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LHTEX 07-14-2005 06:51 AM

Overwhelmed, but want to restore video: Where to start ?
I want to do digital and do not know where to begin. Here is what I want to do. I want to restore video. By this I mean I have some old Black and White video I want to sharpen up as good as I can. But I also want to make a mask or even go in and edit frame by frame to remove video time (frame) counters on some old clips that I have. This is strictly a hobby and will not be sold. There should be no copywrite troubles. Some of the material I borrowed and put to DVD which I already see was a mistake. The quality is good to excellent. Can I convert the DVD files back to AVI? I do have some of the video on high quality 3/4" u-matic tapes and I have a Sony 3/4 " player. I have used a box I got in England called an ACE to clean, sharpen and adjust contrast (it is also an analog TBC and Macrovision remover as well as a standards converter. I read all of your articles in the FAQ section and it muddied up the situation. Is there any hope of doing this on a computer? The only capture device I have is one of those Convert-X boxes from Plextor. I do not now if this will do the job. Can I do this frame by fram restoration with Premier Pro and Photoshop? Any advice you can offer would be appreciated.

admin 07-14-2005 10:52 AM

Give me the weekend to gather my thoughts on this one.

What country are you in? That will help.

And if more hardware or software needs to be purchased, what's your budget? Is there a budget? I can already suggest we look into getting you a detailer unit (maybe $50 USD, used). Hardware sharpening is always more appealing to look at than software sharpening.

LHTEX 07-19-2005 09:38 AM

I replied to your e-mail but it seems to have bounced so I am posting the parts of my e-mail that are for public consumption: Here goes:
I live in Texas so I guess that counts as the USA. I have a bunch of video equipment and no set budget. What I want to do is to take some old video (most is pretty good anyway) and put it into an edited DVD. I have gathered a bunch of rare footage but some has that darn video frame counter at the bottom and I want it gone. Some of this stuff is VHS of two-inch video that has never been released. I thought I might play around with cleaning up some bad frames and stuff like that because it was transferred from film in other cases. In fact, I have the film in a couple of cases. I bought the little box in England from GTH Electronics called an Advanced Converter Enhancer ACE) that does some pretty good work with contrast and brightness and even colors but most of what I want to do is Black and White anyway. My box has composite and S-video which is pretty much worthless for B & W I suppose. I have a Samsung SV5000W which I play through the box to a Philips DVDR985 to archive the stuff. I have a 3/4 inch U-matic playback deck. I have a good computer with an AMD Athlon 2500 (1.8 equiv) I gig of memory and 320 gigs of disk space. Soundblaster card and that Convert-X (PXM 402U) capture box with Plextor PX 716A burner. I have edited some stuff off of DVDs with WinDVDcreator2 which looks as good as the original. I used the VOB files straight from the DVD (some from DVD Shrink) and some from the Philips. I made a great DVD with fades and transitions and titles no problem so I was surprised to read it would not work. I tried it with some DVD of a sorry tape and had sync trouble with the audio. I got Sound Forge and am trying to figure out how to strip and separate the audio and video so I can fix it up and re-sync it.
I would love to have a good detailer. Tell me where to get one and which one to get and I'll get it.
I saw something on the web about a filter for virtualdub software that is designed to remove logos from video. I wonder if that will work and if it would help on the video counters? If not, I guess I'll have to make a mask or whatever you call it and hide them. In some cases I might be able to zoom some of it out. I have a three minute movie clip from poor film that I want to start on. It has two counters, the one on the source and the one they put on the 3/4 inch tape. The good thing is it is a lip sync-ed track so I can use the audio from the record or tape and that is no problem. In fact, most of my video has very good audio. One I have made of a kinescope is bad because it was recorded badly (clipped) to begin with and then put on the film in optical sound. I need to separate the tracks and then fix the audio and remux (I think that is what you call it)? I have my eye on the Adobe Video Suite 2.6 but it is $1400 ($750 teacher) and my fear is that it may be too much for me to handle (not sure). It sure sounds great and has everything including the new Photoshop CS2. I do not know how to use Photo Shop but my brother does.
Anyway, thanks in advance and let me know what I need to do to start. I can probably borrow back most of the tapes I used to get the video if I need to recapture.

Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you.


PS Why will DVD Shrink not work on DVDs recorded in my R985?

admin 07-22-2005 09:26 AM

Alright, lot of ground to cover here, so this may seem a bit stilted at time....

When working with black and white video, be sure to use a device that will remove all color from the video stream, it's never good to see a B&W video that has a pink or green tint to it. This can also be done later in software, if needed. Proc amps do it in hardware, between the source player and the digital conversion input.

Sharpening video is something that is honestly only possible in hardware. Software sharpen filters are pretty terrible and don't do much. The more you can process/filter a signal in the analog realm, the better off you are. Of course, these hardware processors cost money, but it's a good investment for anybody serious or with LOTS of videos to do. The VIDICRAFT DETAILER II, III or IV units are 1980s-1990s units, work well, and sell used on eBay for about $25-75, always a few of them up for auction. The company no longer exists. SignVideo now owns what used to be Vidicraft, and they make the STUDIO 1 DR-1000 or SIGNVIDEO DR-1000 units. These are newer and work a bit better, though run about $100 used (harder to come by) or $300 new from

Editing frame by frame is not fun. I do it quite a bit for advanced menu work, taking part of the video, and then decompiling it in, and finally editing the frames in Photoshop, one by one, usually doing special effects.

The problem with frame editing is home sources are usually not frame-by frame. Home video (VHS, tapes, DV, etc) is not progressive, it's interaced. There are no frames to edit. When I do special effect, I have to do an IVTC/deinterlace process to change that interlace into a forced progressive output. There are drawbacks to doing this, but for a menu, it's generally not noticed. You'd likely not want to do this one a large movie, as you'll probably cause more harm than good. Not to mention every 1 second of progressive video is about 24-30 images, so you can have thousand or even millions of images. For cleaning video, it's best to use video filters inside video software. We at home cannot do what Ted Turner did to clean old films, as they had film to scan one frame at a time, videos are not like that.

You can convert MPEG back to uncompressed AVI for editing, but it will not do anything for quality. To improve quality, or rather to make it more transparent to the source, you'll have to go back and re-borrow those tapes and start over.

The U-Matic is not much different than a VCR to me, same type of source. While the quality may be good, it's still on the low/medium resolution side by today's digital standards. Sounds fine. Nothing special need be done really.

ACE is a box I've heard of but never used. A timebase corrector (TBC) removes errors in a video stream, both artificial (like Macrovision and other anti-copy methods) and genuine flaws. The proc amp controls (contrast, color, etc) work decent, but are very minor compared to a full-blown proc amp. Something like an Elite Video BVP-4 or Sign Video PA-100 or Vidicraft Proc Amp will blow it away. So if you want a large control in this area, a full proc amp may be a better solution. If all you need is minor adjustment, the device you have may be fine. In the USA, they AVT-8710 is a TBC with some similar controls. I'm actually in the market myself for a new hardware converter box, but ACE was knocked off my list because it, as I understand it, deinterlaces the video to achieved the framerate conversion. I'm still researching this.

To capture on a computer, all you need is a good capture card and the correct software. Plus a bit of knowledge on how to use it. As far as the Plextor Convert-X box, I've not used one, but I've read and heard plenty about it from users. It's not the best card, and it comes Ulead software that should be okay (VS). It may also depend on which one it is, which model. Using it can also be a headache, as it deinterlaces by default and needs some special things done to make it capture interlaced.

If you did frame by frame, Premiere and Photoshop would be fine for the final stage of work. But to get your frames, it'll take a bit of work. Assembling a 90-second menu, using this method, took me about 8 hours each time, and that's me knowing what to do and working fast at it.

If my e-mail ever bounced, try to send again the next day. While I'm up 99% of the time, somebody is bound to hit that 1% window.

You are in the USA. In fact, I'm in Texas too. From your IP, looks like you're in Austin, I used to live there, some years ago. Wish I could move back. You should have no trouble buying anything I've mentioned so far, and you're on the NTSC video standard here in the USA.

The only thing you can do about a frame counter on the video is (A) ignore it, or (B) cover it up with something. You can always add your own logo/image on top of the counter, but that may be equally obnoxious. You can also mask it (cover it with black), and make the video partially widescreen. This is a restoration method I've used in the past, especially on videos that are really botched full of errors at the top or bottom of the screen. You may "lose" some picture, but it's better than have "more" picture that drives you up the wall.

S-video will do better when working with proc amps, including the minor proc amp controls in your box. Use it if you can, though don't go out of your way. Read this complex little article:

If you have actual film reels, and want it restored and transferred, there are professional houses that do it, though it can be expensive, and many of them have restrictions on content (home movies only, some of them). Dallas, Austin and Houston should each some some places that can do it, though the better ones are out of state.

I also have a Samsung 5000W unit, but on the PAL inputs, it tends to make the image vibrates because the image resizer is not very good. When using it to play tapes, it's usually fine, but could probably be better. That's why, as I mentioned earlier, I'm shopping for a new device to convert. For a VCR, I've got a JVC HR-S7965EK PAL unit.

Your computer sounds fine. Plenty of CPU, RAM and hard drive space. That's good. You'll need it. Soundcard is good, Plextor burner should be fine. I see now that you ahve the 402 Plextor box, I'll have to see what else I can learn about it. Most users seem to be displeased with it, especially the software. The Intervideo WinDVR recording software is terrible, it forcesthe deinterlace MPEG captures, not good. From the sounds of things, it's a complete software-driven MPEG capture. If you're using it ONLY for AVI capture, it is probably fine. Hopefully it works with VirtualDub: ualdub

The Phillips DVD recorders tend to add grain to video, so you may want to watch for that. I would not use anything more than 2-hour mode, but even then, it has problems with imperfect sources (like yours) that confused the encoder and spits out a lower quality product.

That VirtualDub logo-away filter doesn't work. I've seen it work ONE TIME ever, and that was from a nearly-transparent tv station logo, but even then it wasn't perfect. Those logo filters mostly just create a blob on screen that is 100 times more obnoxious than the object you oiginally wanted to remove. I would not zoom in on the video, as you tend to stretch and distort the rest of the image too much.

The Philips records video in DVD+VR format (compliant with DVD-Video), so you must extract the VOBs in IFO mode, not merely copy the VOBs direct. Make sure you've done that. Editing MPEG is also not the greatest, you may want to open VirtualDub (the modded one that can open MPEG video) and then save it as an uncompressed AVI before trying to edit.

Audio sync errors can almost never be fixed. The issue at hand is video information is dropped while audio information is not. And it's random, chaotic, so you'll likely never be able to fix it. Save yourself the hassle and just start over, re-record it. Although it need be noted that audio sync issues are not really possible with DVD recorders, because it's all hardware, so the issue may lie with the software you're using, or codecs, or something else (likely the MPEG format) confused something in the editor.

Ah, kinescopes. I have some conversions I recorded off tv (late night GSN). You need to demux with TMPGENC (goto FILE, then MPEG tools) and split to audio and video. If the audio is not WAV, convert to WAV using Besweet (guides in this forum). Then drop into an audio editor like SOUNDFORGE and fix.

I'm not fond of the Adobe Video Collection. As Bart Simpsons might say, it's craptacular. I like Photoshop, I've used it for 10 years now. Adobe Premiere, another solid piece of software. Adobe Encore, a great bit turd of a software, waste of money. Encore is severely limited, and it's a headache to use, and is the most expensive piece in that collection. You also do not "NEED" the "latest and greatest" either. Not much about Photoshop or Premiere has changed in the past few versions. Photoshop 6, 7, 8, CS, CS2 ... all would be fine. Buy one used (and legit) off eBay for under $100. Premiere 6.5, PRO ... all fine. I use 6.5 to this day, PRO offers nothing I need, though I'm not a super-advanced editor. PRO does have more "stuff" but I'm not sure it's anything you need, I know I don't need it. You can get 6.5 used off eBay for pretty cheap as well. maybe get one through an education discount, just PRO. And then for authoring software, I would say get Ulead DVD Workshop 2. It's has a very easy interface (guides on this site ARE forthcoming in August sometime), but it has very advanced features and can make professional-quality DVDs with no problem. It runs about $500, though it's cheaper on educational discounts (maybe $200-300). That's what I'd suggest. Oh, and for the record, so you know, ELEMENTS version of Adobe software are very limited, the new way of saying "LE" (limited edition). You may not want those, as they essentially take away some of the advanced options and filters.

I took the liberty of searching ebay just now, there are several auctions for Photoshop 6.0, the one I use for all my work, and 7.0, for a meager $50-80 price range. They appear to be legit too, though caveat emptor.

As far as DVD Shrink copying discs, it's not really ment to copy homemade discs off a DVD recorder. To copy those discs, do ISO mode on DVD Decrypter.

Whew ... I'm beat ... that's a lot of info.

LHTEX 07-23-2005 01:41 AM

Ahh, you are right, that was a lot of stuff. I appreciate your time. I have already gotten my money's worth. Thank you very much. I will upgrade my hardware so I can do the best job possible. I was holding off on the software, too. I have the same opinion as you thatI do not want to pay for bunch of stuff that sounds good but that I do not need. Talk to Gordon over at GTH Electronics in England about the ACE. He is a nice fellow and will tell you what you need to know.

I still have a few "dummy" questions. When you say extract the VOB in IFO is that as simple as using a program that says "save as disc image?" I guess what I am saying is I do not know how to convert VOB to IFO.

I already had the film put on miniDV with a telecine but don't know the format. If I played it into the computer what kind of file would that be? I even had one put on digiBeta but can't play it due to not having a player. Just did that for archiving.

Last one. If I already have a good copy of a tape on DVD and just wanted to cover the time counter with a black rectangle coud that be done without recapturing the video off the tapes? There would be no other editing involved.

Thanks again and let me know when I've used up my nickel.

admin 07-23-2005 08:59 AM

Part of this is not understanding how a DVD works, so I'll try to clarify that part first: A DVD is made up of "legal" MPEG video files and "legal" audio files, plus some navigation info (menus, chapters, info how to respond to buttons on the DVD player remote). Subtitles are optional and can be used too, "legal" text files. When you author, all these video and audio files, plus nav info and subs, is put inside of tidy little VOB files of 1GB or less each. The IFO (InFOrmation files) tell the player what's in the VOBs.

When you go to extract the disc, you use the IFO files to read the VOB's, so you can take the video or audio back out again. Few programs can read IFO data, DVD Decrypter is one of them, You enter IFO mode, and it shows you the videos you have available. This was the process described in this guide: redit.htm

Your DV footage is native DV. It cannot be inverse telecined (IVTC'd) because it was never telecined to begin with. Telecine is converting 24fps film to 29.97, and IVTC is convert is backwards AFTER the TC was done.

Native interlace must be deinterlaced, as IVTC will not work. At least not fully, leaves nasty oddities in the video.

As far as covering over the timecode, if a black box is what you want, that's possible, but takes some work. Personally, I'd just widescreen it with a matte. Before I go an describe this process in words, I'd like some pictures. Can you take a still image of the video and upload a sample image for me to look at? That'd make it easier than a ton of rhetoric.

LHTEX 07-23-2005 09:51 AM

OK, thanks for putting up with my ignorance. I'll try and do the above process on a sample. I have all the software now.
I'll make you a picture of the video I want to hide the counter on and send it to you. Again, many thanks.

LHTEX 09-29-2005 11:04 AM

This is LHTEX. I have e-mailed you several times but have only gotten the mail that said you have not heard back from me. I am interested in getting some work done but am having trouble getting through to you. I did a reply to all your e-mails and a "contact us" last week but no reply. Not sure what the trouble is. Try again, please. Thanks.

admin 10-04-2005 05:51 AM

I've been prohibitively busy in the recent past.

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