Okay, I promised my uncle that I will restore the VHS Tape of a stage play in which he played the lead role 20+ years ago. I made sure he knows that restoration means only trying to remove errors, and we can only achieve reasonable quality. My set-up is below:
JVC S-VHs VCR (Model# HR-S7600AM) with built-in TBC & 3-DNR using S-Video Cable;
Connected to Canopus ADVC 110;
Firewire capture of DV file into the PC.
Softwares: Premiere Pro, VirtualDub, NeatVideo's Free version; FlaxVHS Filter
The video is about 75 minutes. The audio is too low, which I think I will deal with separately, the focus now is only on the video part.
I noticed several flaws in the video, some of which I can explain as "Chroma Noise" and "Tracking Errors", but the rest I am not really sure what to call them.
Though I had done several VHS-DVD conversions in the past, those tapes were reasonably clean. But this one definitely needs a lot of filtering and restoration. I am new to doing any restoration.
Your help in identifying the faults in this video (Screenshots attached) and how to fix them to the possible extent is greatly appreciated.
I have read quite a few threads on restoration, Lordsmurf's guides...etc already, and that's how I managed to get screenshots of the frames that had problems. I need some kind of expert advise to proceed.
The video itself is not bright enough for the eyes. I have no idea about the Camera used to record this play, and the lighting condition then.
The whites are too bright, and also a lot ghosting (???) around edges, colour bleeding, chroma noise...all sorts of problems.
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No response??? I am still trying to figure it out myself...but any help from your side is appreciated.
I'm no expert either but most of my "let's make this look a little better in virtualdub" jobs(for myself) involves:
1) Border Control - plugin that adds a black border onto the video without changing the video size...masking the tracking errors or overscan at the bottom of the screen. I always mask the biggest then match that on the remaining 3 sides.
2) Chroma Smoother - I know ZERO about Chroma...I just know it improves the look of the video TO ME.
For one drastic restoration job I used the Neat Video noise reduction plugin(not free) to clean up a video that was already
in very good condition....just time-worn with faded colors. Painfully slow(ran it overnight) but it did a very nice job.
I do about the same thing. I mask the edge noise common with VHS tapes. I use ColorMill 2 for color, contrast and general adjustments. Neat Video is also very good, especially with a poor quality video. I have never managed to do as good a job as it with individual filters. Neat is slow, but it works well. I haven't played with Chroma Smoother, but it sounds interesting. Another filter I use a lot is Gradation Curves to adjust contrast and overall brightness.
I most often use VirtualDub Mod as I prefer it's audio handling. I save out the audio, generally as a WAV, and leave VDM running. Then I drop the audio file into Audacity and do what I can to improve it there. Then save out the improved version and add it back to the video in VDM, set to audio direct stream copy if it's the correct format for my video. Most times I run the filters on the video while I'm processing the audio separately. Then I combine them back together after the video is done processing.
Lot's of other ways to do it, but this works for me.
EDIT: You may not be able to do much with the whites if they are completely blown out as the detail there is probably gone also. Gradation curves or some of the ColorMill filters may help a little if you adjust the highs, mids and low levels or Gamma settings. I would probably just make up some short representative clips from the video and experiment with them to arrive at the best settings. Otherwise testing filter settings will take too long with the whole video.
Last edited by redwudz; 28th Nov 2010 at 02:08.
You can probably tease a little more detail out of the over bright areas by decreasing the brightness before the video is converted to RGB (VirtualDub converts to RGB using the standard rec.601 matrix which will cause very bright areas of the video to peg out at RGB=255). Some filters in VirtualDub can do this -- the brightness/contrast filter for example. Apply that filter before any others. Turn the brightness down by 7 or 8 percent. Or a combination of brightness and contrast:
Even better, use AviSynth. In my experience, VHS caps usually need to have the black level darkened too so this should work:
If the black level is OK then one of these will work:
After this levels correction you can use Alexander Nagiller's Gradation Curves for VirtualDub to make non-linear changes to the levels.
Last edited by jagabo; 28th Nov 2010 at 06:36.
ColorMill in VirtualDub or Adobe Premiere CS4+ for some white balance correction.
CS4 would be my tool of choice in this scenario.
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I've not tried this in Elements version. That may work too.
Limited trials on Adobe.com
I noticed in the op's sample images, the NR is quite noticable, almost clay-like looking.
These images seem to share similar atributes as in one of a recent long post from another members sanlyn; discussion on restoring some opera clips. That member went through a lot of trouble to restore as much of it as he could though that video(s) were based on .vob sources he had d/l'ed if i'm not mistaken. You might be able to grab some of his techniques (as well as the comments / suggestions the other members gave) .. the link escapes me at the moment. Anyway.
These kinds of technical (color) type adjustments are done at the scene level (and also isolated at different points (parts of the image) and the color in those isolated parts adjusted) because of the level of complexity in each scene, i.e., using the areas showing errors in the "white" you can see there are some scene where white's are fine while in others are too bright (blown out) and vise versa. But this type of color adjustments can be technical for the novice and takes getting use to working with in the tools needed to help restore these types of videos. AVIsynth was one of the tools used in that members opera video's. He also used other tools, if i'm not mistaken. Read that discussion, it was an interesting (long) read and should make great company in your restoration endevours of these clips. If I find the link i'll post, unless someone recalls faster than I. Good luck.
Do a chroma haze with a p-trap and flange the matrix
Thanks everyone for the inputs.
Applied BorderControl. It looks good for masking the bottom noise.
Will try the following based on your suggestions: ChromaSmoother, ColorMill, Brightness/Contrast, Gradation Curves. However my level of knowledge in all filters is that I can only adjust something and see it in the preview rather than knowing the theory behind it. Avisynth is definitely not something I already know but wil give it a try.
Will also try and search for that similar thread from sanlyn.
I use Adbobe Premiere CS4.
This video has a lot of "Chroma Noise". Based on one of Lordsmurf's guides, tried filtering with "Chroma Noise Remover" with no result.
Tried NeatVideo free version, but it is kind of creating "plastic" look. Screenshot attached.
All noise reducers result in a plastic look if turned up too high. Did you let Neat Video sample the noise from your video first? After that you adjust the noise reduction controls to your liking. It's usually best to leave some noise in the picture. Also, you may find it works better if you turn off the noise reduction at the VCR.
Last edited by jagabo; 29th Nov 2010 at 07:11.
First I would de-interlace and upsample it to high bitrate, then throw a 4:3 crop to get rid of the tracking noise.
Then try gaussian blur, warming the color, and adding contrast to sharpen, and resize to DVD dimensions.
Touching up at high resolution, then scaling back down basically.
Last edited by budwzr; 29th Nov 2010 at 10:33.
Just a helpful hint for the OP - this post is either a joke, or clueless:
NeatVideo settings. Let it leave more of the high frequency noise in.
I debated whether to offer the advice above, thinking it would get rejected or laughed at. The prevailing strategy is to work directly on whatever was captured which is like trying to touch up a postage stamp with a 2" paint brush.
Gaussian blur is one of the most misunderstood tools that few ever use. To most, it has NO USE at all, after all, we don't want to blur our video, what kind of idiot would ever want to use it, right?
Hint: Properly applied Gaussian blur delineates edges and that changes the way filters get applied.
Perhaps the OP would post 20 - 30 seconds of his source for a closer inspection...
Thanks guys, I am trying most of the advises given, especially turning down Neat Video's values, turning down noise reduction in the VCR (my VCR has only ONE button for TBC/NR, so if I want to turn off NR, it will turn off the TBC as well), Gaussian Blur ...etc.
I can certainly post a representative sample of the video but it will be another 10 hours until I do it, as I have to do it from home, and it is 11 AM in my part of the world at the moment. I am at work.
Which format should I upload it in? As DV AVI, or compressed MPEG-1 or MPEG-2???
Please upload as the original source, presumably DV.
Please upload as the original source, presumably DV.
Ok. Here are my video samples....
They are DV AVI files...PAL, Interlaced.
Perhaps the stage scenes were lit differently? there seems to be more clipping in the 1st post screenshots. Maybe the OP could post a sample of the stage scene ?
Perhaps a bit more - 15 seconds or so. The is a certain "hardness" to the look of the video. Not sure how to describe it properly.
Does it look this way when the tape is played and viewed on the TV?
Hahaha, there's NO WAY to "fix" this kind of video, every few frames have different issues.
And the sample "fix" above has purple tinge introduced, so it swaps one ill for another. No offense, and it's a jolly good try.
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Well budwzr, i dont think that this video is THAT bad, but if you thing that the "fixed one" should be full-hd, crystal clear/sharp video with vivid colors... then there is no way to fix it.
I wasn't trying to show-of with the color correction part, but i really like the denoising part of it, but if you have anything better.. go ahead, do that instead of laughing.
I wasn't laughing at you, I was laughing at the whole project in general. Your efforts DID bring out some detail, but at a price to white balance.
The funny part is it's like pushing down on an innertube and it just bulges out somewhere else, there's no net gain.
I put those crazy posts above yours as a "goof", and still nobody is telling the truth on this.
I'm still wondering if this is some guy in a "video restoring shop" trying to put everyone here to work for free.
Last edited by budwzr; 1st Dec 2010 at 20:38.