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    Topaz Video Enhance AI 4K upscaling is pretty amazing
    #1
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    Hello everyone,

    It's been a long time since I have posted anything here on the F35 forum. Sorry for the long absence. I have been rigging out and shooting with my F35, and recently I have been experimenting with upscaling the footage to 4K. I recently discovered a program called Topaz Video Enhance AI and I must say the results are pretty amazing. So much so that I felt it would be beneficial for everyone here to see some comparison shots and screen grabs on a few projects and quick tests I did recently. So without further ado here are some screenshots and videos of the original Sony F35 output image and the upscaled version:

    Google Photo album
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/7akcsA8PFzT7VoGY7

    Vimeo Videos:
    Apothic Original
    https://vimeo.com/496146607/4af47755a9
    Apothic Uprez
    https://vimeo.com/496284495/e07bafdab6
    Brandy Shot 1 Original
    https://vimeo.com/496146926/276102eab8
    Brandy Shot 1 Uprez
    https://vimeo.com/91803686/4c030d16d3
    Brandy Shot 2 Original
    https://vimeo.com/496146607/4af47755a9
    Brandy Shot 2 Uprez
    https://vimeo.com/496283682/5e61d70fe2
    Brandy Shot 3 Original
    https://vimeo.com/496147471/7304206bb7
    Brandy Shot 3 Uprez
    https://vimeo.com/496283274/3b4dbbad5d
    Brandy Shot 4 Original
    https://vimeo.com/496147699/11558887b0
    Brandy Shot 4 Uprez
    https://vimeo.com/496282949/0f80dddce3
    Home Shot 1 Original
    https://vimeo.com/496147903/21cd4cb06d
    Home Shot 1 Uprez
    https://vimeo.com/496282033/88292d69a4
    Home Shot 2 Original
    https://vimeo.com/496148496/2d2af15975
    Home Shot 2 Uprez
    https://vimeo.com/496281553/89bdc55f95
    Natalie Original
    https://vimeo.com/496148872/9cf766a82c
    Natalie Uprez
    https://vimeo.com/496280508/e25764f67a

    I think the reason it works so well is that the F35 HD image is so highly detailed that the Topaz Video Enhance AI algorithm is able to extrapolate more detail out the image. Also everything I shoot is either 12bit 444 at 24fps or 10bit 444 at 50p, so there is an insane amount of color information for the program to work with. Topaz has several different AI algorithms, each designed to work a little differently. For all the shots above I found the one called Artemis HQ to be the best. I adds detail, but keeps the grain of the image and has the least amount of artefacts.

    I am not affiliated in any way with Topaz - I was just trying different upscaling methods and came across this one, which I found truly amazing and thought some other F35 owners might be interested. I hope someone finds this information useful.

    I wish you all a Happy New Year.

    Cheers,
    Igor
    Last edited by Samana76; 01-04-2021 at 10:01 AM. Reason: Fixed links


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    #2
    Director of Photography
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    I'm not affiliated with Topaz either, but I have used this software since before it was ported to Mac (when you had to upload it to their server to upscale for a fee). Thank you for reminding me that I intended to buy while their sale is still on! It's currently $139 for one more day---list is $299, but it has been discounted since introduction, although not as much as that.
    Charles Papert
    charlespapert.com


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    #3
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    Looks really good. Are there any motion artifacts? I know it was an issue with some of the earlier versions.


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    #4
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    I assume the shots on the left are the ones enhanced.
    None of the Vimeo clips work by the way.


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    #5
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    xRayZan
    Thank you RayZan for letting me know the Vimeo links were not working. I have fixed the links and are all viewable now. Also, in the shared Google Photo Album the images on the left are the original HD images and the ones on the right are the upscaled ones. If you see them full screen on a 4K monitor you will notice quite a difference in detail and sharpness.

    xQuickHitRecord
    Depending on the algorithm used you can encounter some artifacts. I noticed this the most with the Gaia-HQ. I think the best compromise between quality, speed and absence of artefacts is the Aretmis-HQ algorithm, although in the Apothic Uprez clip you can see some of white speckles at the beginning of the clip. Another good algorithm, especially for very noisy footage, is the Theia-Fidelity one. It's not as detailed as Artemis, however it is very good at cleaning up noise.

    Cheers


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    #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samana76 View Post
    xRayZan
    Thank you RayZan for letting me know the Vimeo links were not working. I have fixed the links and are all viewable now. Also, in the shared Google Photo Album the images on the left are the original HD images and the ones on the right are the upscaled ones. If you see them full screen on a 4K monitor you will notice quite a difference in detail and sharpness.

    xQuickHitRecord
    Depending on the algorithm used you can encounter some artifacts. I noticed this the most with the Gaia-HQ. I think the best compromise between quality, speed and absence of artefacts is the Aretmis-HQ algorithm, although in the Apothic Uprez clip you can see some of white speckles at the beginning of the clip. Another good algorithm, especially for very noisy footage, is the Theia-Fidelity one. It's not as detailed as Artemis, however it is very good at cleaning up noise.

    Cheers
    I can see the difference clearly in the Vimeo clips. It is not subtle at all. Perhaps a bit too sharp in the uprez versions. I wonder how they would compare if you just export the 1080 version in 4k and then upload to Vimeo.
    For the photos, the uprez version has to be the one on the left. Unless I lost my vision. Look at the small branches in the first image or the eyes of the girl or the cross patterns on the left shoe. Maybe they got swapped when you uploaded them to the site?


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    #7
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    This looks awesome indeed. Did you grade the images first before the uprez or after?
    Favorite Cameras I own
    Sony F35 & Sony F3

    Decent Cameras I own
    Arri Alexa Classic, Canon XH-A1 Dvx100b

    These Cameras I own that almost did it for me BUT NOPE
    BMCC.2.5K AND FUJI XH1

    These I own as a mad scientist and fanboy but will never shoot with again
    Red one MX, Red Epic, Ursa mini pro G2

    My ultimate advice " Find a camera you love that way your signature won't be like mine"


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    #8
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    Thanks so much for sharing! I currently use the upscale built into resolve, Topaz might have the edge here. Samana whats your thoughts on doing a Topaz and Resolve comparison?


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    #9
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    xDIRECTORDEVIN
    I graded the original 12bit 444 HD images out of the camera first in Assimilate Scratch (I prefer this to Davinci). I then outputed those shots as uncompressed MOV files, which I then opened in Topaz Video Enhance AI, where I did the upscaling. From Topaz I rendered the upscaled videos as 16bit TIFF image sequences (the other output formats are pretty low quality) and rendered to H264 in Adobe Media Encoder. It's a bit of work, but the results are pretty impressive.

    xbigmitch
    I will try to do a comparison with these same shots in Davinci Resolve and post the videos links here.

    To everyone,
    After additional testing, I think there are a few big limitations with this process. First, like I described above to DIRECTORDEVIN, the steps involved in getting the highest quality output from the images is adds quite a bit of extra work to the workflow. Second, the amount of space required to render, first the original graded HD shots to an uncompressed format and then render the upscaled version to 16bit TIFF image sequences, is really high. As an example I tried upscale an 8 minute clip and the 4K 16bit TIFF image sequence came out to about 600GB (and took several hours to upscale). If Topaz implemented a good H264 output render, this wouldn't be as big a problem. Lastly, in that 8 minute clip test, I realized that the AI algorithms do not work very well with high frequency out of focus subjects - for instance out of focus foliage in the background. Topaz will try to sharpen and "refocus" the leaves, making them look odd. This does not happen with low frequency out of focus subjects like cars or houses, etc. If I get a chance to do more test I will upload some examples.

    Cheers


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    I have been eyeing this software for a while so I decided to take advantage of this deal before the price went back up (EDIT: It's still $139 as of today). I have been doing a lot more editing during the pandemic and sometimes my clients send me low resolution or archival footage to work with.

    A couple of quick tests in and I can see that it has progressed a lot since the earlier versions. However, I can't help but notice that it makes everything look a little plasticky and cartoon-like. This was some pretty soft and compressed 1080P upscaled to 4K with Artemis (click for full resolution):



    What's most impressive to me is the reduction of macroblocking. I haven't done a side by side comparison yet but I don't think that any of the noise reduction plugins out there can compare:



    Sometimes, it will clear the entire image of macroblocking except for one or two spots. Fortunately, I haven't been able to see this during playback.

    The possibilities are intriguing. This kind of makes each video frame into a vector image. I just wish it looked a little less like vector art.


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