A Secret Program
As part of having a test scan done on a Laser Graphics ScanStation, I was offered a couple of minutes of restored footage. For $7 a minute, this company will restore any movie file. When I asked what software they used, I was told:
Sorry, but it's a secret; a program of our own. It took 8 years to develop.
I was dubious about a program that was 'secret', but since the restoration offer was free, I said to go ahead, and they uploaded several gigabytes of sample files from my films.
Of course, they buggered up the test. During the scanning, the exposure was set to auto, and colour and contrast corrections were applied. Then during restoration, more colour and contrast corrections were applied, the image was stabilised, and frame-blended from 18 to 25 fps. All of which, several times, I specifically requested not to be done – that I wanted the scan and restoration as raw as possible to enable a proper comparison.
I was amazed, actually, that a company would outlay on a ScanStation, then treat it like a RetroScan.
Anyway, I really was amazed when I saw the results. Now, let me qualify that statement: this is about 8mm amateur films, in poor condition, 40-80 years old – inherently shaky, poorly focused, faded colour, and filthy. I'm not talking feature film.
Dust and grime were, to me, in most cases impressively removed, at the expense of a slight softening. However, I have no experience with restoration, so I may be missing something, and would appreciate comments from others.
A side-by-side sample can be downloaded here:
It is not meant to be played as a movie. It is a series of short segments, with typed comments here and there. It should be stepped through frame-by-frame.
If anyone wants to see a longer version to enable a motion-comparison, let me know and I'll upload it.
Edited by Guy Burns, 23 July 2016 - 06:26 AM.