You got to the root of the biggest problem. The first thing needed to do any kind of image enhancement is to be able to feed it clean video. - And that can be a major problem, or no problem at all. - It just depends on your source footage.
If you video is new, clean, good quality, good resolution and just need a little tweaking is one thing, but having dirty, noisy, poor resolution is yet another. And most video will fall somewhere between them.
IMO: VEAI’s Proteus enhancement is probably most useful for getting poor quality video up to a level where it will look good when it’s gonna be watched on a big HD screen.
Back to your initial point. Getting old, noisy video clean enough to actually run through the enhancement filters is a huge challenge.
Personally, I’m into restoring old video and so I expect that it’s going to be in rough shape and in low resolution, too. Even worse, is that lot of really old video was originally on film, so the noise is from film grain as well as compression. A lot of it is interlaced, as well.
(I do have several video utilities I frequently need to massage the source footage through before opening it in VEAI; but those are details we should bring up just a bit further down this discussion. - I don’t really know enough about Neat Video, And I hope that everyone taking part in this topic will want to mention what other tools they use…)
As such, job one is getting the video clean enough to enhance. And in a lossless format so it can be run through numerous intermediate processes with minimum degradation. Unfortunately, I can get my video into a format like that, with 3rd-party utilities, but I would like to be able to keep it in a lossless format, and VEAI (GUI) doesn’t really give us the necessary output options.
As far as cleaning up, I think that the revert compression and despeckle features in several of the enhancements is crucial to being able to clean up the source video properly. In the framework of using lossless source I would like to be able to run those two operations independently prior to running through the enhancements.
So I am asking, what would be an effective methodology for doing that?