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Faking better quality look to bad footage

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Adam Lewen
Faking better quality look to bad footage
on Nov 6, 2011 at 3:04:07 pm

Hello cow people.
I searched and saw that there is some info online and a lot of "converting SD video to HD" in the forum.
I guess my question is in that area,
I have a lot of bad looking footage (different type of qualities/ sources etc...)
I need to compile a video out of it and would like to know/hear/read suggestions;
Are there any methods/plugins of making a bad looking video look a bit better?
I always tried to avoid situations like that, but now I am really interested.

I assume that nowadays there are some technics to fake a piece of footage to look better and less pixelated.

I am not trying to convert or re-size the frame, I would like to stay in the same size but a better looking size... :-)

I know it sound very general, but maybe there are some general ideas in stepping up low quality footage?

Thank you, and would appreciate any input.

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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Faking better quality look to bad footage
on Nov 6, 2011 at 8:34:28 pm

If the source footage is bad, I can't see how you can make it look better... All I can think of is to apply a stylized look to it. Not knowing what kind of footage this is nor the what the final piece is for, it's hard to give any advice. Can you be more specific and maybe post some stills or clips...

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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steve agriosi
Re: Faking better quality look to bad footage
on Nov 7, 2011 at 12:23:05 am

I agree with Ted.
Some times the only option is to alter the look and hide some artifacts.
However a temporal process may work and heal some low resolution clips.
A temporal denoise with pixel estimation technology would
add-multiply pixels within the same frame for each one,
except for those in the very beginning / end.
So a VHS video copy will look less waving.
Topaz Labs with the Legacy plugin Topaz Enhance used to do this enhancement,
with great results in most of the cases.
Line accent was a really great plugin as a final touch in this filter pack.
There is also an Alternative.
Try InstantHD by RedGiant Software...
Version up to 1.1 were way better just because they were powered by Topaz Labs.

If you have access in Nuke with Furnace plugins, try the motion smooth filter.
Remember you should not expect re-generation just a better result.

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Adam Lewen
Re: Faking better quality look to bad footage
on Nov 7, 2011 at 9:19:31 am

I agree with you guys! it's a very general question.
I have many different shots from different sources, I might post some examples for further opinions.
I will look at the suggestions Steve posted.

Thank you!

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steve agriosi
Re: Faking better quality look to bad footage
on Nov 7, 2011 at 11:07:09 am

for your information Topaz enhance is no longer available at TopazLabs.
For me this plugin did a great job in the past.
I hope they will bring it back even better, even if DSLR got the crazy 4K resolution.


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Jim Arco
Re: Faking better quality look to bad footage
on Nov 7, 2011 at 12:05:29 pm

At ColorBurst, we do a lot of 'fix my footage.' The first thing I do is try to understand what makes it "bad footage."

Improper exposure, color balance, focus/sharpness, noise/grain, vignetting, etc can each make footage look "bad." We work through each shortcoming to improve the final image, usually starting with exposure and color-balance, then noise reduction, contrast enhancement and so on. Sometimes we have to even out the auto-exposure/auto white balance from scene to scene, or even within a scene.

There are numerous plug-ins that can simplify the job, but almost everything can be done with the tools that come with AE. So far, I have not found any magic button or plugin that painlessly fixes everything automatically.

Of course, you're never going to get that mixed lighting, 4-stops underexposed, handheld old VHS footage to look like it was shot with a tripod-mounted high-end digital cam on a properly-lit set. But you CAN make bad footage look a lot better.

ColorBurst Video

BTW - If you post some sample footage, or even still frames, I'd be glad to give you specifics on the way I'd approach it.

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