracks, and inconsistent tape speeds is a whole different ball game.

    Even the best "automatic" corrections misidentified Dorothy's red shoes as technicolor dust sparkles on the latest restoration of Wizard of Oz. -- And someone had to make the deliberate (unfortunate) decision to do wire removal on Lion's tail.

    Originally Posted by Livingonvideo View Post
    I fully understand that you act hostile towards people that you perceive to be threatening your business. However that's no excuse to pretend that automatic correction doesn't exist or would be possible. I found some of this "non-existing" automatic restoration here: http://algosoft-tech.com/ - (the version Viva Auto). However, that's mainly for telecine.
    Seriously, you're putting those forward as good automated examples?
    Last edited by smrpix; 5th Jun 2014 at 07:41.
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  24. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2012
    Location: Australia
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    Caveat Emptor.
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  25. Guest34343
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    Now you equivocate and pretend we told you that any automation is not possible. Nobody is claiming that *some degree* of automation is not possible. That is your strawman. And you put silly arguments in people's mouths that they did not make, such as that we argue computer chess is not possible. If not ridiculous and laughable, it's at least very shallow thinking.

    Your first post asked specifically about available Avisynth scripts for *fully automatic restoration*. We told you there are not any and gave you the reasons why nobody has even tried to do such things. You implied that those that disagree with you are not knowledgable and don't want to help. That too is absurd. I have decades of experience in video, filter design, decoding, etc., yet you summarily dismiss it. Indeed, at one time I looked into trying something fully automated like you describe, but the complexity is mind-boggling, and I had to accept the reality of the situation. You would be well advised to do the same.
    Last edited by Guest34343; 5th Jun 2014 at 08:02.
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  26. Member
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    Location: Sweden
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    What would you professionals say are the most common among severe video problems that are possible to correct by either automatic or manual methods?

    Some possible answers:
    Tracking?
    Color bleeding?
    Snow (due to video heads needing cleaning)?
    Black level?
    Incorrect white balance?

    Challenge me, as a programmer, inventor and experienced in computer vision I would like to try to find a method to somewhat reliably detect such problems in video. If the problems can be detected and the level measured, then existing adjustment methods could be applied until the problem is no longer detected. Sometimes the result might be worse, but sometimes it will be better. There could be ways to measure the level of success. If success is more frequent than failure, and if failure does not deteriorate quality more than success improves quality, then the process as a whole will have been successful, do you agree?

    And again, I never said that a computer could compete with a human eye when it comes to quality. It could however, one day, compete with a human eye when it comes to value added per dollar. Using the TBC button on a VCR is one example of automatic correction that generally adds more value than it removes.
    Last edited by Livingonvideo; 5th Jun 2014 at 08:02. Reason: corrected language
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  27. Originally Posted by Livingonvideo View Post
    Sometimes the result might be worse, but sometimes it will be better.
    That's the problem.
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  28. Member
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    If that's the only problem, then I would like to crush those eggs in order to make the omelet.
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  29. Member
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    Originally Posted by Livingonvideo View Post
    If that's the only problem, then I would like to crush those eggs in order to make the omelet.
    You've been restoring those motivational videos again, haven't you?
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  30. Member themaster1's Avatar
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    I think you got it wrong post processing require a human and lot of time.
    The other solution would be to use a proc amp to fix basic defects (levels, hue etc) while recording; it still require a human to operate but is faster.
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