Restoring old home video

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Linwood Ferguson

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Restoring old home video

PostSun May 24, 2015 3:54 pm

OK, I realize many of you are doing serious video and feature film work, so hope you will forgive a less serious question.

I did a bunch of video in the late 80's and 90's, which were later transferred to DVD. They are awful, not only did I not know what I was doing (and frequently someone else ran the camera), sensors back then were pretty bad on consumer gear. And the transfer to DVDR was questionable.

I've loved Resolve so far for fixing it up -- I can edit out the really bad parts, and many cuts with weak color were nicely fixed with the resolve color tools (being a still photographer that's what attracted me to Resolve).

My question is this: Are there tutorials out there (free or not) that specifically address this kind of work? I've spent a lot of time with tutorials on regular color work, and while I am hardly competent at it in this audience, I can see that the approaches are just not working

Or conversely are there any (affordable for home use) tools better for this?

Here are a couple examples.

This isn't awful, it was poor light and shadows, and the result is washed out, but at least a bit of skin tone came back (that's tracking on the kid). Yet the bed and room just don't have much color left to emphasize. There's a lot of color noise (and I'm using Lite so I get that may be an issue).

WashedOut.jpg
Washed out colors
WashedOut.jpg (49.1 KiB) Viewed 4401 times


I've got quite a few cases like the below. The left is uncorrected but the right is a prior frame. The grey grass is not real -- just somehow in the original it is 100% desaturated-- in the corrected version it is still grey, but only in about 80% of the frames in this clip, the rest it just pops back in as green (as shown on the right). Haven't a clue what that is. Again, the left is with no corrections. It's some kind of flaw where certain colors just plain disappear in saturation. I have some pool shots where the surface is all blue (correct) and complete grey, where random areas of just colorless. And I can't find a reasonable way to re-color them (maybe there is no way).

FlawedColor.jpg
FlawedColor.jpg (56.51 KiB) Viewed 4403 times


And these below I have huge numbers of. Unlike the above two, I think I may eventually be able to fix these as I get better, but in shade that camera just gave an incredible muddy look. Bringing up the areas (like the crossing figure in shade) can be done with moving masks, but again, LOTS Of these, and wondering if there might be a better initial global fix that might preclude a need to do so much spot work. Which is why I wonder if there are tutorials more aimed at recovering really bad initial captures.

Mud.jpg
Mud.jpg (28.69 KiB) Viewed 4402 times


By the way, I'm more than happy if the response is "Resolve can do this, just get better" and I'll keep working at it. But if the real answer is "you just can't do much with this crap with Resolve" it may save my walls from banging my head on them.

But if there are pointers to tutorials or software addressing really, really awful captures it would be helpful.

By the way, I did some hunting and found software aimed at film recovery, but everything I found was for feature film recovery type budgets. These videos are important to me, but don't merit 5 and 6 digit costs, clearly.
Linwood Ferguson
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waltervolpatto

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Re: Restoring old home video

PostSun May 24, 2015 5:08 pm

I think is a matter of experience and there is a limit in what you can do:if a color is completely vanished is not coming back any time soon.

For the scene that does not have any more color left, if the sentimental value is important, turn them in Niskayuna and white. ..
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waltervolpatto

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Re: Restoring old home video

PostSun May 24, 2015 5:37 pm

waltervolpatto wrote:I think is a matter of experience and there is a limit in what you can do:if a color is completely vanished is not coming back any time soon.

For the scene that does not have any more color left, if the sentimental value is important, turn them in Niskayuna and white. ..


I meant black and white. . (Darn autocorrector)
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Linwood Ferguson

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Re: Restoring old home video

PostSun May 24, 2015 5:43 pm

Thanks. B&W has fixed a lot of my bad stills.

I'll continue to put a few more head shaped dents in the wall. I just found some examples of using the color match adjustments as an alternative (even with no color match). Kind of like photoshop there's just WAY too many paths to the same general area; takes a while to explore them all.
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waltervolpatto

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Re: Restoring old home video

PostSun May 24, 2015 5:49 pm

is a color is very noisy, you can smooth some of the sd error of you right click on one node, turn yuv, and then I the rgb (sharpen/soften) panel you want to sharpen a bit the Luma (first bar or red) and blur a bit the chroma (green and blue bar)
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Marc Wielage

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Re: Restoring old home video

PostMon May 25, 2015 3:38 am

Linwood Ferguson wrote:I'll continue to put a few more head shaped dents in the wall. I just found some examples of using the color match adjustments as an alternative (even with no color match). Kind of like photoshop there's just WAY too many paths to the same general area; takes a while to explore them all.

Color match is not the answer. Just learn to color-correct. There are more than enough controls within the primary pallet to fix old videos like this. Temporal NR and a little sharpening may also help.

There are numerous tutorials out there on how to start, and the manual is also very good. You can't get miracles out of 25-year-old VHS/DV material, but I would bet you could make it 20-25% better, make the whites white, the blacks black, and pop some reasonable chroma back into the scene.

The paid tutorials from Ripple Training, FXPHD, and MixingLight are all very good and recommended. Each of them has pros and cons, but they'll definitely take you from the basics to the point where you can actually run the program in a couple of days. The advanced stuff will take more time, but for just home movies, you can get there. Be warned that your material has been stepped on three times: first, it was shot on VHS; secondly, it was transferred to DVD (which added digital compression); third, it was exported as some kind of compatible video format, which has its own compression. Ideally, I would take the VHS tapes and transfer them directly to QuickTime 422, which would be minimal loss and avoid the extra steps. Some high-end industrial VCRs like the JVC BR-S822 do an exceptional job of cleaning up the tapes in playback.
marc wielage, csi • VP/color & workflow • chroma | hollywood
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Linwood Ferguson

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Re: Restoring old home video

PostFri May 29, 2015 10:15 pm

Walter and Marc, thank you for the response, and my apology for lack of a reply -- for some reason it didn't send me an email for either.

Walter, I will try that. I did one with different color encoding in a tutorial, but didn't quite get it, so I will go back and look further. But then again I never really got lab vs rgb in photoshop either, and I suspect this is related, how one gives more leverage.

Marc, I have been through many of the tutorials, unfortunately most start with fairly decent quality video. I am finding (though I cannot tell you exactly why) that starting first with the adjustments at the bottom of the color match panel to keep the colors from clipping first, and crank up a bit of color, then work more easily when I move forward (I am not using color match obviously as there's no shot with a card).

The node order I am using (advice welcomed) is adjust there, then general levels to get better balance (only half paying attention to color), then color itself (white highlights, black shadows, then crush the blacks a bit and finally work on general mid-range color), then saturation (over-do it a bit, then adjust on the sat-sat and sometimes sat-lum or sat-hue curves), then if needed masking and tracking for an individual to tweak color, then final tweaks in RGB curves.

I have done most of the free tutorials I can find. I kept looking at the non-free ones, but had not figured out which to jump in for yet. Thanks for the recommendations. Ever look at Filmsimplified? They are $39 for a lifetime membership, and at least the list of topics is pretty long, not sure if they are any good. I'll go look more closely at the ones you mentioned.

I do have a question though. You said:

first, it was shot on VHS; secondly, it was transferred to DVD (which added digital compression); third, it was exported as some kind of compatible video format,


I'm ripping from DVD to disk with MakeMKV, and my impression was that pulling into an MKV I was not re-encoding. I go from there to Prores 422 with FFMPEG. Am I correct that the MKV step is not re-encoding, so is (as a step) lossless? I think I can go straight to Prores 422 from DVD with FFMPEG, if needed, but it was handy having it off DVD first for reruns and experimenting.

These are sVHS tapes, which while it is probably giving me a bit more resolution, has become a pain - few companies still have decks that do them (at least around here) and those are awfully old themselves. Most have newer and probably better regular VHS decks. So yes, I'm suffering a bit in the conversion. My sVHS deck bit the dust probably 10-15 years ago.
Linwood Ferguson

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