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Star Wars PSA upscale/remaster (WIP)

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Hello, I plan on doing an upscale and restoration of all the star wars PSA’s.

If you did not know there were 3 Public Service Announcements that featured c3po and r2d2, “Parents of Earth” (A vaccination PSA), and 2 versions of a PSA called “A message from a galaxy far, far, away” (A anti-smoking PSA), one version was a minute, another was half a minute. I plan on upscaling and repairing damage to all 3.

Then there was also another star wars PSA later on called “star friends: friends don’t let friends drive drunk” which I will not be doing because it was distributed on film at some point, and I want to leave that up to the people who have access to the film source.

here is an example of what I plan to do, keep in mind this example is an early test so it does not look great.

before

after

I have an excellent source for the Parents of Earth PSA, but I do not yet have a source for the anti-smoking one that runs at its original 29.97 framerate, so if anyone has a VHS rip of the anti-smoking one please tell me.

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Hot stuff! This is my kind of project.

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as an update, I am currently tinkering with the upscaling and image enhancement for the parents of earth PSA. do you think this is coming along well? please nitpick.

before

after

as you can see there are some problems.
the process I put it through was this.

  1. AI image upscaling
  2. manual color adjustment
  3. sharpening
  4. addition of digital grain

so what do you think so far?

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I’d rather watch the before.

The problem I have with these sorts of remasters is that they don’t do the images any favors.

The source looks like an honest representation of the material, soft, low contrast, hazy, but believable. It’s what we expect from 50 year old analogue images.

But the processing delivers a fiercely digital image full of distracting artifacts. The AI turns soft fuzzy shapes into hard wobbly shapes while the sharpening flattens the image by making the background as sharp as the foreground, discarding any impression of depth. Also the color grading makes it uncomfortably high contrast. Essentially its “unnatural”.

In theory AI scaling should make great looking images, but in practice, it’s just polishing a turd. Taking something that was fine to begin with, and dressing it up till the real image behind it is obscured. In the before pic all I see is C3P0 and R2D2 on the death star in 1977, in the after pic all I see is image processing.

I think you can probably find a happy medium where the image looks ok on a big screen, but still looks pretty much like VHS. But to me, everything done here to make it look “better” just makes it worse.

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Chewielewis said:

I’d rather watch the before.

The problem I have with these sorts of remasters is that they don’t do the images any favors.

The source looks like an honest representation of the material, soft, low contrast, hazy, but believable. It’s what we expect from 50 year old analogue images.

But the processing delivers a fiercely digital image full of distracting artifacts. The AI turns soft fuzzy shapes into hard wobbly shapes while the sharpening flattens the image by making the background as sharp as the foreground, discarding any impression of depth. Also the color grading makes it uncomfortably high contrast. Essentially its “unnatural”.

In theory AI scaling should make great looking images, but in practice, it’s just polishing a turd. Taking something that was fine to begin with, and dressing it up till the real image behind it is obscured. In the before pic all I see is C3P0 and R2D2 on the death star in 1977, in the after pic all I see is image processing.

I think you can probably find a happy medium where the image looks ok on a big screen, but still looks pretty much like VHS. But to me, everything done here to make it look “better” just makes it worse.

I actually agree, the reason I did the extra grain and sharpening was that it looked too smooth after the upscaling. But ya, I guess it did not make it much better. the reason for the color correction was because of the unnaturally green image, I have worked with doing several recordings of a VHS tape over a period of several years and every time it appeared with different colors. So I do not think that green tint is natural. I will try just upscaling it to 480p (source is 240p) and trying to get rid of some of the green while not making the image revisionist. also this time I will skip the upscaling.

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sorry, this took me so long but here is the next test.

before

after

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Darth telly said:
I am waiting for people’s feedback.

Sorry to report this (and perhaps it’s just me) but I don’t see gains personally. A 240 line source, that’s just so brutal to try to squeeze something from, not your fault.

I’m still mad at that whole era where people were saying, “VHS, just capture it at 240, zero point in capping at 480!” This here appears to be a casualty of that kind of thinking. 😦

LightWave = fun times with gfx for me 😃

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 (Edited)

WXM said:

Sorry to report this (and perhaps it’s just me) but I don’t see gains personally. A 240 line source, that’s just so brutal to try to squeeze something from, not your fault.

I’m still mad at that whole era where people were saying, “VHS, just capture it at 240, zero point in capping at 480!” This here appears to be a casualty of that kind of thinking. 😦

There isn’t much gain really. Upscaling it to 1080p makes it look unnatural because of the resolution of the source, so I need to only upscale it 480p. This really just makes it more watchable on a modern 50-80 inch 4k TV. The biggest difference is definitely the (attempted) removal of the unnatural green tint.

I once had a vhs capture device that defaulted to 360p, yuck. Even the companies did not seem to know that 480p was correct for vhs.

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Ah, okay. I would say go even farther on the de-greening then.

This is your output, put quite a bit toward “auto levels” and with sat reduced a little. Looks a little more StarWars-y to my eye (the bg control panel stuff to the right), but others might disagree?
WXM mod

My casual two cents FWIW

LightWave = fun times with gfx for me 😃

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Have you used the “Artemis Low Quality” setting with Topaz for the upscale? It looks like that’s what was used in the original pic, and the stills from that almost without fail will look alarmingly waxy and weird…however, in motion it can still look OK.

Sending a PM.