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Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer

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Tim LeonardColor restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 21, 2016 at 4:32:45 pm

Short version:
I am trying different methods, primarily in PrePro and experimenting with AE, and Speedgrade to restore some color home movies from the 1930's (Kodacolor I believe). Some of the footage has faded and lost most of the Cyan and Yellow dye layers. The look is a magenta tinted movie. I'm posting this message as both a way to ask people for ideas or methods on how to restore the missing color, and to give people the benefit of what I've discovered along the way that can help someone in a similar situation. So any ideas would be welcomed.

Long version:
I've been working on this project off and on since I was in my early teens. This means well before the digital era. My first crack at this was rotoscoping some of the footage and doing a Super 8 transfer by shooting frame by frame off the projected image from the rotoscope. The result wasn't great by itself, but it gave me today a bit of a "full color" life raft since the color hadn't faded as much in those days.

Second transfer was probably ten years later when I was working as a video engineer at a TV station and was able to do a transfer with the telecine they had to Betamax video tape. I did some crude color correction and the resulting video is just OK, but again does freeze the state of color to better than it is today.

Finally I had all footage scanned professionally to HDAVI files 1080p and from a detail and quality level this is the footage that is the 'Master" transfer and the one I'm trying to restore the color to.

Standard color grading with Speedgrade and PrePro's native tools works OK with the footage that is reasonably normal (i.e. isn't skewed to one color), but it doesn't work (at least in my limited experience level) to fix the magenta tinted footage. The best I can do is neutralize the magenta and come up with almost grayscale footage.

Therefore, one technique which seems to be beneficial is to blend the color from one or more of my crude analog transfers and only blend with the color mode. I have to manipulate the scaling and positioning frame by frame on the source footage but it works OK. This is a laborious process which if anyone has a better way of doing, would be welcomed. Nevertheless the work goes far in bringing back some green to the grass and red to the roses. (It's actually pretty magical to see a rose suddenly appear since it used to blend into the background).

I prefer this to hand tinting or colorizing which is not only laborious but never looks quite right to my eye.

I have tried rotoscoping sections in AE to bring blue back to a sky etc., but I really am trying to stay authentic and guessing what color something was isn't my preferred method.

I've read some interesting articles regarding algorithms that can do an educated guess of what color gray values represent, with the help of reference frames and other materials, but that's a concept at the moment.

I have thought about using color reference photos of the landscape depicted in the film (sugar cane fields in Cuba and Havana skylines, New England summer scenes and Florida all in the 1930's). However I'm not really sure how to pull the color from, for example, the sugar cane and water from the sample photo and use it to "Colorize" my movie. I'm imagining a clone brush tool that has a color blend mode. Of course that's fine for one frame, but what about the rest in that scene? Perhaps some combo of the cloning brush with auto-rotoscoping? Hopefully some of these ideas spark the interest of experts and/or coders who can perhaps create an add-on for PrePro or AE that will help. Does this spark anyone's interest or am I continuing my solo quest for success?


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Chris WrightRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 21, 2016 at 6:57:01 pm

a screenshot and details of effects
used would help as i can recover stuff magenta tinted up to 80% to original color with just the fast color corrector. if in fact, the scanner didn't sample at least 4:2:2, then rescan with better hardware.


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Tim LeonardRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 21, 2016 at 8:05:17 pm

Here's a screen shot of my layout:



1. The super 8 rotoscope version transferred to HDAVI

2. The 16mm HDAVI transfer showing the loss of cyan and yellow

3. The result of the color blending of 1 & 2.

4. The effect applied to 1.

Here's a link to a full size frame of 1. solo
super8transfer.jpg

Here's a link to a full size frame of 2. solo
16mmtransfer.jpg

Here's a link to a full size from of 1. color blended onto 2.
colorblend.jpg


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Chris WrightRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 22, 2016 at 1:40:18 am

i see, you're using what you got. one's blown out with color and the other has luma info but not chroma so you colorized it. Can you rescan? lol?

nice job lining things up though!

if you ever need to deflicker- try re deflicker or my free AE template'

"if you enable the text layer and scroll Gamma Clamp at gamma*10 so that the text box reads 25, it will
fix timelapse and old movie's flicker."
https://f1.creativecow.net/6154/auto-white-balance-cs3-and-up


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Tim LeonardRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 22, 2016 at 1:43:42 pm

You mentioned earlier how you could recover 80% from magenta tinted footage. Would this work for me and if so would you describe how to do it?


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Chris WrightRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 22, 2016 at 6:44:00 pm
Last Edited By Chris Wright on May 22, 2016 at 6:47:16 pm

ok well, this is 90% magenta so you will lose some data because its 8 bit 4:2:0. this is what I got nonetheless.
I only used the 16mm HDAVI transfer.


how does this look for you?
i neutralized in premiere with fast color corrector, color punched in AE, re-hue'd, then vibranced and blurred chroma.

png magenta test image
10112_magentatest00000.png.zip


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Tim LeonardRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 23, 2016 at 12:55:51 pm

Wow that's pretty good, as a start. Would you detail the steps to arrive at the result? My skills in AE are pretty weak so I'm not sure exactly what settings you're referring to. If its easier, just send me the PrePro/AE files and I'll dissect them. Thanks.


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Chris WrightRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 24, 2016 at 1:43:05 am

here ya go.

premiere cc 2015 magenta test rendered out as EXR
10114_test.prproj.zip


after effects cc 2015 color punch and final output from premiere
10116_magentatest.aep.zip


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Tim LeonardRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 24, 2016 at 2:00:17 pm

Thanks a billion (a million adjusted for today's dollars).

Are you using EXR for any other reason other than as a lossless format?

In the AE file there's a jpg called "which is better" is that just a before AE effects applied still?

Do you, or anyone else reading this, have any ideas regarding techniques or software that can "interpolate" the missing color channels using algorithms or example footage (i.e. my Super8 transfer)?

Food for thought. Perhaps teaching a plugin/utility what gray values in the original are which hue it could artificially add at least the right range of color. These "guesses" could be treated as layers and then further manually manipulated by the user ending up with a "recipe" for each scene.

I've been looking at Re: Match and it seems like it might be useful. Has anyone had any experience with that plug-in?


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Chris WrightRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 25, 2016 at 5:03:11 am

EXR supports 32bpc overbrights
"which is better" was your corrected sample. I was comparing them. It's not needed.
this video will give the basic idea how to colorize b/w.
its photoshop and you can do it in there or use AE's rotoscope feature setting colors to transfer mode color or overlay.








also, here's a small list of professional solutions for damaged film which you should use first to get a clean shot before
color correcting to remove hair, dirt etc. It is possible to do some of it in AE, just more timeconsuming.

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davincirevival/software

http://www.thepixelfarm.co.uk/pfclean/

http://www.hs-art.com/index.php/solutions/diamant-film

http://www.digitalvision.tv/products/phoenix_film_restoration/

http://www.mtifilm.com/drs-nova-overview/


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Tim LeonardRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 25, 2016 at 1:22:48 pm

Thanks, its interesting reading.

My impression is that the professional solutions may offer a bit more automation and project management, but a lot of the techniques seem to be available in the Adobe suite already. The trick is, as you say, to have enough time to wait for it to happen.

I tried a demo of DeNoise plugin on b&w footage and it took care of 70% of the grain and dust issues (I'm guessing tweaking the settings and applying multiple passes would improved that percentage further).

However, boy did it take a long time (about 4.5 hours for five minutes of footage).

One of the challenges I'm running into with these various techniques is what order to apply various "fixes". I suspect that the order effects are applied has a great bearing on the results, so part of my experimentation is to apply one or two changes, render/encode it out and do a split screen with the original footage. Once that solution is satisfactory, I will combine it with subsequent fixes. Hopefully at the end of these experiments I'll come up with the best formula.

For others that may be following this thread here's my workflow:

So far for black & white footage, I am removing any frame blending effects from the original transfer (16mm silent was 16fps, but the transfer bumped it up to 29.97fps HDTV rate) by changing the speed/duration to 200% in PrePro. Most of the time that did the trick, although stepping through some of the footage showed some frame removal on the wrong (frame blended) frame, so I adjusted that area by a percentage or so (no more than -5 or +5% from 200% speedup) to get it back in sync. I render that out and have a new 16fps (or close to it) master that I can use for frame by frame compositing, cleanup, tweening etc.

Once I finish all the corrections, I'll change the speed/duration of all clips to 50% with optical flow (or perhaps Twixtor if that does a better job). Take a look at the rendered results and mark those parts that have optical flow artifacts and further tweak those bits before producing the final rendering/encoding.

Color will probably follow the same method, but it remains to be seen what technique will work best to restore the faded Chroma.


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Chris WrightRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 25, 2016 at 2:57:30 pm

I also made a 16-24fps and 18-24fps frame blend script with edit detection that will only frame blend every other frame. and it will shut off when it sees an edit so you don't get "gloop". I'm surprised Adobe doesn't have this feature built it.

it has a lot less artifacts than twixtor/timewarp, although you can use splines to help twixtor/masks for timewarp, you're pretty much gonna end up rotoscoping anyway. Whatever framerate conversion you choose, it should be the very last step.


https://f1.creativecow.net/10063/ae-custom-5050-opacity-frame-blend-with-au...


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Tim LeonardRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 26, 2016 at 10:27:48 pm

Thanks again. I'm going to try test renderings of Twixtor vs. Optical Flow, vs. your AE method.

One thing I do see already with some of the ReVision plugins, is that they make it easy to use my GPU to speed things up. I find that since I have an ATI/AMD GPU, its hit and miss what gets sped up in many cases. Next time I buy a PC I'll stick with nVidea hardware.

I have a nVidea card in an older PC, but its really only good for some Media Encoder work (perhaps this project during a final pass).

I wish it were easy to set the second PC as a render server for Media encoder without having to copy all the source files over first. Adobe should work on getting that together so that rendering can be distributed among servers like in 3d work freeing up the editing machines to do the manual stuff. Do you know of any solutions to hand Media Encoder renderings to secondary PC's?


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Chris WrightRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 27, 2016 at 2:56:53 am

AE can network render image sequences, then simply reimport into AME for final output

http://blogs.adobe.com/creativecloud/installing-after-effects-cc-render-eng...

quick video how to setup AE multimachine network render







There is no premiere or AME render farm solution yet, but if you wanted, render out different parts of the premiere timeline as custom sequence on different computers with shared network folder.


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Tim LeonardRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 27, 2016 at 6:53:57 pm

Oh well, after following your suggestions about multimachine rendering in AE, I found out that the most recent version doesn't support it anymore and according to the link below

http://blogs.adobe.com/creativecloud/features-not-available-in-after-effect...

It probably won't be coming back.

I'm quickly running into multiple slowdowns with a lot of these techniques which makes me think of which are most important.

I'm finding Twixtor less helpful due to its inability to lengthen the duration of the clips slowed back down to the final frame rate within the original sequence. Its confusing to do the embedded sequence workaround especially when other effects are applied. I'll refocus on the final frame rate slowdown later since as you said its at the end anyway. Optical Flow could suffice, if I figure out how to better control the anomalies.

DeNoise does a good job making the black & white footage less grainy and dirty. I will have to do some AE rotoscoping too but, as the docs say its a good first rinse for dirt removal. Optical Flow and Twixtor do a great job making the film look smoother, so that's definitely worth the added time involved. deFlicker doesn't add enough benefit to the look so I think that's out.

One thing that show's up is uneven exposure and fading which looks like a weaving in and out of overexposed to underexposed vertical areas on the left and right of the image. I think this may have been accidental exposure when my grandfather removed the film from the camera for processing, although it could be age related.

My first thought is to find a way to adjust the levels (perhaps with a gradient mask to return the overexposed parts closer to normal). Hopefully with Bezier curves the changes will not introduce additional flicker. Is there am effect that can do this? I noticed that the AutoLevels effect does have a temporal setting, so perhaps it can average out the levels over the coarse of the weaving. Any ideas there?


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Chris WrightRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 27, 2016 at 7:15:22 pm

1. AE 2014 can open AE 2015 projects. you can easily download previous adobe versions so I don't see a problem there.

2. RE deflicker fixes rolling bands and flicker
http://revisionfx.com/products/deflicker/

3. does the exposure change like a square of brightness moving across the image?


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Tim LeonardRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 27, 2016 at 7:36:25 pm

I didn't know that AE 2014 could open 2015 files, I'll look into that, especially to speed up some of your AE recepies.

The fading looks more like a pin-cushion effect with the negative of the pin-cushion showing the fading.

Doing a quick levels adjustment brings back some detail, but I'm not sure if its to weird looking in the end, even with masking etc. Just want to make sure that I'm not overlooking a simpler or quicker solution. Again, I've got to be practical as to what's worth the effort and rendering time to do versus the result.

I'll look into the deFlicker again on some sample footage. To be fair to ReVision, I'm sure if I wasn't working just with the demo and had a budget and time to really understand how to use the tools at their best, I might get better results. Its just that at the moment my tests with their plug-ins take about 1 hour per minute of footage, so its not quick evaluating whether they're worth it.

Have you had any experience comparing ReNoise to the built in noise reduction methods from Adobe? I normally don't use them since applied quickly the results soften and loose too much detail, but perhaps they can do a similar job to ReNoise and I can save a few bucks?


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Chris WrightRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 27, 2016 at 8:35:39 pm

neatvideo is better/faster/cheaper $74vs99

neatvideo has optimize function to render faster and gives better results without blurring.
denoiser doesn't multithread very well as you have probably found out.

the pincushion effect moves? i'm just trying to imaging a simple distortion that could be alpha'd out in AE as shift effect lightness, then again, I don't know what it looks like.

You could probably make a simple AE script that averages 5 adjacent frames's lightess level and mattes parts of frames in combination with my auto flicker repair template or read how RE-delicker removes rolling bands which is way more complicated.

In essence, reverse engineer it:

It would probably be 10 duplicate layers offset in time, on top of each other-precomped over and over again till a final luminance survives with, probably a standard deviation to remove errors(ie. camera moving or new scene), then just add/subtract brightness as an adjustment layer alpha matted.


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Tim LeonardRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 27, 2016 at 11:12:16 pm

I'll check out neat video, hopefully it'll work with film grain and dust rather than digital noise.

Regarding the pin cushioning, it definitely moves, more like a "breathing" rhythm. But the pincushion does not change axis just breathes in and out. The fade level varies, so its definitely a analyze how far off the negative cushion areas are from the middle (which may be well exposed). Anyway, I'll put that on the back burner for now. Thanks again for all your help. I wonder if anyone else reads this thread? I was hoping others who've done some restorations of their own would share their experiences.


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Chris WrightRe: Color restoration project on Regular 16mm film transfer
by on May 28, 2016 at 8:50:06 pm

here's another plugin you can compare for that exposure problem.

digital anarchy's flicker free
http://www.digitalanarchy.com/Flicker/main.html







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