Thought I would post this here as well, since the Video Enhancer website is very infrequently visited and my issues range further out than that.
I have a collection of old videotapes (mostly home movies) that I am trying to 'Enhance and Preserve'...meaning, I'm trying to upscale them to an HD format and edit them using Adobe Premiere Pro and Sound Forge, among other programs, so that I can preserve these memories in a digital format and try to wipe away as much stain of the years as is humanly possible. Yes, I am aware that much of it is an uphill battle and I'll never have it look super high quality, but I want to try and retain as much detail as I can and clean it up as much as my hobbyist soul will allow. But, I've run into a few snags...
I purchased Video Enhancer to try and upscale the video to HD levels resolution and have the Super Resolution process try and add what it can to the quality of the picture. However, this leads to two problems:
1. I cannot get ANY video codec to work properly, resulting in corrupted files or no picture, unless I select uncompressed AVI. This results in files at least 10 times bigger than my original feed and it never runs at the right speed(as in, the processed video runs slowly while the audio plays at the correct rate). I have x264vfw on there, but the various settings just confuse me and when I use it, I usually get no picture at all, no matter if I select lossless or compressed, or fiddle with the VFW/File option at the bottom. No codec ever seems to give me something that will not only play when I click on it, but work when imported into Premiere Pro CS5.5.
2. When I deinterlace and then reinterlace the footage with the enclosed 'Wizard' (Video Enhancer insists on deinterlacing before processing the footage; there's no option to avoid that step) the result never seems like it's running at the frames of the NTSC video I put in. Half of the reason I'm trying to archive is to retain that "video" look to the stuff I'm working with, and although I know how to deal with that sort of thing in my video editor, I still need it to be running properly before I put it in. This has been a MAJOR stumbling block for me, because I'm desperately trying to hold onto that 'video' frame rate at every stage of editing and somehow it never fails to be lost at some point.
So, what I need, in a nutshell, is, if I continue to use Video Enhancer:
-Super Resolution to improve my SD video (to whatever degree it will allow; it's a hobby thing, I know it's never going to be brilliant)
-As Video Enhancer requires deinterlacing to process the video properly, a deinterlacer/reinterlacer that doesn't destroy the 60i look of the video footage
-A codec that will compress the file to something smaller than 100+ gigs for 60 minutes' worth of footage and be compatible with Premiere Pro CS5.5 for editing
However, I am not wedded to Video Enhancer if I am doing too much work to achieve these same results. If there is another method or workaround for what I'm doing, I'm all for it. But the main goal is, essentially, process the SD video to something I can edit in an HD timeline that doesn't result in something that looks super-blocky and still has a frame rate comparable to the original videotape.
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The playback speed of your upscaled RGB AVI probably isn't an issue since that's an intermediate file -- your hard drive simply isn't fast enough to play HD uncompressed RGB. 1920x1080i30 RGB video requires about 190 MB/s throughput. Just verify it's the right frame rate and running time.
I don't know what Video Enhancer does when it deinterlaces and reinterlaces. Maybe you could provide a short sample of before and after. A few seconds with moderate motion should do.
It's a while since I tried Video Enhancer, but if you're looking to get the best results from VHS, upscaling to HD is the last thing you should worry about. Using a decent VCR, using a TBC, getting the levels right, using a good capture device, carefully denoising and colour correcting - things like that are far more important.
I only upscale if I have to (e.g. it makes things look better on YouTube) - lots of modern BluRay players and TVs are rather good at upscaling. You can sometimes do better yourself, but it's the last rather than first thing you should be worrying about.
Well, I can upload a sample sometime this weekend (I thought I might need to use a separate video website to do it, but I see there's a thing at the bottom of the response to upload), but the way it looks is that Video Enhancer is deinterlacing the footage to upscale, but then not doing a very good job reinterlacing it. I know there's another plug-in that reinterlaces as well and specifies 60 frames, but it requires me to use MJPEG to split the video into the different fields, and I'm not quite sure how to get results from that.
As far as the "garbage in" portion of my video, my capture device is relatively old, but when I got it I heard it was one of the better ones to get. It's a Canopus ADVC-300, and probably ancient as far as capture devices go, but my VCR is a JVC HR-548OOU with Flying Erase Head (which I also got since, at the time, I heard JVC was good with that). I'm using Composite video, however, since all my video footage going into the Canopus using the S-Video gives me black and white picture, so I can't really improve capture on that end. If my hardware is dated, however, and I need to have a better, more reliable capture device, let me know. My VCR is still holding up relatively well, though, and hasn't given me any problems.
Video noise has always been a problem, but that was something I never seemed capable of removing hardware wise...I was planning on doing it in post, which I've gotten mixed results with. Audio, too (which has a whole mountain of problems I've run into).
I still use my Canopus AVC-100. It's a good device and a good format, especially if you want to do extensive editing or video or audio filtering.
For audio filtering, try the freeware Audacity. With careful use, it can usually clean up old audio.
For video, I still use VirtualDub Mod, mainly because of the hundreds of video filters available. VD Mod accepts DV from your 300 with no problem. If you need an output format, you can add the Cedocida DV Codec. With VDM, I demux the audio to Audacity, filter, then mux it back in with VDM, leaving VDM running in the background.
AVIDemux also works well, but I don't feel it has as many options as VDM or the regular VD. Just my opinion.
One thing you will likely need to do is add some black bars to the video to cover up the VCR switching noise at the bottom of the screen. Adjusting levels
is also useful. I use the ColorMill 2 filter most of the time as it's fairly universal. Video noise reduction is a whole subject of it's own.
My rule for VCR to DVD quality is do as little as possible to the video if you start with a good copy. Over-filtering, re-encoding, format changes, resizing, etc., usually makes it worse.
Interlaced video has to be deinterlaced before it can be resized. Reinterlacing it is much easier than deinterlacing. So I would expect the problem to be in the deinterlacing. Upscaling is generally the very last thing you want to address with VHS -- given all it's other ills. If you ARE going to upscale it use a smart bob deinterlacer to make 60p and skip the reinterlacing.
I think there's a typo in your JVC model number. But from the rest of your text I'm guessing it's an SVHS deck. You should be able to get color caps using the correct cables and settings. Unless the recordings themselves are black and white.
codec wise - CS5/6/CC are all 64bit so I suspect that explains some of your issues . Since newer PP versions are all x64 there are communication/handshake issues with many other VFW codecs which are x86. UT Video Codec works well in PP . It comes with x86/x64 components - It is lossless and will compress uncompressed video typically about 1/2 size. Decoding speed is it's strength - you will get realtime playback on HD material with a decent computer which is almost unheard of for lossless codecs . If you don't need lossless, then "visually lossless" is the next category and cineform / dnxhd/ prores would be in that category. For Windows "near lossless" codecs, cineform is usually preferred because of it's high quality , compatibility, and speed. The free version is go pro cineform studio, and it should show up in all your VFW applications including video enhancer, vdub etc...
I agree with the other comments - upscaling is the least of your worries . In fact , that should be done at the END of the workflow, after your editing if you still want to, not before. SD is faster to edit, less HDD storage requirements, easier to filter (some of the cleanup and restoration filters are SLOOOW, and will be exponentially slower on HD sizes). Presumably, your cutting material out as well - It's a waste of time, electricity applying filters to sections that aren't even making the cut.
Hi again. Sorry that I didn't get this up by the weekend, but I do have a sample to show the difference between the footage that has been upscaled and the raw feed (it's from a clip of junk that got taped over, figured it was the safest bet to show what the issue is). I will note that the footage, while loaded into Premiere, was in a 1080i sequence with "Upper" Field dominance. My VCR captures lower first, and I left that field dominant on the original footage, and it turned out with that sort of 'video FPS' I'm trying to preserve. The second, larger segment shows the upscaled footage at much fewer frames per second than the other. It's not truly upscaled right now...it is using an NTSC DV codec, but mostly to keep the file size reasonable. The issue is present, though, and plays back in real time.
As far as WHY I was upscaling first, my thought was that any noise reduction software I use (i.e., Neat Video) would be more pixel accurate if done to an upscaled video feed than it would to the original. Whatever other issues are instantly noticeable that I need to fix, though, would be greatly appreciated.
And yes, my JVC deck IS S-VHS, but the cable plug I use gives B&W even on color streams. I can't explain why, unless the S-VHS plug is damaged or I have something set incorrectly on the bottom of the ADVC-300 box.
Also, as far as converting footage to 60p, my big concern is having it play back using a standard Blu-ray. Considering The Hobbit movies aren't currently available in 48fps playback on current devices, I'm assuming I can't use 60p footage and have it run correctly.
And though I'm probably already making this post too long as it is, the sound software I use is a mix of Sound Forge Pro 10 and NCH Wavepad. My biggest issue (which I can bring up much later in the Restoration forum, but I'll mention here) is that Wavepad wipes out noise effectively, but leaves a warbly sound behind it. Sound Forge takes care of the warble, but my audio sounds 'tinny' and lacks bass. I'm guessing I'm doing too much noise reduction, but I've yet to find a happy medium in any of my work.
The first half of the DV AVI file is interlaced, bottom field first, normal DV. The second half, which I guess is your upscaled version, is interlaced, to field first. DV should always be BFF. So Video Enhancer converted it from BFF to TFF. That wouldn't be a problem if you hadn't used a DV codec.
The black and white capture is what happens when you run an s-video input into a device but the device think's it's composite. If you are using an s-video cable straight from the VCR to the ADVC300 look for a setting on the ADVC300 that specifies s-video as the source. If you are using some kind of s-video/composite adapter cable the problem may be there.
Your assumption that upscaling will help with noise reduction and other filtering is generally incorrect.
If you end up upscaling you could go to 720p60. Blu-ray supports that.
So then my real issue is to find a method of converting to 60p, or converting the video properly to upper field first so I don't get the jittery playback when working in the HD stream. Or, just working with it in SD, keeping everything in lower field for the time being, and then worrying about that little snag down the road when I get to it.
I should probably also be using VirtualDub to capture then, as well. I've been using Premiere's built in capture program, but it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles to improve the captured video (color correction, stabilizer, etc.) on the hardware stream.
Wow, already over a week since the last post? Sorry, been busy...but now at least I know my best option to start is to just simply archive my video using my converter and store it away the trimmed parts for later (thankfully I found I can do that without doing any re-encoding with an option in Premiere). Since the HD conversion is the least of my issues and I won't get any additional benefit editing at that size, I'll just get it all stored away nice and safely before I worry about the clean up...which I'll take over to the Restoration board to ensure I'm getting my video just right. Thanks again for the info!
you do not need to re-interlace to archive your footage (after using high quality bob deinterlacer to 59.940p) , only for DVD output, but to archive your footage, you can end up using 59.94p