Enhancing 8mm film-to-video footage

Hi all, I’ve got some old (1950’s) 8mm films that have been converted to mp4 video, but I want to both sharpen them up a bit, and also stabilize them. I’ve found that stabilizing them removes some of the sharpness – well, what there was of it, anyway – so is it best to stabilize and then sharpen, or vice versa? I thought I would ask in case some of you have done this, and save myself a lot of trial-and-error time. Any info appreciated! Thanks…

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How did you get the 8mm to digital ?

I sent it off to one of the transfer houses – the mp4 is 1080p

I hope they did a good job, I’ve seen some dreadful work these people charge for.
Have you got a sample you can post for us to look at.

Below is an example of a poor vs good conversion.

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Yeah, this last one did a great job. I will try to post a screen shot. I tried doing it initially with one of those Wolverine machines – bad result. I then sent a reel off to one of the transfer places, but I think they were using the same type of equipment – bad result. I decided to give it one more try and sent it to a place that uses a Moviestuff Mark II machine and it was like night and day – really good result. But, the original 8mm film was a little “soft” so I just wanted to enhance it a bit without losing what sharpness there was, and also stabilize it.

I would try Stabilize 1st, sharpen 2nd. that is what I would probably go for.

Thanks, I will try that!

I have some 8 mm and Super 8 as well. I went big on the transfer and used a local company that uses Lasergraphics. Had them scanned at 3872 x 2792. As expected with that resolution, quite a bit of grain. I am still working out a bit of the workflow. It is a little different than most, as I am actually downscaling, but improving quality in the process.

8 mm film wasn’t cheap, and as was typical, my parents tried to get as much value out of the film as possible, so lot’s of panning and short clips. There is quite a bit of blur on the fast pans which I am still l trying to improve.

There is a certain charm in the 8 mm look, but as an experiment, I tried to make my dad’s junior high graduation ceremony footage from 1956 look as modern as possible, at the risk of getting soap opera effect. I mostly succeeded, and my kids were in disbelief. We judge the era by the footage we see, and having this old footage looking so crisp and sharp at 50 frames per second with grain severely reduced was surreal for them. It really brought the footage into the present, which was my intent. I haven’t tackled the colors balance yet … it is definitely a giveaway. Need to find the right software for that.

  • Grain removal - I first went with a pass in Iris, but switched to Artemis LQ. I also tried converting to TIFF and using Topaz Denoise. I am probably going overboard at the expense of sharpness, as grain is less visible zoomed out than I think.
  • Frame rate increase - probably the largest benefit of Topaz. It does a great job, and I triple the frame rate without issues.
  • Stabilization - as mentioned, lot’s of pans and other camera motion. One benefit of having the footage at 6K is that I can use stabilization with auto-crop without losing resolution in final render when I bring it down to 1080P or so. I might settle on a final resolution between 1080 and 4K.
  • Sharpness … not sure yet. There are many causes of unsharp footage, still playing with different settings and learning more. Themis deblur gives artifacts.

The problem with Topaz is that it keeps improving, so I am hesitant to commit too much time (mine own as well as CPU/GPU time). It is a good problem to have of course. Some faces would benefit from subtle upscaling, but it is such a fine line. Some of the ones Iris improved looked grotesque. I am looking forward to the future versions of Iris that will do better on higher resolution source.

I hope that there will be some models specializing in higher resolution grainy 8 mm, but I realize that it is a small market.

edit: On a whim, I took one of my final outputs, an H264 compressed 1080P file, put it in Iris cranked to a 100, and it looks much crisper than the previous final, so an improvement on my quest to create footage that could pass for being taken on an Iphone 13. So I downscaled, then enhanced. Sounds counterintuitive, but I think Iris does better with lower resolution. I try again with slightly higher res, and leaving it as Prores or uncompressed until final render (luckily 8 mm footage is only 3 min per film, or I’d be buying harddrives).


I have spent the last couple of years using Topaz products to enhance 8mm film. I have tried various workflows and these have changed a products have been updated. Note, I got all my films digitised as ProRes and I try to stick to that formation for all processing and editing. I stuck with 1080p as 8mm film does not really have any detail above that resolution. I use free software HandBrake to convert to something more player friendly once everything is completed.

My current workflow is:

  1. Use Davinci Resolve (free version) to split the film into individual shots.
  2. (For each shot from here on in) Use Topaz Video AI to remove grain - I use Nyx Manual. Set Reduce Noise to somewhere between 50 and 90 (trial and error for each shot) and then set Fix Compression and Dehalo to around 50% of whatever Reduce Noise is set to. Then save the shot, but as individual frames.
  3. I then use Topaz Photo AI on the individual frames. You can set for one frame then copy the parameters to all and batch process. Use Sharpen and Face Enhancement. Set all parameters manually and adjusted for each shot.
  4. Use DaVinci Resolve to reassemble frames and use its stabilisation rather than the Topaz one.
  5. If you can work it out (it took me months) you can use free software Avisyth and VirtualDub to remove dirt and scratches.
  6. I then use Davinci Resolve to enhance colour and contrast (needs lots of practise, but it’s worth it)
  7. Use Topaz Video AI to increase frame rate. Personally I prefer 30fps rather than 50 or 60. I use the Apollo model.
  8. Finally, use DaVinci Resolve to put all the shots back together. You can then use it for titles and sound.
  9. Use Handbrake to convert to H264.

You can combine steps 4, 5 and 6 by using Selur’s Hybrid which is a GUI front-end for AviSynth and other VirtualDub filters which takes image sequence input as well. There are some great stabilization tools in there. In addition, the automatic color balance and levels filters work wonders.

Am also working with 8mm using significantly more primitive workflow – so primitive I won’t share:) – would really like to see an example of your results.

Please offer a test video for download so we can give it a try!

As an aside one of the worst mistakes I made (25 years ago now) was to have family 8mm films digitalised. They used what technology was around then and although one was done by a professional film house, the results wouldn’t be a patch on what could be achieved today using modern scanning technology. And those original films are no more so there is no possibility to get anything more out of them and the digital transfers are so low in resolution that not even Topaz can do anything at all with them. Moral of the story - always keep an original source.


Not sure exactly what you are referring to. I have 8 and Super 8mm video that was digitized by ScanCafe.com at 1080P, and the same that were later processed using TVAI, and also that were later processed using Filmora.

In Davinci Resolve:
Passe 1
After the scan (KODAK Reels Film digitizer+ MOD firmware), i always start with a ‘very small’ stabilization, at the same time, i apply a deflicker, timelapse adjustment and finally an automatic durt removal. I export at 18 fps for the S8. (TVEAI does not export in 18 FPS without interpolation).
Pass 2:
Import the delivery into a new project and:
Transform (zoom,position), color correction and to restore vigor: processing with TVEAI and depending on the scene, a different model: directly in DVR now with the new plugin. Before I exported the TL to TVEAI standalone.

Hope this help.

I’m happy sharing this example. I tried sharing on YouTube, but the quality is very low. I have put it on DropBox. Will keep it there for a few weeks:

Dropbox - 8mm AI Sample.mp4 - Simplify your life

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You can zip videos and upload them here.

I need to work out if I can do that. You should be able to download from the link I gave. Open in a new window. There is a download icon (down arrow with line under) that does not need any login.

After a lot of messing around, I finally got it displaying correctly on YouTube.


looks pretty good.