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naripeddi 11-21-2011 10:41 PM

Restoring VCD - Workflow & software suggestions ?
I have a wedding Video CD (PAL) of my relative that was probably captured from a VHS. The VHS is no more available, so I can only work on the VCD.

My goal is to improve the picture quality of the VCD, to the possible extent.

I am interested to know what would be the ideal workflow for this process. In other words, I can rip the VCD using VCDGear to MPG, then do I convert it to AVI for applying some filters, or just directly on the MPG-1 file? Will VirtualDub work for applying the filters? Are there any general software & filter considerations that I need to keep in mind while working with VCD files?

It appears that the video has a lot of chroma noise. The faces of people are not very clear. There is a lot of 'noise' in the picture.

I would like to do the restoration work and make it as DVD-Video (2 VCDs into one DVD, playable on home DVD Player)


jmac698 11-21-2011 11:13 PM

Rip to mpg, no need for avi, as most tools can work with mpg directly. Get virtualdub and the mpeg2 plugin, open and cut a few seconds for us to see the problems. There are various standard filters to fix chroma noise etc.

naripeddi 11-21-2011 11:33 PM

Thanks. Will do in about 12 hours when I get home.

lordsmurf 12-06-2011 06:04 PM

VCD suffers from 3 major problems:
  1. Progressive only, meaning it was likely a deinterlaced video source.
  2. 352x240 resolution, which means it can be rather soft video quality -- half as much detail as a typical VHS tape has.
  3. Low bitrate specs (1150kbps) that leads to excessive blocky MPEG-1 quality.
This is what you can do about it:
  • The deinterlacing can be fixed, to a degree, with anti-alising filters in Avisynth.
  • Not much of anything can be done about the loss of detail. At best, some mild sharpening filters in Avisynth, at minimal settings.
  • Deblock filters, either in VirtualDub or in Avisynth (my preference).
Chroma noise can be handled in either Avisynth or VirtualDub. The VirtualDub filters are very aggressive, and can easily lead to color ghosting in your video. As such, you'll want to use settings that are less than half of the defaults. Pull back as much as you can.

The CNR filter in Avisynth is nowhere near as aggressive, and is my current preferred choice of chroma NR.

When opening MPEG-2 in VirtualDub, you want to go to Video > Color Depth and change the input/decompression method to 4:2:2 YUY2. Otherwise it will likely lead to chroma ghosting, due to an MPEG-2 decode bug in VirtualDub.

AvsPMod is a great GUI for Avisynth.

Some ready-to-use downloads and samples scripts will be made available on the site this month. The packaging is finished, and some of the scripting guides are done. It's not "finished" as planned for long-term, but it'll made for a great short-term update/addition to the site. Keep watch for those. They'll be mentioned in this month's newsletter, when it's sent out.

naripeddi 12-07-2011 11:38 PM

Thanks LS. I need to start learning AviSynth. It will be useful for my other video restoration tasks as well. Will probably start with AvsPmod.


Progressive only, meaning it was likely a deinterlaced video source.
The source was home-made VHS (wedding video shot with VHS Camera). So the VCD authoring processing would have done the de-interlacing as VCD is progressive.

Another problem I noticed is, the VCD would have played well in a VCD Player long ago, but my new DVD Player isn't playing it well. The video (& audio as a result) stutters all along. I guess the guy who encoded the video to VCD didn't use standard tools and compatible bitrates. I ran GSpot and it said the bitrate is VBR. I am aware VCD doesn't support VBR. So need to fix tha somehow. Also, in the VCD folders, I see he included InterVideo player (to play the video when inserted in a computer). So I guess it is all non-standard work.


When opening MPEG-2 in VirtualDub, you want to go to Video > Color Depth...
Mine is MPEG-1, not 2. So will this step still apply?

lordsmurf 02-01-2012 05:57 AM


Originally Posted by naripeddi (Post 18374)
Mine is MPEG-1, not 2. So will this step still apply?

No. Changing to YUY2 color depth is a workaround specific to interlaced MPEG-2.
MPEG-1 cannot be interlaced, therefore not an issue.

naripeddi 02-01-2012 06:05 AM

Thanks LS.

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