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advice on a hi-8 project 19 Jul 2022 23:03 #121501

I have several hours of hi-8 original footage captured at 720 x 486. This was shot in 1991 for a 60 minute feature that was edited on an Amiga Toaster. I am doing a complete reboot of that edit with many, many changes.

Since I am doing new edits, new titles, new masking, new transitions, and new effects work I would like to keep everything as sharp as possible, probably with the project size at 1920x1080. The hi-8 needs a great deal of massaging no matter what I do, and I know it will not be improved by the upscaling. How would you proceed?

Would I be better off keeping the project size the same size as these captures?

I could also use some advice on any built-in effects in FCP that would improve the look of my ancient footage.

thanks for any advice!
mike enright

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advice on a hi-8 project 20 Jul 2022 02:46 #121502

There was a good discussion about uprezzing on Apple's FCP discussion board recently.

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advice on a hi-8 project 20 Jul 2022 16:43 #121507

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The line, "You can't polish a turd." from the movie Christine comes to mind here.

Your plan is to take 240 / 400 line (1st gen 8mm / 2nd gen Hi8) analog tape and magically making it somewhere close to resembling 1080 line video. That involves pulling and tugging that 480 field to cover one that's 1080... Close to 7x a greater video field. If that were indeed possible to do convincingly all the studios that shot early tape would remaster their libraries. There's a reason they don't because with money and technology at their disposal it can't realistically be achieved.



The only caveat to above comes to remastering vintage movie film. Now THAT can be captured 1080 or 4K with astonishing results providing it's done by someone who knows what they're doing.



Film from 1937 can trump anything shot in 1991 providing you're using the original source material.



There may be some kind of plugin or effect that'll improve things maybe 15% at most but any improvement beyond that being obviously evident. There's no dismissing that was the state of video back in the day and if it were me I wouldn't waste the time or the effort but keep it at is present 720 state, which is precisely what I did with all my 8mm / Hi8 / Digital 8 tapes.
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Last edit: by VTC.

advice on a hi-8 project 20 Jul 2022 21:31 #121511

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I personally think SD footage looks nice windowed-windowboxed (or just slightly zoomed in) in a 1080p HD project. Tons of documentaries utilize old SD footage. PBS Frontline comes to mind. The titles, graphics and new footage combined with the old stuff makes it compelling. In terms of upscaling.. I think adding a "film look" or grain to the old footage can sweeten it. My two-cents.

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Last edit: by zzchu.

advice on a hi-8 project 20 Jul 2022 23:46 #121515

There used to be a really great tool for doing this kind of thing, Red Giant Software's Instant HD.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090319090743/http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/products/all/magic-bullet-instant-hd

It's long gone from their current offerings, but we can emulate a lot of what it did. I used to do a lot of upressing SD to HD for fun before I could afford an HD camera. The technique was:

1. Put the footage into the highest quality process you can use, ideally 32-bit float 4:4:4. I used After Effects.
2. Do a DV artifact clean up pass on your footage. Bluring only the colour channels works (leaving the luminance channel), but it's tricky to do the conversions right (and pretty much impossible to do in Motion/FCPX). Median in After Effects was my tool of choice. It did a really good job of only effecting the crappy edges in DV. Unfortunately Motion/FCPX still doesn't have a median filter.
3. Rescale the cleaned up footage to the target size.
4. Sharpen the footage.

If you're sticking with FCPX's set of tools, I would try the denoise filter for step 2 (slight denoise to clean up footage), in a timeline (project) at your full 1080 resolution, and then use the sharpen effect or the sharpen in the denoise effect to make it look a little nicer. If you're destination is 1080 progressive, don't forget to set your project to progressive and FCPX should deinterlace it. If anything starts to look weird with the deinterlacing, look at info for the clip and change the BASIC VIEW to the SETTINGS VIEW, you can then change the field order of the clip.

If you want more sharpening tools, I have some available, including a selective edge sharpener which might work well. 

fsorvin.freeshell.org/02projects/0208sharpeningtools.html

Hope that helps.
Flemming

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advice on a hi-8 project 21 Jul 2022 10:15 #121519

I've been experimenting with exactly this approach. A lot of the artifacts are along the bottom and top edges and they disappear completely when zoomed slightly larger than the 1080 frame. Also found the Film Grain effect intriguing; adding grain seems to smooth everything a bit (though it does add a yellowish color cast I'm not sure I want).

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advice on a hi-8 project 21 Jul 2022 10:33 #121520

I don't want to zoom the footage to make it look better, nor do I expect that to happen. I'm putting it into a larger format because I want everything I'm adding (titles, transitions, masking, etc.) to look sharp when projected.

Hi-8 looks awful under the best of conditions; the zoomed footage can sometimes look better (which is weird) and often doesn't look much worse. Perhaps some sort of artifact blurring happens.

I suppose I'm looking for anything I can do to improve the overall look at that zoomed size.

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advice on a hi-8 project 21 Jul 2022 13:29 #121522

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Blackmagic Teranex Convertors supposedly do very good real-time upconversion of SD to HD.
www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/teranexmini/models

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Last edit: by cseeman.

advice on a hi-8 project 21 Jul 2022 14:49 #121523

OP has "several hours of hi-8 original footage captured at 720 x 486" - I'm wondering how that was captured and the resulting file format/codec/spec, as this would affect the amount and type of cleanup necessary to get a good result.

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advice on a hi-8 project 21 Jul 2022 15:37 #121524

I had the tapes captured at an offshoot of the old Magno Video and Sound previously near Times Square. I don't know what they used for capture but my files are all in Apple ProRes 422.
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Last edit: by enright@menright.com.

advice on a hi-8 project 21 Jul 2022 20:25 #121527

Adding grain does help a lot in reducing banding and other unsmooth artifacts.

I like the grain effect in Motion more than the FCPX Film Grain effect. If you have access to Motion, try the Add Noise effect and use the blue noise generator in it. It won't colour your footage and you can really control the subtlety. Overlay is a good blend mode to use with it too. Control the amount of grain with Amount and the intensity of the layer with the Mix.

If you really like it, you can always publish out as a FCPX effect.

If you're going to sharpen the footage, sharpen first, then add grain (or noise) to avoid sharpening the noise as well.

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advice on a hi-8 project 21 Jul 2022 20:30 #121528

I would also look at doing a colour saturation and contrast pass on the footage to get a little more punch out of it. The Hi8 camera was probably a little weak on saturation, and you're also coming from a Rec 601 colour space and putting it into a Rec 709 colour space. 709 has a bigger colour pallette, so you might as well take advantage of it.

Adding grain to the footage will help in building smoother colours (less banding).

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advice on a hi-8 project 21 Jul 2022 21:23 #121531

Yeah, I realized that I would have to play with color grading and saturation and exposure as well. I love the FCP white balance tool; that's like the Raw Camera Filter in Photoshop, a program I know well.

A lot of my scenes are coming out somewhat desaturated because the original lighting was so bright, so I'm taking them in the other direction. The Hi-8 cam was pretty sensitive to lighting sources also, huge color casts on everything. Eventually I'll have to go over the whole thing virtually frame-by-frame.

So by going 1080 and/or ProRes I'm now in this 709 color space?

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advice on a hi-8 project 21 Jul 2022 21:29 #121532

Looks like a great box, but too much for me to spend right now. If I ever get some funding, I'll uprez the whole thing again from scratch.

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advice on a hi-8 project 21 Jul 2022 22:52 #121533

Yeah, I realized that
So by going 1080 and/or ProRes I'm now in this 709 color space?

Yes, you should be in 709. Rec 709 colour space is the standard colour gamut in FCPX, unless you've set it for wide colour gamut (rec 2022). You can confirm the settings when you start a new Project or by viewing an existing project's settings in the inspector column under the "i".

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advice on a hi-8 project 29 Jul 2022 13:11 #121627

This is v interesting.

I wonder if Neat Video's "Reduce Noise" Filter could do a lot of the legwork you describe below:

......The technique was:

1. Put the footage into the highest quality process you can use, ideally 32-bit float 4:4:4. I used After Effects.
2. Do a DV artifact clean up pass on your footage. Bluring only the colour channels works (leaving the luminance channel), but it's tricky to do the conversions right (and pretty much impossible to do in Motion/FCPX). Median in After Effects was my tool of choice. It did a really good job of only effecting the crappy edges in DV. Unfortunately Motion/FCPX still doesn't have a median filter.
3. Rescale the cleaned up footage to the target size.
4. Sharpen the footage.

If you're sticking with FCPX's set of tools, I would try the denoise filter for step 2 (slight denoise to clean up footage), in a timeline (project) at your full 1080 resolution, and then use the sharpen effect or the sharpen in the denoise effect to make it look a little nicer. If you're destination is 1080 progressive, don't forget to set your project to progressive and FCPX should deinterlace it. If anything starts to look weird with the deinterlacing, look at info for the clip and change the BASIC VIEW to the SETTINGS VIEW, you can then change the field order of the clip.

If you want more sharpening tools, I have some available, including a selective edge sharpener which might work well. 

fsorvin.freeshell.org/02projects/0208sharpeningtools.html

Hope that helps.
Flemming

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advice on a hi-8 project 01 Aug 2022 03:08 #121655

Yes, Neat Video will do a good job as well.

I remember trying it out and doing an AB comparison. If I remember correctly, it might have been slightly better, but it was a lot slower in rendering.

In my experience, Neat Video had a lot of options. It's more designed for cleaning up a single shot, but for bulk stuff, man, it really took a lot of time, both in setting up the cleaning job and in processing it.

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advice on a hi-8 project 01 Aug 2022 23:34 #121671

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These days I usually recapture the 480i stuff using a RetroTink 5x and let its Adaptive Deinterlacing do it's thing. It preserves the 60fps movement while scaling to 1080p. Still soft as to be expected, but it's a great starting point as there are very few jaggies.

Not sure how you plan to recreate those Kiki Wipes from the Video Toaster. :)

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Last edit: by Redifer.

advice on a hi-8 project 02 Aug 2022 09:01 #121674

It's funny, but the one thing I really miss from the Toaster is some of the fonts that were available for titles. Since I'm doing everything over again, I've been unable to find anything like the san-serif condensed I originally chose for the project. No big deal, I'm just going with a different approach.
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advice on a hi-8 project 02 Aug 2022 13:14 #121675

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Some font-selling websites offer ways of searching for fonts via images. MyFonts.com has "WhatTheFont". From a brief search there here's a possible match or replacement for the one in your screenshot:

www.myfonts.com/products/pro-black-extra-condensed-plak-360378

aminet.net also has a bunch of fonts that were available on Amigas... Many of the fonts are PostScript T1 so they may not be in a format usable nowadays...

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Last edit: by DaveM.
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