Serendipity: Film restoration (damage recovery) using Chronos V3

Hey guys,

You probably know that damage recovery is a big part of any restoration project. Sadly, the software that does a good (!) job at eliminating physical damage (scratches) from old film prints is usually beyond the price rage of anyone except the big studios. However, I’ve found a way to re-purpose a VEAI model to do just that.

My hope is also, that the Topaz engineers will take note, and come up with a way of making this process less cumbersome.

The process works as follows:

  1. Load your footage into the Chronos V3 model

  2. Set the target frame rate to twice the original (48 fps in most cases)

  3. Set the output format to .jpeg or .png

  4. run the program

  5. Select every second (even-numbered) image in the output folder, delete odd-numbered ones

  6. Open the folder in Davinci Resolve as an image sequence (Or use Quick-Time “open image sequence”)

Check this youtube link for a before/after comparison: Film damage removal using Topaz VEAI Chronos V3 - YouTube

Dear Topaz engineers, if you could find a way of making this work without the detour via the single images, i.e. to get the model to output every second frame in a video file, you would make an old man very happy :slight_smile:

Neat video is accessible at an acceptable price (more cheaper than VEAI).

Neat video ineed does a good job at removing noise.
But when you set it to eliminate scratches, I found it to have the same problem as other damage recovery tools: it removes parts of fast-moving objects (like the upper end of violin bows, or snooker queues), because it mistakes them for damage. If you check the video I uploaded, you will notice that the violin bows there are not touched by VEAI.
(When I used Neat video on this footage, the upper half of the violin bows were gone.)

1 Like

i’ll have to test your trick, unfortunatly , my graphic card is slower than what Neat can do on scratch.

how big your folders of picture was for the whole movie ? (know and saw this movie).

The picture folder was indeed very big, you’ll likely have to do it in instalments.
(I myself only did a 10.000 frames section, as a proof of concept, because I ran out of disk space)

However, I’m trying a different way right now: set the output to regular .mov at 48fps, then load it into davinci, cut and delete the first frame, change the project settings to 24fps and hope that the output will only use every second frame.

Will keep you updated on the result!

1 Like

interesting, so it’s every 2 frames but on the 2nd frame of each that would do a kind of scratch remover.

a script to do this is maybe possible using power automate to automatise all this for video. including cut.
like a 200.000 frames video. automatic cut every X frames, a new command line to convert video to separate frames for the first cut video, then, asking to remove the 2nd frame every 2 frames, then re-encoding in video format → deleting frames, and then, processing the second cut etc… i don’t have the knowledge to do that, but certainly some other people could do it.

My biggest concern is that Chronos Fast LOVES to blur trees and green leaves. Chronos Slomo does not.
I can make a Python script what will move every other image into a new directory. I hope your idea to do it with mov files works though.

1 Like

I have to say, I didn’t notice any obvious blur so far. Are you also using Chronos V3?

A python script? That would be awesome! Because selecting thousands of images is indeed annoying, even if you scroll-select. (It woul be even awesommer if that worked on a Mac, too. I hope it will, in case my other idea doesn’t work as expected.)

It should. They try to make it so that it works on all the main operating systems. File manipulation is an OS function though, so I might have to figure out mac syntax. Not a big deal.

Yes I was using Chronos v3, but I tried all the version on the first scene I noticed the blurring in. They all did the same thing. Not slomo though.

My idea using .mov does work!!!

But thanks a lot for the offer, and for pointing out the issue with Chronos fast.

Off now, killing a bottle of champage :slight_smile:

1 Like

which codec do you use ? i’ll have to try your trick at some point ! hope it will work with H264/Mp4.

fortunatly i bought the Neat video plugin for something else than removing scratch lol :smiley:

I used ProRes 422 this time, but I don’t see why it shouldn’t work in H264 as well.

If you’re working in Davinci Resolve, the procedure is

  1. create a project with 24fps (default)
  2. load footage
  3. when prompted whether to change the frame rate, say NO
  4. create new timeline from clip
  5. delete first frame
  6. press play → now you see how it works
1 Like

i’m using Vegas Pro 19, anyway it’s easy to do.

i’ll try to do some test, when i’ll find some time (my 1050ti is very slow with VEAI).

Thanks for the tip !

Hello! interesting this technique, I had already tested a long time ago with chronos v2 it seems to me and the output in png, I had thousands of images too, and I who did not know how to script, I had asked help on a forum, but it was more complex, you had to delete 1 image out of 3 or 4, I don’t know. in the end I had racked my brains with someone who would help me on the forum so that in the end I found a solution, quite radical, it was to open the image folder and resize it so that it displays 4 columns of images, and therefore only has to be selected by scrolling the image column or the image columns that you want to delete. :')
In your case, a script will go faster since it’s just one image out of two :wink:

2 Likes

I’ve used the same process for creating a new good frame for a movie I restored (FillDrops could not successfully interpolate it). It was a panning scene so it had to be perfect. I also wished this could be a feature in VEAI for restoration work.

FillDrops is for SD video and works magic (Avisynth required). All it requires you to do is delete the bad frame and copy/paste the next or previous similar good frame, then rename it to the correct image number. The movie had about 300 bad frames. When done deleting/copy/pasting/renaming, load your avs script (having FillDrops) and compress to the next (or final) format.

It automatically interpolates and replaces each duplicate almost as well as the Chronos manual process can do. At full speed, all you’ll notice is that the defects and judder (from the dups) are gone. The only catch is it can’t fix 2 or more bad frames in a row.
Search Doom9 forums to find it.

If it helps, to select alternate sequentially numbered files in Windows Explorer (e.g. all the odds or all the evens) I just open the containing folder and use the search box with search terms such as:

*0.jpg OR *2.jpg OR *4.jpg OR *6.jpg OR *8.jpg or whatever file suffix you want.

I copy the search results to a new folder and re-sort them or rename them as I wish.

Thank you, but the image sorting problem has been solved.

Turns out it works just as well to load the 48fps output video into a 24fps timeline in Davinci Resolve…