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Upscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?

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Khashyar DarvichUpscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?
by on Aug 15, 2015 at 7:12:04 pm
Last Edited By Khashyar Darvich on Aug 15, 2015 at 7:13:03 pm

Hi Everyone,

We are wanting to upconvert miniDV to 1080, and have been researching for days on the best method.

The consensus seems to be that hardware conversions are better than software conversions (although I know that software like Red Giant's Instant HD have been recommended and praised).

We just purchased an AJA io XT (which is said that have good upconversion hardware, as well as an SDI input).

Does anyone know:

1) how good is the upconversion hardware in the AJA cards (as compared to software algorithms like in After Effects CC or Instant HD)? Are hardware conversions really that much better than software?

2) Since DV footage has a reduced color space and is more compressed than standard SD, would there be any noticeable quality difference between upscaling DV footage with software versus hardware like AJA makes?

3) If we do use a DV deck to import the footage through the AJA io xt box, would it really make that much of a difference to connect though a component connection rather than SDI?

Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts. I appreciate all of the experience and resources on the AE forum.

Producer-Director
Wakan Films
Hollywood, CA
http://www.wakan.com


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Khashyar DarvichRe: Upscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?
by on Aug 15, 2015 at 7:22:19 pm

By the way, let me add that we tried upconverting our miniDV footage through the After Effects Red Giant Instant HD plugin, and some of the footage had jagged lines and interlaced artifacts...

This is why we are wondering whether a hardware upscaling of DV footage (through io hardware like the AJA io XT) would produce better results.

We would test the hardware upscaling out, but we need to purchase a DV deck with SDI out, and would appreciate others who might have experience with this before we purchase the extra equipment.

Thank you again fro your thoughts and help.

Producer-Director
Wakan Films
Hollywood, CA
http://www.wakan.com


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Todd KoprivaRe: Upscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?
by on Aug 15, 2015 at 7:41:27 pm

Try the Detail-preserving Upscale effect in After Effects.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects product manager and curmudgeon
After Effects team blog
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Khashyar DarvichRe: Upscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?
by on Aug 15, 2015 at 9:06:48 pm

Thank you for the suggestions, Todd...

Another Creative Cow AE member also recommended AE's "Detail-preserving Upscale effect."

Do you (or your software techs) know how it compared to Red Giant's Instant HD and Hardware conversions? Were there any tests and comparisons done?

Thank you again for your recommendation.

Producer-Director
Wakan Films
Hollywood, CA
http://www.wakan.com


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Walter SoykaRe: Upscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?
by on Aug 15, 2015 at 9:50:25 pm

Do you need to separate fields in the footage interpretation to ensure this works correctly?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Khashyar DarvichRe: Upscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?
by on Aug 15, 2015 at 10:05:02 pm

Hi Walter...

Are you referring to the After Effects "Detail-preserving Upscale effect?"

Producer-Director
Wakan Films
Hollywood, CA
http://www.wakan.com


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Walter SoykaRe: Upscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?
by on Aug 15, 2015 at 10:21:22 pm

Not specifically. Any time you process interlaced footage, you probably need to separate fields.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Khashyar DarvichRe: Upscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?
by on Aug 15, 2015 at 10:38:08 pm

Yes, that's true, Walter.

My understanding is that the footage will remain interlaced unless you apply a de-interlacer.

So, I assume that by using the After Effect upscaling effect, the footage will remain interlaced once it is upconverted.

But the issue is which upscaling method produces the best image with fewest artifacts.

Producer-Director
Wakan Films
Hollywood, CA
http://www.wakan.com


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Walter SoykaRe: Upscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?
by on Aug 15, 2015 at 11:34:55 pm

[Khashyar Darvich] "My understanding is that the footage will remain interlaced unless you apply a de-interlacer. So, I assume that by using the After Effect upscaling effect, the footage will remain interlaced once it is upconverted."

Not quite. See here:
https://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/using/importing-interpreting-video-au...

I must confess I don't know offhand if either if these effects have built-in handling for interlaced material. If they do not, then separating fields would be important.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Khashyar DarvichRe: Upscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?
by on Aug 15, 2015 at 11:54:32 pm

Thank you for posting that, Walter.

I didn't know that After Effects did not automatically handle imported interlaced video well.

On that page that you shared, it does state that AE automatically process DV footage:

"After Effects automatically separates fields for D1 and DV video footage items. You can manually separate fields for all other types of video footage in the Interpret Footage dialog box."

But I believe that our DV footage was exported from FCP in ProRes 422 Codec, so if that's the case, we would need to import it differently and separate the fields.

Thanks again for your feedback and the link.

Producer-Director
Wakan Films
Hollywood, CA
http://www.wakan.com


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Khashyar DarvichRe: Upscaling DV footage with hardware versus software (AE or Instant HD) - Is there really that much difference?
by on Aug 16, 2015 at 2:55:24 pm

Thank you again for your time in sharing your thoughts and feedback...

I'm sure that there are many documentaries like ours that need to incorporate older DV footage, so I hope this helps others who have the same question and circumstance.

An update for those who also want to find the best way to upscale needed DV footage to 1080...

Again, I hear over and over that the rule of thumb is that hardware conversions are higher quality than software conversions (and now I will be testing this out).

After a lot of research, I discovered that there is a discontinued DV to SDI converter box made by Miranda called "DV Bridge." (You can purchase them used for between $200-$250)

Our plan is to connect a firewire deck/camera to the Miranda DV Bridge, output via SDI to our AJA io xt's SDI in, and then use AJA's reportedly high quality upscaling hardware to do the conversion.

Then, we can compare this to the previous Red Giant Instant HD upscale that we did in After Effects.

The hardware conversion will be in real time, so it will be much fast than upscaling through Instant HD or through the After Effects upscaling effect.

The editor who is doing the upscale for us does not have the version of AE CC that has the new AE upscaling effect, so if for some reason the hardware upscale does not look satisfactory, we will either find an editor who has the new CC version, or we will purchase the new version ourselves.

Producer-Director
Wakan Films
Hollywood, CA
http://www.wakan.com


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