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Using Low Res Historical Photos/Videos on HD Documentary Film

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Juan David Romero
Using Low Res Historical Photos/Videos on HD Documentary Film
on Sep 20, 2017 at 10:16:41 am

Not sure if this is the place to ask, but I'm having an issue with my documentary film.

I am using photos and videos taken by my interview subject to tell his story (besides the video I shot). For example, videos of a live session he did on Facebook, or a video he took with his phone, or a photo taken of his family with a cheap camera.

My documentary is in HD 1080. When presenting these images, they look blurry and pixelated in my documentary film. So do the videos. I have seen several documentary films where the documentarian is using old images and videos and they look ok, even on HD.

How did they do it? What do you recommend I do? The problem is the person I interviewed doesn't have access to any higher resolution versions of the stuff I need from him. What is your suggestion to this problem? Anyone out there in the film world specializes in these kind of issues?


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Chris Wright
Re: Using Low Res Historical Photos/Videos on HD Documentary Film
on Sep 20, 2017 at 10:51:37 am

i'd dynamic link to AE's distort preserve upscale. its a combination of bicubic, reduce noise, and detail. makes very nice resizing. also, I'd use its Camera-Shake Deblur effect which helps you recover blurry footage caused by camera shake.
and warp stabilization for shaky video.(do that one last, it also exists in premiere)


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Using Low Res Historical Photos/Videos on HD Documentary Film
on Sep 20, 2017 at 6:02:07 pm

There are only a few really good solutions to the conundrum of using low-res elements in a hi-res documentary... You can try Chris' suggestions, but you won't get magical results, and the garbage in, garbage out, thing will most likely apply. Using the images at a size other than full screen is the best solution, and building creative ways of using multiple images that pop on or fade on to form a composite is a useful technique.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Shane Ross
Re: Using Low Res Historical Photos/Videos on HD Documentary Film
on Sep 20, 2017 at 6:46:14 pm

For very low res photos, I use Genuine Fractals plugin for Photoshop. It does great things...but also has a limit. I've had people send me images that were 240x180 stills of a photo they took, or that someone had in a photo album, but then claimed "that's all I have." There are some that you just can't use, but others, do what I can with GF and barring that, print them out and take then with a digital camera, that helps.

As for video...Terranex or Alchemist for upscaling. I also use an AJA capture card for this, as it does really good. And besides that, After Effects scaling. But yeah, there's some video that just can't be saved...like those news places that archive their stories as 640x480 AVI files.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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