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Old August 24th, 2009, 10:03 PM   #1
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Converting REALLY stepped on footage... Oh this is good

I signed on to this project that's a bit of a historical documentary and a bit of an event. Part of it will include some action footage that was captured to 8mm film fifty years ago. The original film went to tape, VHS I'm guessing and then to DVD.

Yeah, I know. Garbage in, garbage out. Problem is that the original film is in a landfill somewhere under 30 years of disposable diapers. I ain't going out to look for it.

I have CS3 Prod Prem and I can think of three ways to do it. PP, AE or Photoshop. I've settled on Photoshop to correct and render a scene at a time. Rotoscoping is easier for me here than in AE. I'd love to deinterlace but I have no idea how to do that without losing half the quality and I have no clue as to how to do a pulldown from 16fps.

Can't punt the footage because it's priceless. And no one expects the results to look like the restored version of "Rear Window".

Thoughts? Words of encouragement? Suicide tips? All welcome.

I'll do almost anything to preserve history up to and including sacrificing minor body parts. I have to be careful nowadays since I'm old and I have few minor parts left.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 09:46 AM   #2
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Definitely de-interlace using AE first, and render out to (PNG/TIFF) stills for PS work. Not sure exactly what the best 29.97->16 pulldown method would be, but AE gives you the most flexibility once you get a feel for controlling the footage framerate, the composition framerate and the output framerate. The interlacing could actually be a benefit, depending on how it originally went to VHS: you may have two good independant images of every film frame that you can blend into "true" 720x480 images.

I'd be willing to set up a sample AE project for the task, but I'd need a snippet of your data to start from.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 11:23 AM   #3
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I hope you understand how big the job is that you are considering. If you convert to progressive, there are 30 frames per second. That translated to 1,800 frames per minute. So if your video is just 30 minutes, there are 54,000 frames. That't 54,000 frames! - - And you are going to load those a frame at a time into Photoshop!
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Old August 25th, 2009, 11:29 AM   #4
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These folks are the BEST in the world at doing what you are trying to do:

Lowry Digital

Contact them and see if they can offer any guidance.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 12:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew J Morin View Post
Definitely de-interlace using AE first, and render out to (PNG/TIFF) stills for PS work.
I'm with you on using AE but deinterlacing will cost me half the resolution. I'm not sure that's really worth doing. I know that AE will interpolate the missing lines but will that soften some already soft footage too much?

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Originally Posted by Andrew J Morin View Post
Not sure exactly what the best 29.97->16 pulldown method would be, but AE gives you the most flexibility once you get a feel for controlling the footage framerate, the composition framerate and the output framerate.
I tried all the remove pulldown options in the Interpret Footage function but none worked. Of course it was looking for a 24fps underlying source. What other options are there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew J Morin View Post
The interlacing could actually be a benefit, depending on how it originally went to VHS: you may have two good independant images of every film frame that you can blend into "true" 720x480 images.
That sounds like a jigsaw puzzle to me but it would preserve the full resolution. How would that work?
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Originally Posted by Andrew J Morin View Post
I'd be willing to set up a sample AE project for the task, but I'd need a snippet of your data to start from.
Andrew, I appreciate the offer but the "dreaded client" doesn't want any footage let out before the final project is complete, so my hands are tied.

I'm a little lost on where you're going with this but intrigued to know how you're going to get there.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 12:05 PM   #6
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...So if your video is just 30 minutes, there are 54,000 frames. That't 54,000 frames! - - And you are going to load those a frame at a time into Photoshop!
It nets out at 11 minutes, which is still a bunch but I wasn't going to convert to individual frames. I was going to import the whole video. Nowhere near as daunting that way.

However, I'm still looking for a better mouse trap.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 12:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
These folks are the BEST in the world at doing what you are trying to do:Lowry Digital
No doubt! If they were chosen to restore the first moon landing video, they'd have to be good... or the lowest bidder. (grin) Just kidding.

I'd love to have them fix it but it's not in the budget. I'll give them a call anyway. Maybe they'll let me pick their brain for a bit.

Thanks!
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Old August 25th, 2009, 12:15 PM   #8
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And you are going to load those a frame at a time into Photoshop!
Photoshop now handles video, not just stills. I BELIEVE as of CS3.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #9
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Photoshop now handles video, not just stills. I BELIEVE as of CS3.
Yep. You can open a quicktime right in Photoshop and correct away. You need the extended version.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 03:34 PM   #10
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Yep. You can open a quicktime right in Photoshop and correct away. You need the extended version.
That's nice but if you are doing frame level Photoshop style editing, how long do you think it will take to edit 19,800 frames!? (That's eleven minutes of video.)
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Old August 25th, 2009, 06:15 PM   #11
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Hi........

Somewhere "out there" in the great WWW is at least one and possibly as many as a hundred software scrips to do the job automatically, frame by individual frame.

Load it up, feed it the file, go away for a week or three and hey presto, job done.

All you have to do is find the appropriate scrip ("All" - ha!), get your hands on it, fit the largest hamster you can afford onto the motherboard (and sports pipes, slick tyres and a really cool paint job) and go fishing for a few weeks!

Easy.


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Old August 25th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #12
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That's nice but if you are doing frame level Photoshop style editing, how long do you think it will take to edit 19,800 frames!? (That's eleven minutes of video.)
You don't have to do it one frame at a time. You use masks. Apply the changes on a scene by scene basis, which is how I'd do it in Premier or AE, and the difference really isn't much. The footage sits on a timeline and the user interface is very much like any nle. The only thing I haven't sussed out is how to apply a mask only to one scene and not the whole piece.

For this project, PS is not the tool for color correction. But for rotoscoping, it will work great.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 08:50 PM   #13
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ScanCafe

I happened to listen to NPR the other morning, and heard a story about ScanCafe, a CA-based photo scanning and restoration company. You send them your shoebox of old photos, they ship them to Bengalore, India, where they scan them and restore them using Photoshop.

They also do restoration of already scanned images... you could use their services...
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Old August 25th, 2009, 10:19 PM   #14
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Ervin... as you know the big difference between motion pictures and still photos is that you have to maintain continuity between stream of frames in a movie. Not a trivial thing to do.

I expect that the offshore facility relies on a high degree of automation. Maintaining luma and color levels from frame to frame and then eliminate gate weave might be beyond their realm. But then, it might not. It's a logical extension to their business.

All that aside. I'm not sure I want to outsource my business when more than a few of my mates have been turned out for the very same reason. Not a political statement. just a personal one.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 10:49 PM   #15
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I'm beginning to think this might also be a "project management" issue.

Not as far as how you manage to perform the actual work, but more that it's time to educate the client about what is actually involved in the restoration and how far their budget (and turnaround time) will extend to do the work properly.

If you get the budget to do it right, then better still. (forgive pun) Else, it might be good to say some sort of level of "no" to the client. Just make sure you aren't subsidising their reality in the end (as you will also warp their expectations in the future).

Andrew
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