Category Archives: Editing

Topaz Video Enhance AI Review – Delphineous

This review represents what I think of Topaz Labs Video Enhance AI, after using the product over a few weeks in quarantine with various video types.

Source: Topaz Video Enhance AI Review – Delphineous

I am working with the trial version currently. My thoughts based on my tests – so far:

For upscaling high quality HD video (shot on a Lumix GH-2 originally) to 4K, this works very well with a noticeable detail improvement. Looks more like 3K video than 4K, but it is a very nice improvement.

For upscaling old 640×480 video, the enhancements are very limited. Depending on the upscale model used, the enhancements could look a bit like over done noise reduction with sort of a cartoon quality to the final result. I did use it successfully on some old archival footage (from poor quality B&W film) and it did a subtle bit of noise reduction which was useful, but not super valuable for the effort it required. Better noise reduction would have also looked frame to frame to identify dust and scratch marks and eliminate them – but I did not see that happening.

Some reviewers (like the one reviewer above) say they have ripped high quality SD DVD content and gotten relatively good upscale results to an HD-like level.

My view is that Video Enhance AI has some value in noise reduction of old films, but didn’t remove dust and scratches. At $199, its fairly pricey and time consuming to process old films with only a small benefit. If instead, the goal is to upscale some old HD video – those results are quite noticeable and good. If you need that, it might be a handy tool to have available.

Another product Topaz Gigapixel AI provides upscaling of still images. Some people have output video to JPG images and the used Gigapixel to upscale all of the images. I found Gigapixel only works on relatively high quality images. In other words, don’t try to scale up a 640×480 image – its barely usable. However, you can upscale an HD still (1920×1080) to a pseudo 4K (3840×2160) image. The more detail you start with, the better the upscaling.

I took some 16 megapixel images and did a 2x upscale – and this did indeed produce generally nice, some what more detailed, high resolution photos.

My camera (Lumix G9) has a built in high resolution mode that uses the in body image stabilization to move the sensor in tiny increments, taking 8 photos in high speed succession, and then integrating them into a super high resolution photos. This works very well for stationary subjects. Some have instead shot a conventional photo (20 MP) and then used Gigapixel to create a pseudo high resolution photo – with surprisingly decent results.

I view Gigapixel as another tool to consider – but not a panacea.

I  highly recommend Topaz Denoise AI, and Topaz Mask AI. I use both of those all the time. I also use Sharpen AI some of the time – but Mask AI has its own sharpening capabilities and much of the time, I prefer those results to  those of Sharpen AI.

Sharpen AI does have two unique features – the ability to rescue a blurred photo (from camera shake) or one that is slightly out of focus. I have tested the blurred rescue and it works quite well!

Anyway, I definitely recommend Denoise AI and Mask AI. Hands down excellent products.

Video Enhance AI is fine if used primarily to upscale HD to higher resolution – and time is not a big deal as this can take quite a while.

Gigapixel AI works very well on clean input images of good resolution. But don’t expect it to upscale poor resolution images.

Sharpen AI works well too – but sharpening is perhaps not my thing. However, I have found it did an amazing job on some blurred photos taken slightly telephoto from a moving boat. That was pretty cool.

Use the free Microsoft Research Image Composite Editor to create panorama photos

Microsoft Research makes their Image Composite Editor available for free. Use the ICE to create high quality panorama photos by stitching together many photos.

This photo was created out of 34 photos taken on a 12 megapixel point n shoot camera – the end result, after overlaps and cropping, is a 78 megapixel image.

This is a size reduced 1920 pixel wide version of the original. On the original, I can just about zoom in to cars on the bridge. This photo was taken from the site of the Astoria tower, Astoria, Oregon, overlooking the Columbia River where it joins the Pacific Ocean.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Widely reported problems with Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.2 update

Apple just introduced updates to Final Cut Pro X,  Compressor and Motion. Many who have installed the updates report that Final Cut Pro X is no longer working with AVCHD files created by at least some Panasonic cameras, and reports that some Red Epic files are not working either. There are some indications this impacts 1080p 30 fps files only; however, that is probably the most popular video format for AVCHD!

Read through the Apple Support Community discussion thread for more info:

after 10.2 update- imported clips displaying black | Apple Support Communities.

I updated a Macbook Pro to OS X 10.10.3, and installed the FCPX, Compressor and Motion updates. My 1080p60 and 3840p30 (Ultra HD) clips, all shot on a Lumix GH-4 (Panasonic camera) are all working okay, so far. I have not tested 1080p30 files.

 

Lenovo security fault called reckless

Lenovo pre-installed malware on millions of computers that broke https security for months – and then initially denied the problem. This vulnerability means systems used to log in to financial, work, online sales and other sites were compromised.

Installing Superfish is one of the most irresponsible mistakes an established tech company has ever made. Reckless, careless, and appalling don’t even come close to covering it.

via Lenovo Superfish scandal: Why it’s one of the worst consumer computing screw-ups ever.

  • If you are using a Lenovo computer purchased last year, you need check for the presence of Superfish by going to this page and reading the result.
  • Lenovo’s manual spyware removal instructions.
  • As of this morning, Microsoft has updated Windows Defender to remove the Superfish digital certificate that causes the security failure in Lenovo computers. Update Windows Defender and scan your system.
  • CHANGE  YOUR PASSWORDS at secure web sites. You need to especially change your passwords at critical information web sites such as your financial accounts, health care records accounts, and online purchasing accounts as your account information had the potential of being compromised.

Lenovo puts malware on own systems that breaks HTTPS security

Read for the details: Lenovo Is Breaking HTTPS Security on its Recent Laptops | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

This is a very serious security vulnerability and Lenovo still has no fix to ensure that https is secure.

This is of interest to photographers and video shooters as the Lenovo Y50 notebook provides a 4K display screen, making it a popular choice among the photography and video community.

Visual Storytelling in a 360 Virtual Reality World

First there were stage-based plays, then 2D films, then 3D films, and now, with Occulus Rift type viewers, 3D immersive virtual reality worlds that are 360 degrees in scope.  What does that mean for story telling?

The Language of Visual Storytelling in 360 Virtual Reality. | RealVision.ae Knowledge Base and stereoscopic 3D Blog.

Good points on 360 degree lighting, sound, etc. Read the entire piece – really an eye opener as to where immersive, full surround 360 degree motion story telling in 3D may be headed.

World’s First 4K 3D Civil War Battle videos

I realized last night that the 4K 3D videos I posted on Youtube are the world’s first ever Civil War era battle re-enactments posted online in 4K 3D format. Kind of cool.

The videos were created using dual Lumix GH-2 cameras, each shooting a 1920×1080/30p video stream.

These were edited and mastered in Sony Vegas Pro and output as full width side by side videos – meaning 3840 pixels wide by 1080 high.

This is then uploaded to Youtube with several “tags” set to tell Youtube how to encode the video properly. When viewed on Youtube, two new viewing resolutions appear: 1440 HD and 2160 4K. Even if you only have a typical 2K monitor, either of the higher resolutions looks much, much cleaner in 3D!

ImportantThis remains experimental! I can only view the videos in correct format using Firefox. Chrome tells me I do not have HTML5 compliant hardware. I could play all but one video on an LG 3D TV using the LG Youtube app. However, when I played the videos on the same TV using a Sony BluRay player’s Youtube app, the videos have the wrong aspect ratio (3840×1080 instead of 1920×1080). A separate video I mastered as 3840×2160 side-by-side 3D did better, but means I have to double the file size (data rate) to get the same image quality.

We can argue about whether or not paired 2K streams are really 4K video. In one sense, they are half vertical resolution 4K. But when 4K is used to stream 3D, we end up with half size images on the left and right anyway. The effect is therefore the same in terms of what gets delivered.

Additionally, Digital IMAX theaters, as of now, are thought of as 4K theaters but they use dual 2K projectors (they will be upgrading the theaters eventually). Digital IMAX provides a more immersive and louder sound experience, but the Digital IMAX screens are just a little bigger than regular movie screens – and not like the 70 to 90 foot tall original IMAX screens.

In other words, dual paired 2K streams used for 4K 3D end up being roughly equivalent to having been shot in 4K on both cameras due to how the 3D left/right pair has to split the 4K image anyway.

Once again: Magix Movie Edit Pro NOT RECOMMENDED for 3D video editing

This is a repeat to what I wrote last fall. I made the mistake of trying to use this crappy software again to edit a 3D video. WHOPPER mistake.  Found more bugs in it again. Another night wasted with this terrible software.

MAGIX is software that one really wants to like – but I must again STRONGLY RECOMMEND AGAINST PURCHASING AND USING MAGIX MOVIE EDIT PRO FOR 3D EDITING. 

Once again: Magix Movie Edit Pro 2013 NOT RECOMMENDED for 3D video editing | 3d.coldstreams.com.

I will be deleting Magix Movie Edit Pro from my computer after this – likely the first time I have ever deleted a large software package due to so many defects. It is astounding the company took a good product (version 17) and ruined it, and has failed to fix serious defects as we come up on 2 years since its release. I am not the only one who reported the defects to them.

I once lost 40 hours of work due to Magix Movie Edit Pro defects; at this point, Magix is history. I will never use it again.

How to create 4K 3D Videos for Youtube

Using Sony Vegas Pro (and presumably newer version of Sony Movie Studio)

  • I used the MainConcept AVC/AAC (*.mp4, *.avc) codec
  • I selected Custom Frame size and set width to 3840 and height to 1080.
  • I set maximum bps to 40,000,000
  • I set average bps to 32,000,000
  • On the Project tab, I set Stereoscopic 3D mode to “Side by side (full)”
  • Upload the file to Youtube
  • Add the following as individual “tags” in the Youtube “tags” section:
    yt3d:enable=true
    yt3d:enable=LR
    yt3d:aspect=15.99:9
    yt:crop=16:9

After Youtube recodes the video, the viewer will include 1440 HD and 2160 4K viewing options. Select your 3D viewing options and select 2160 4K – note, you need a fast Internet connection. This produces a much higher quality 3D image than the normal Youtube 3D configuration.

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Using Magix Movie Edit Pro (version 13 – should work on 14 too)

  • Compress the output to an mp4 video as 3840×2160 (not 1080). This creates a vertically stretched “half frame” on the left and right – however, since its 1920 wide, we end up retaining all of the original 1920×1080 on each stream.
  • Set to side by side, half frame (didn’t work for me when I set to full frame side by side)
  • Select a high bit rate such as 40 Mbps or faster
  • Upload to Youtube with the tag yt3d:aspect=15.99:9
  • In Advanced settings, select “This video is already 3D, and then select “Side by side: Left video on left side”.

After encoding, this shows up as a 4k 2160 3D video and plays as you would expect, but at a much higher image quality.