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Filter to recover "lost" highlights

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Jim Arco
Filter to recover "lost" highlights
on May 10, 2010 at 2:46:10 am


I am sometimes asked to "improve" video shot under poor circumstances or with low-end equipment. It is not uncommon to get footage with deep shadows and blown-out highlights in the same scene. A few days ago I posted about using RAW files in AE. Converting the footage to a TIF sequence and then OPENing AS RAW gives me ACR's 'recovery' slider, which can work wonders on blown-out highlights. (I think I read that it uses the channel with the most highlight-detail to generate detail in the other channels of the blown-out areas.) Since the TIF/RAW conversion is a bit cumbersome, let's try going in a different direction:

Anyone found a good plugin or workflow to handle this situation? I have tried AE's shadow/highlight and Tiffen's ultra contrast. Both of them do a pretty good job. But neither provides the improvement that I can get from the 'recovery' slider in the RAW interface window.

Anyone have a good workflow to make two copies of the footage to work on the highlights and shadows separately then merge the two layers back together?



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Chris Wright
Re: Filter to recover "lost" highlights
on May 10, 2010 at 3:46:09 am

1. photoshop extended you could import as AVI
2. build custom AE alpha mattes
3. a free plugin for FCP, "Captain's Blowout Fixer"
This plugin lets you selectively substitute one channel for another in the over exposed areas and color correct it to match.

http://pistolerapost.com/pluginz/

http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Chris Wright
Re: Filter to recover "lost" highlights
on May 11, 2010 at 1:31:48 am

If you don't have ps extended, I made a free AE cs3 template you can use. It will automatically restore highlights and shadows by filling in available channels.

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=NHB27F00

http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Jim Arco
Re: Filter to recover "lost" highlights
on May 11, 2010 at 3:15:09 am



WOW - Talk about answering the question!

Many thanks, Chris, for taking the time to provide a great template. It will take me a bit to understand what is going on in this project, but I am sure it will be worth every minute.

BTW your Technicolor projects have been very helpful to me. Even though I only occasionally need a technicolor look, I used the many ideas in your templates to develop several templates of my own/ These are used frequently for projects I am working on.

Thanks again.


Jim


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Chris Wright
Re: Filter to recover "lost" highlights
on May 11, 2010 at 3:10:49 pm

np, I also added a recovery and exposure slider. You can get amazing results in seconds.

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=2OYYTCIM

http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Jim Arco
Re: Filter to recover "lost" highlights
on May 13, 2010 at 11:42:25 am

OK Chris, you've done it again! I just replace the 'missing image' file with my footage and blown-out highlight detail comes back. Sorta like creating detail from an thin air, I guess.

Your magic is appreciated. Thanks again.


Jim


Wanna tackle that overzealous edge-enhancement typically found on footage from consumer-grade camcorders....? ;-)


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Chris Wright
Re: Filter to recover "lost" highlights
on May 14, 2010 at 7:32:51 am

There are a million and one ways to blur footage but I believe you are looking for a way to reduce the edge contrast. I simply inverted an unsharp into an alpha matte. It gives you a lot of control over what are defined as edges. I also added in a edge enhancer which expands edges cartoony.

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=Q6G4QI70



http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Jim Arco
Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on May 14, 2010 at 2:44:48 pm

I'm pretty sure you're not sitting there waiting for my questions - but it almost seems like it.

You are correct, by 'edge-enhancement' I mean the artifact that is produced by most camcorders. Edge-enhancement can be from oversharpening, or even an edge-finding algorithm that produces an outline around objects in an image. It seems the less expensive the camera, the more edge-enhancement the manufacturer wants to add (probably to make up for the lack of any real resolution.) We have been using a combination of find edges and compound blur to reduce the artifacts in footage from older/inexpensive camcorders.

Once again, Chris, you've given me another way to think about solving the problem. Depending on the source material your solution seems to work better (quite a bit better in some cases.)

Seems to also have the added bonus of reducing some of the noise and/or compression artifacts.

Thanks for sharing.


Jim
ColorBurst Video


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Chris Wright
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on May 18, 2010 at 5:30:07 am

I made an improved edge softener that uses levels, shift, and smart blurs. It is setup with easy sliders. It should mask DCT blockiness a lot easier/faster.


http://www.megaupload.com/?d=UJOXBT6G

http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Jim Arco
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on May 18, 2010 at 3:06:26 pm

...another BIG thank you....

The addition of the "tolerance" sliders, and the "draft mode" was a great idea. Methinks you may have a marketable product here! Then again, maybe I'm the only one trying to improve video that was shot in the stone-age.


Jim


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Chris Wright
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Jun 9, 2010 at 11:13:43 pm

I made a free blow out update.

1. Saturation that works like photoshop's vibrance
2. Local contrast that works like Topaz adjust
3. stronger soft layers to make up for not being in 32bpc

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=FTSBTXUM

http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Jim Arco
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Jun 19, 2010 at 12:09:55 pm

I'm back from a bit of vacationing and had some time to work with your latest wizardry.

The latest additions make this project even more useful. Even better, working through your project gives me many new ideas about how to better use AE.

Many thanks for taking the time to provide this.


Jim


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Chris Wright
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Jun 21, 2010 at 9:44:36 pm

Hi again, good news, I managed to squeeze a few more gigawatts out of the blow out fixer by add a new slider. Here's the update...

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=7T8L00DR


http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Jim Arco
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Jun 22, 2010 at 3:49:43 am

OK, I set it at 1.21 jigawatts (as instructed by Doc Brown) but now my PC seems to be time-traveling in a DeLorean. ;-)



Thanks, Chris. Looks good - I'll have to play with this on Tuesday afternoon when I have a bit more time.


Jim



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Chris Wright
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Nov 3, 2010 at 3:25:13 pm

this is another way to do it...

have you ever wished that it was easy to fix your blown out footage with missing highlights and/or dark shadows were fixed with a single click. Now they are. You can even tweak your footage to look like HDR in a few seconds even if you don't own 2 cameras and a beam splitter.


AE CS3 HDR and highlight recovery.ffx
http://www.mediafire.com/?0bj2qpb6368rg1o

http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Jim Arco
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Nov 4, 2010 at 8:04:14 pm

Shadow/highlight has become one of my most-used effects, particularly for low-light or contrasty lighting, and for footage from low-cost camcorders.

It still seems like I can still get a bit more detail by converting the footage to a RAW image sequence, but shadow-highlight works pretty well for most of the stuff I get.


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Chris Wright
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Nov 5, 2010 at 1:04:10 am

I appreciate your feedback. I wrote a new project that is 10x better than my last one and I believe 2x the restore capability of RAW.





ae cs3 aep highlight restore
http://www.mediafire.com/?56nsdsjbnkw2jlz

http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Jim Arco
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Nov 5, 2010 at 2:51:52 am

When I first started using AE to improve consumer-grade footage, I took it as a personal challenge to see "how much better can I make this."

I've learned some tricks over the last few years and developed a few techniques of my own. I tell folks that I can never make your footage look like it was shot with a high-end camera on a well-lit set, but I can make it look better - sometimes a LOT better.



The latest incarnation of your highlight recovery project is simply amazing. I haven't done an A-B comparison, but it does look like you have exceeded the recovery capabilities of RAW. It will take me a while to work my way through your project to see what is going on in there.

Great work.... and thanks!


JIM


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Chris Wright
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Nov 5, 2010 at 7:23:46 am

added improved shadow restore built in so you can turn a cave into daylight.

ae cs3 aep
http://www.mediafire.com/?o5724wvxd07mkv7

http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Demetris christodoulides
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Mar 18, 2013 at 12:26:55 am

Dear Chris, are these templates and everything you made, still available? please pm or email at christodoulidesd@gmail.com, thank you very much in advance!


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Anmol Mishra
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Feb 7, 2016 at 11:13:31 am

Hi. Just wondering if anyone still has the script. Perhaps if you could email it to me. Cheers.


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Chris Wright
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Feb 7, 2016 at 12:16:03 pm

ae cs5.5 blowout fixer will repair blow out sky and dark in 32bpc and now supports 8bit video in soft and vivid modes
https://f1.creativecow.net/6445/6445

dv to film has an edge blur feature taken from dct repair. you can unselect the texture, color, grain layers.

https://f1.creativecow.net/8107/free-convert-dv-to-film-with-slider-control...


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Anmol Mishra
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Feb 7, 2016 at 2:50:14 pm

I downloaded it. Do i just replace the jpg with the video file? I tried adding a file to final comp but nothing happened. Many thanks


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Chris Wright
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Feb 7, 2016 at 3:44:55 pm

in almost all my templates, you have to replace the media/footage/video file with your own. That's because it itself is used to "do stuff".

Also the aspect ratio, comp size may not match your own, so you might need to run a jsx script to update composition parameters.

trust me, If I made .aex files, it would be fully automatic. I just don't have time.


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Matt Young
Re: Reduce enhancement artifacts WAS:recover "lost" highlights
on Jul 6, 2016 at 12:09:12 pm

Apologies if I'm overlooking something obvious:

Chris, I'm trying to use your template to remove some unfortunate glare off a bald head. I've replaced the .jpg in your project with my video file and then resized all the compositions in the project to match that video file. However, I'm not seeing any changes in the "final" composition, but I am seeing an expression error in the "unsharp precomp" composition which reads:

"layer named 'Local Contrast Inhibitor' is missing or does not exist. It may have been renamed, moved..." etc.

I haven't renamed, moved, deleted any layers in the template. Do you have any suggestions for fixing this expression?

Many thanks.


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