Converting videotaped content to digital is important because the images will deteriorate – if they haven’t already – and you will lose the special moments and memories forever
Improving Video Quality is One Click Away
Andy Marken | vReveal
Improving Video Quality - Even Old Content - is One Click Away
Author: G.A. "Andy" Marken, Marken Communications Inc
Even with today’s low-cost, high quality cameras and ubiquitous camphones is that the results are usually less than great viewing quality.
Unless you’re carrying a bank of photo lights around the video is usually a little on the dark side.
No matter how hard you try to hold the camera steady the video is shaky.
Often the focus is a little off and there are video noise artifacts that make the final movie a little “uncomfortable” to watch, especially when everyone expects to watch theater quality videos of the kids events, family activities and special moments.
If you’re converting old family/friends videotapes to digital the problem becomes even worse.
You not only have to handle all of the issues listed above you also have a video quality that is well VHS quality.
Ten to 20 years ago it was exciting quality but once DVD movies were introduced it was easy to see that the quality could be better…a lot better.
But converting the videotaped content to digital is important because the images will deteriorate – if they haven’t already – and you will lose the special moments and memories forever.
For converting your analog content to digital you could use a Firewire to USB cable to connect your camera to your computer. Or there are a number of low-cost, easy-to-use USB video capture adapter devices that include an S-video cable for the best quality possible.
Once you have all of your personal and family videos digitally saved on your computer hard drive, you’re ready to clean up the video and make it look clean and crisp…something people will want to sit down, enjoy a bowl of popcorn and watch.
Family members and friends who are “seasoned” videographers will tell you this is when the real work begins. They’ll describe their long evenings and lost weekends slaving over a cold keyboard in the glow of their monitor to rescue poor quality video and turn it into a breathtaking movie.
That’s now a thing of the past.
Drawing heavily on its patented “CSI”-style super-resolution technology--used by national, regional and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies--MotionDSP Inc. (www.motiondsp.com) recently introduced a consumer video enhancement solution for Windows PC users.
Called vReveal (www.vreveal.com), the software instantly cleans up videos that are shaky, dark, noisy or blurry.
While the software works well with recent-generation multi-processor Windows-based personal computers, it provides optimum performance when coupled with the massively parallel processing power in NVIDIA® CUDA™-enabled GPUs (graphic processor units).
By taking advantage of the economical and powerful NVIDIA CUDA-enabled video cards, vReveal can enhance flawed video up to five times faster.
While vReveal is a consumer level product, it has the power and built-in features to improve consumer video in minutes for fast-turn around news production.
The software can dramatically improve the quality of videos captured by cell phones, digital cameras and other handheld devices as well as older videotape content.
Hiding much of its forensic post production clean-up, the software uses familiar one-click touch-up tools (Figure 1). Within a few minutes, even an intern can stabilize, brighten and sharpen flawed videos.
Figure 1: The "one click fix" controls make vReveal incredibly easy to use.
Priced at only $50, vReveal has the unique ability to increase detail in low-resolution videos and to remove video “noise,” such as graininess and pixilation (an effect where you can see the initial pixels so the video doesn’t look smooth). If you want to produce stills photos, you can even use it to capture print-quality images from the finished videos.
Figure 2: Multi-frame analysis is the basis of super-resolution technology.
The software enhances video using advanced, unique super-resolution technology. Dr. Sean Varah, MotionDSP’s CEO, explained that the firm’s patented algorithms literally reconstruct each frame in a video with better detail by analyzing the information available in the surrounding frames (Figure 2).
For people who want to “fine tune” the video before showing it to friends and family or copying the movie onto DVD, the software also provides advanced, drill-down enhancement controls for each of the key video improvement functions.
Figure 3: Partial view of fine tuning controls. Advanced users can tweak noise removal, sharpening, deinterlacing, color, contrast, and more.
Reveal directly imports .AVI, .MPG, .ASF, .WMV formats. If you have QuickTime installed on your system, the software will also play .MOV, MPEG 4, and .3GP files. Once the video is completed and you are satisfied with the post production work, you can save your movie to Windows Media (WMV) or uncompressed AVI.
The software will save your enhanced videos to 720p (1280x720 HD) resolution and lower.
The MotionDSP vReveal software works with Windows XP or Vista running on a system using an Intel or AMD 1.6GHz CPU and 1GB RAM. For optimum performance and to take advantage of NVIDIA’s GPU acceleration, it is recommended that users also have an 8-series or higher GeForce video graphics card installed.
If you want to test the software’s quality and performance on your own computer and videos download a free 30-day copy of vReveal from www.vreveal.com.
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