I know this is probably impossible, but.....
I have downloaded my old Super8mm movies to my computer. As you would imagine the quality of these is relatively poor. They seem grainy and somehwhat out of focus. Even the colors are kind of faded.
I was wondering if there is software to enhance and sharpen these old movies. I worked with some software desiged to use algorithms to take an out of focus picture and bring it in focus.
Is there anything like that available for video?
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You can do some pretty good cleanup with VirtualDub and avisynth filters as offiline suggested, however, you aren't going to find anyting that I know of to make out of focus video come back into focus. This is one area that I have never found any satisfactory results in video restoration. Color correction, noise cleanup, etc works great and is realitively easy. There is even a VirtualDub filter called Deshaker that is like a software based image stabilizer; however, your pretty much out of luck with focus problems.
I could be corrected however...
you aren't going to find anyting that I know of to make out of focus video come back into focus.
I had paid a company to transfer the film to DV. I then download via firewire. I have wondered if some of the graininess may have been a function of either the transfer process or any other process I did thereafter.
I did take the raw footage I downloaded to PC and compared it to the
AVI file I outputed from editing. The quality seemed pretty close to the same. The raw footage was not great to begin with, but was similar to the AVI file I made atter editing. I then went to authoring. The DVD made after authoring was tremendously worse. I think I know what I did wrong there. It was something about a selection I chose to re-render. I can fix that.
If there is no way to easily improve image quality (sunstantially) for the end DVD product, I just wondered if there was something I could have done along the way that could have improved the results.
Although I have spent many hours editing, I am not against doing it all over if I can get much better results. Or am I whistling Dixie? You can't make old Super 8mm footage look too good anyway?
It seems that old film never looks great when converted to MPEG2 - all the variations from dirt and whatnot never go down well with compressed video.
Try to clean it up as much as possible with VirtualDub or whatever, then when converting to MPEG2 for the DVD use the highest possible bitrate (taking into account how much you're putting on a disc, of course). Hopefully, that way it won't look too much worse than the original AVI.
I'd highly recommend TMPGEnc for MPEG2 encoding if you're not using it. Don't know too much about its own filters though - they might not be as good as VirtualDub's...
I recently did a project similar to what you are talking about, Even though there are a million filters for virtualdub in my experience most of them are quite subtle, if you tweak them enough to see results they are probably do more harm than good to your video. My video was 2nd generation and therefore very blurry unfortunately you can't do much with blurry video it's almost impossible to re-define sharpness however much can be done with noise reduction to clear up graininess. In my experience which is subjective and a matter of opinion of course. I got the best results with TMPGenc 352x480 2 pass VBR Max 6000 Min 3000 using the noise reduction filter at 40, 1, 40 and the sharpen edge filter at 66 and 66. The finished product was an improvement over the source so I was happy. I would suggest getting a high res avi capture, edit with virtualdub and leave the filters to TMPGEnc. Just my $.02 Good Luck
I will give it a try. Thx!