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25 Jan 2021
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Remove big dust bunnies from 8mm film 09 May 2022 14:58 #120455

  • Suzero
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I have been asked to clean up this scanned 8mm film (colour correction / remove some dust and scratches).
However, there are such HUGE specks of dust that I have no idea where to start. Neat Video (tried the trial) blurs everything a bit and takes the grain out, but can't seem to remove such big elements.
Is this request even doable without photoshopping frame by frame and spending a lifetime on it?
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Remove big dust bunnies from 8mm film 09 May 2022 16:21 #120459

  • DaveM
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The first thing I'd clarify with the client is what should the end result look like? Do they want the result to look like old 8mm film or more like video? Leaving slight amounts of dust and scratches gives the video a sense that's film. That's an artistic/stylistic choice.

With Neat Video, you need to be careful and really read through the documentation and watch some examples. This isn't a one-button kind of fix.

Here's an example:


You may want to try looking at DE:Noise by RE: Vision Effects. They have a film restoration example on their website.

I've used both Neat Video and DE:Noise to good effect in the past. I haven't used it much for this kind of thing, but DaVinci Resolve Studio (paid version) has some tools that could help, as well.

Whichever tool(s) you end up using, it's going to take some time to learn the tool, in addition to cleaning things. In some cases, it can be helpful to apply the effect/tool multiple times, using small corrections on each instance.


Cheers.

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Last edit: by DaveM.

Remove big dust bunnies from 8mm film 09 May 2022 22:22 #120463

  • joema
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Fixing dirt & scratches on video after the scan is an imperfect and extremely labor-intensive process. It costs more to have specialized scanning done, but it may be worthwhile. 

Dirt and scratches can sometimes be removed during the scan by using "infrared cleaning", which was formerly marketed as "Digital ICE". This scans the film at both visible and infrared wavelengths. Since dirt and scratches behave differently in each case it's possible to remove those to some degree with minimal artifacts. In this case the film isn't physically cleaned but by processing the IR and visible scans it produces a much cleaner result. I don't know which film scanning companies offer this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_cleaning

There are also some companies that can do "wet gate" scanning and restoration. CinePost has equipment for this, but I've never used them: https://www.facebook.com/CinePostATL/

Here's an India-based company that does this: https://www.ultradigitalstudio.com/film-scanning.php

Wet gate scanning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wet-transfer_film_gate

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Remove big dust bunnies from 8mm film 09 May 2022 23:50 #120464

  • Redifer
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Clean the film and rescan (wet gate as suggested above). The film will likely need to be washed and infrasonically cleaned, but even then debris will remain. If the scratches are black, they are usually on the base side and what you see is dirt inside of the scratches. If the scratches are colored (yellow, green, white) they are on the emulsion side and part of the image has been stripped away. These are very difficult and expensive to fix either on a film cleaning level or faking it digitally afterwards.

Film-Tech in Plano, TX is the best place for film cleaning and scanning, but again it's not a cheap or quick endeavor.

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Last edit: by Redifer.

Remove big dust bunnies from 8mm film 10 May 2022 10:54 #120468

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Thanks all for the replies. The client by no means has a big budget and I have to work with the already scanned footage (1080p). So I now know I can let the client know that it's an 'almost' impossible task as part of a regular edit.

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Remove big dust bunnies from 8mm film 10 May 2022 16:09 #120473

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Not the question you asked, and the replies you've gotten already will definitely be better than anything I can provide, but if you do figure out a solution, this may ALSO be a good opportunity to use something like Video Enhance AI from Topaz. I often find myself using it for virtual recordings where the web cams are giving less than stellar images and being able to sharpen up the images and bring back detail can be really nice. (unless your client still wants that original, 8mm film look) But this footage would look really nice if you dial in the settings properly.

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Remove big dust bunnies from 8mm film 10 May 2022 19:36 #120480

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"He's done all this in three weeks but look how cockeyed he works. New wipers for a busted windshield. 'The boy does have good hands.' Good hands. Bad taste in cars. You know, Papa, you can't polish a turd." (Darnel & Papa from the movie Christine.)

This may be a bit brash for some but it's not too late to correct this disaster. You're dealing with an incredibly dismal film transfer and spending your talent and time trying to make something decent from it is akin to polishing a turd. All the examples of what to look for in a transfer are straight from my transfer station except where noted.

1 - FILM GRAIN. If you can't spot it then the definition & quality is lacking. (No grain in yours.)


2 - DEBRIS DETAIL. If dust and debris is sharp but the image isn't then it's a focusing problem at the time of capture. Sharp image or not you should still be able to identify underlying film grain. (Your specks lack sharp edges and definition with nary a crisp edge anywhere in the frame.)


3 - COLOR ADJUSTING. Dye shift will be apparent on some footage but from where I sit any time spent on correcting footage not adhering to points 1 & 2 above is pointless, Re: Polish a turd scenario. (That color is salvageable but spending 15 minutes on a soft and fuzzy frame isn't as wise as spending 15 minutes on a crisp and defined frame.)



Some people don't have any pride in what they turn out but that doesn't fly here. All the examples presented are straight from my transfer station with no post processing except where noted. When you consider the actual size of an 8mm movie frame in relation to a 1920x1080 field the ability to pick up the thread stitching on the sleeve, the second hand of the watch on down to the minute markers on the dial shows the level of detail possible if done correctly.

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Oh, and best of luck trying to find anyone willing to tackle problematic film. Miracles performed here.


Before you waste too much time polishing that disaster, consider redoing the transfer but this time using someone more competent. Everything shown here is from standard 'pedestrian' runs. PM me where to mail a reel or two & I'll run off a sample at no charge. Who knows, maybe you can get your money back from that dog.

- - - - And One More Thing... - - - -

4 - OVERSCAN. Regular 8mm film cameras often captured an image edge to edge but you'd never know it because of the 4x3 film gate. Unless your transfer company makes an effort to grab that missing areas you could be missing out on up to 14% of the captured image.


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Last edit: by VTC.

Remove big dust bunnies from 8mm film 10 May 2022 23:47 #120482

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This clip might have been tweaked using Resolve. It showed hope & promise because it was a decent transfer to begin with. It closely resembles the color cast you have to work with.

Oddly enough the next scene immediately after was fine. There's no telling what 60 year old film will throw at you next..


The following clips show that if there's even a hint of color not completely hammered into oblivion by some predominant cast you can achieve excellent results.


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Last edit: by VTC.
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