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Converting Old 8MM Camcorder Tapes To Digital

A1MB1G

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 13, 2020
156
53
We have an old Sony CCD-TR67 camcorder with a slew of 8MM taples (I believe they are 8MM). It only has one audio and one video out connector with no firewire connectivity. How can I go about converting all these tapes using my 2020 Macbook Pro. Are there any devices out there I can buy at a reasonable price to convert these tapes into a quality digital version to add to our library?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

cobra521

macrumors regular
Dec 14, 2016
134
44
FL
A1M,

I've done this with Hi8/Firewire and can assert the quality of the original tape, as old as it is, is nothing like today's quality. I forget the exact resolution, but it's a lot less than even 1K video today. Your regular 8mm will be even lower quality.

The reason it may be worth some work is that whoever's in the originals will mostly ignore the quality under the old "content triumphs over technology" rule ;) and enjoy some good old memories.

That said, I didn't have to use the analog connection you're using so I'm not a lot of help. You will need something that converts analog to USB, I think.

Hope this helps a little bit,

Tom
 

sevoneone

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2010
524
485
This has been the standard for many years:
There are other, cheaper options, but El Gato probably has the best Mac support.

Cobra is right, don't expect digitizing the footage to magically make it better, but I assume you're doing this to archive/preserve and relive old memories before the tapes and camera deteriorate away.
 

iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2019
647
438
We have an old Sony CCD-TR67 camcorder with a slew of 8MM taples (I believe they are 8MM). It only has one audio and one video out connector with no firewire connectivity. How can I go about converting all these tapes using my 2020 Macbook Pro. Are there any devices out there I can buy at a reasonable price to convert these tapes into a quality digital version to add to our library?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks!

You need 2 pieces of software. One's already mentioned which is the Elgato video capture. I use a Diamond Touch video capture which is almost the same thing. Now, once your footage is captured into digital form, they are still interlaced unless you de-interlace them and turn them into progressive, which is the ideal form of digital capture. The resolution of the capture is going to be very low; roughly 480p, which is like 720x480. Sometimes de-interlacing can reduce the capture all the way down to 320x240 resolution. So the quality of both captures are going to be very low if you are comparing to the current standard, which is 1080p or 4K.

However, did I say you need a 2nd software? In order to upscale those footages into a more modern quality digital version, you need something like the Topaz Video Enhance AI which uses Artificial Intelligence to upscale low quality 8mm tapes into high quality 1080p and up to 8K using AI. Unfortunately, it is not going to be cheap. The software itself is going to cost you about $200 and since you have a Macbook Pro 2020 and hopefully comes with an AMD dGPU that can help with the AI process. If not, it can take a couple of days or even a week to upscale a 1hr 8mm tape into 4K. But if you invest in a decently good external eGPU like a Radeon 5700XT, it can cut it down to just 1 to 2 days per 1hr movie. Then you can watch it on your 4K or 1080p as though those tapes were shot with a 4k/1080p.

I have that software and a dedicated gaming PC computer with an Nvidia GPU to do all that and have been restoring movies to the current digital standard with amazing success.

Here's the site for Topaz Video Enhance AI.

 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 604
Feb 13, 2011
7,019
1,170
Baltimore, Maryland
This is interesting to me for some reason so I found one of those Handycams for sale on Ebay and the description included:

All Sony Handycam camcorders perform with exceptional sensitivity in low light when recording in regular video mode. XR (Extended Resolution) enables you to record up to 280 lines of horizontal resolution for amazingly clear, vibrant, and detailed images. Hi8 XR Format records up to 440 lines of horizontal resolution, through video inputs in low contrast situations.

So I'd assume normal resolution would be even less than 280 lines.

I suppose you could find some video shot on one of those (or go ahead with your own transfer), take a snippet of it and use the demo of Topaz Video Enhance AI to see what kind of results you'd get.
 

iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2019
647
438
This is interesting to me for some reason so I found one of those Handycams for sale on Ebay and the description included:



So I'd assume normal resolution would be even less than 280 lines.

I suppose you could find some video shot on one of those (or go ahead with your own transfer), take a snippet of it and use the demo of Topaz Video Enhance AI to see what kind of results you'd get.

The upcoming new version of Topaz Video Enhance AI will include an AI model mode just for this type of videos. It's currently being trained for older tapes. Right now, I have to de-interlace and recover some of the lost resolution before I use the AI to enhance. The results however is still amazingly good. So if you want to test the demo, I suggest wait till September when it will be out.
 

A1MB1G

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 13, 2020
156
53
A1M,

I've done this with Hi8/Firewire and can assert the quality of the original tape, as old as it is, is nothing like today's quality. I forget the exact resolution, but it's a lot less than even 1K video today. Your regular 8mm will be even lower quality.

The reason it may be worth some work is that whoever's in the originals will mostly ignore the quality under the old "content triumphs over technology" rule ;) and enjoy some good old memories.

That said, I didn't have to use the analog connection you're using so I'm not a lot of help. You will need something that converts analog to USB, I think.

Hope this helps a little bit,

Tom
I was able to purchase the Elgato video capture USB adapter. I connected it to my camera and was able to convert all my videos in the original quality - albeit at 480P. It's better than nothing as these were all collecting dust and the family really enjoyed watching them last night. Thanks for the feedback, appreciate it!
 
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BrianBaughn

macrumors 604
Feb 13, 2011
7,019
1,170
Baltimore, Maryland
I was able to purchase the Elgato video capture USB adapter. I connected it to my camera and was able to convert all my videos in the original quality - albeit at 480P. It's better than nothing as these were all collecting dust and the family really enjoyed watching them last night. Thanks for the feedback, appreciate it!

That's nice to hear. I've got the feeling that the vast glut of photos and videos that has resulted from the invention of the smartphone is going to end up in a digital pile that no one will ever see.
 

Melbourne Park

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2012
316
37
However, did I say you need a 2nd software? In order to upscale those footages into a more modern quality digital version, you need something like the Topaz Video Enhance AI which uses Artificial Intelligence to upscale low quality 8mm tapes into high quality 1080p and up to 8K using AI. Unfortunately, it is not going to be cheap. The software itself is going to cost you about $200 and since you have a Macbook Pro 2020 and hopefully comes with an AMD dGPU that can help with the AI process. If not, it can take a couple of days or even a week to upscale a 1hr 8mm tape into 4K. But if you invest in a decently good external eGPU like a Radeon 5700XT, it can cut it down to just 1 to 2 days per 1hr movie. Then you can watch it on your 4K or 1080p as though those tapes were shot with a 4k/1080p.

I have run a test with a 8 minute tape sourced from Hi8 via Elgato. I downloaded the 30 day trial of 5.3.1 (I think) of the Topaz Video enhancement AI software. I loaded the 8 minute (ex iMovie which I used to cut the movie down to 8 minutes) video and selected 4k output, with the input being Artemis Low Quality, which the help guide said was the best for such a video. It also said its faster to output as stills and then reassemble in quicktime. Then one would add the sound. But I selected MPEG-4 output. I am trying it first on my MacBook Pro which is a few years old and has a 4GB 560Pro GPU. For the 8 minute video, it estimated 7 hours. Time per frame was about 2.1 seconds. So using that method, a 40 minute video would take ... 36 hours. With a RX580 GPU in the 5,1, I reckon that would take 18 hours, as it seems the 560 Pro GPU is about half the power. I haven't tried the single pic method yet.

What do you recommend? I could also run the card in windows. I have so far avoided Opencore, and getting a faster card than the RX 580. It sounds like I might have to go Opencore to do my videos. I have a lot of them. And perhaps I'll give 1080P a try too ... I'd love to know your settings. I had wanted to stay within 10.14 because I have CS6 photoshop. But maybe its time to drop that software too ...
 
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iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2019
647
438
I have run a test with a 8 minute tape sourced from Hi8 via Elgato. I downloaded the 30 day trial of 5.3.1 (I think) of the Topaz Video enhancement AI software. I loaded the 8 minute (ex iMovie which I used to cut the movie down to 8 minutes) video and selected 4k output, with the input being Artemis Low Quality, which the help guide said was the best for such a video. It also said its faster to output as stills and then reassemble in quicktime. Then one would add the sound. But I selected MPEG-4 output. I am trying it first on my MacBook Pro which is a few years old and has a 4GB 560Pro GPU. For the 8 minute video, it estimated 7 hours. Time per frame was about 2.1 seconds. So using that method, a 40 minute video would take ... 36 hours. With a RX580 GPU in the 5,1, I reckon that would take 18 hours, as it seems the 560 Pro GPU is about half the power. I haven't tried the single pic method yet.

What do you recommend? I could also run the card in windows. I have so far avoided Opencore, and getting a faster card than the RX 580. It sounds like I might have to go Opencore to do my videos. I have a lot of them. And perhaps I'll give 1080P a try too ... I'd love to know your settings. I had wanted to stay within 10.14 because I have CS6 photoshop. But maybe its time to drop that software too ...

I actually use a fast PC gaming rig to run Topaz Video enhancement AI software with. It's faster with an Nvidia card, especially the RTX series as it was meant to be designed for AI and Nvidia. I also have the Topaz AI still products and I also found that the PC with Nvidia runs FASTER than on my Mac Pro 5,1 with RX580, even though my GTX Nvidia card is 15% slower than the RX580 and has half the VRAM.

However, another workflow that can speed things up and not loose a lot of upscale quality is to first use Artemis LQ on SD footage with 100% deblock/denoise with the MPEG output or I found 200% to be just as good. For my Nvidia card, upscaling from 480p to 960p takes about 0.63sec/frame with my GTX 1650 card, but 0.11sec/frame with a decent RTX card, like the RTX2060. Suffice to say; once you had deblock/denoise the SD footage or upscaled to 200% over its original size, I use Avidemux and simply upscale it further to 2K or 4K using Bicubic. I use a Mac Pro 5,1 for that, although the same Avidemux program is available on the PC too, but I can have 2 machines going at the same time and hence able to process and upscale multiple SD movies. Avidemux takes advantage of the multicore/multithread of the double CPUs on the 5,1 if you have a double CPU tray version. I noticed that the output quality of the 2K or 4K bicubic isn't all too different compared to the VEAI AI upscale, but the speed of the upscale can be more than 5x faster compared to VEAI. The first 100% or 200% pass makes a huge difference with SD footage with VEAI, but after that, it is miniscule at least if you watch it on a big screen when comparing side by side between VEAI and Avidemux upscale @ 4K. The difference will only favour VEAI if your SD source footage comes from very high quality cameras with a higher bitrate. Elgato is NOT a source of high quality SD captures. We are talking about high end professional decks through a digital Firewire input and high end professional DV or Hi8 camcorders to really justify the full upscale to 4K. Otherwise, and in my case, I just use the hybrid VEAI upscale to 960p and then take that all the way to 4K using Avidemux. There is a program on the PC called Staxrip which can use the Spline64 upscale algorithm to upscale to 4K with similar quality as Avidemux Bicubic. I just use Avidemux since I'm used to the program.
 
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Melbourne Park

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2012
316
37
Thanks for your post.

As far as rubbish in - rubbish out goes, I bought the Elgato because I could not find in Australia a Fireware device (there were a couple in the USA, used though). I had been converting the Hi8 using a Digital 8 camcorder (which I bought following the Hi8 one). I read that using the same tape heads gave better reproduction. Also the digital 8 conversion had video noise on the bottom of picture. About the quality of the Hi8 - it was a consumer model, but it was expensive for one at the time, and while the digital 8 has a faulty "camera / off / VTR" switch on it due to it being a cheap manufacture (its a Sony DCR-TRV310E-PAL model which did have an F/1.4 lens which was bright for that era). The lens wasn't mechanically stabilised though. That was a disappointment. I had also thought that camera also recorded into its cable ports onto its digital 8 tape (via its S Video and the video/left/right channel) but in fact the unit only played outwards through those ports. Most disappointing as I had thought I could convert the Hi8 using that camera. The Hi8 model actually would record onto its tape via its similar ports. It had a very nice lens for a consumer video, and it was mechanically stabilised - I think Sony payed a license to another company, or perhaps they bought the stabilised mechanism from another video company (not Panasonic but maybe it was Canon). It was extremely well built as well IMO. It is a TR805E.

I looked at the 4K version of the video and it was extremely good quality considering its source. The hairs on my 4 year old son's head were not apparent on the standard definition, but very clear after the VEAI AI upscale to 4K. People were sharp after the upscale, buildings much more detailed, writing on buildings clear.

I will look at the software you are using to your methodology - that information is much appreciated. I did have a PC but gave it back to my son, but they are cheap to build. I do have Windows 120 Pro on my 5,1 so maybe I could use that too. Which means I'll need spend a bit more on a flashed card I reckon, or jump to Catalina with all the complexity of doing so whilst being able to also run Windows. I was considering a Vega used GPU but after reading reviews of how noisy they are, there doesn't seem to be much choice for a GPU outside of an RX 580.

Thanks heaps and I hope the software you are using doesn't cost a lot ... and oh, I have a duel 5,1, and have an installed pair of 3.33Mhz 6 thread CPUs. I have Final Cut X as well which I'll use to cut the size of the tapes down. I would also benefit from hardware acceleration for compression on that software I guess - and that's another step into some complexity.

Cheers
MP
 

Melbourne Park

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2012
316
37
I actually use a fast PC gaming rig to run Topaz Video enhancement AI software with. It's faster with an Nvidia card, especially the RTX series as it was meant to be designed for AI and Nvidia. I also have the Topaz AI still products and I also found that the PC with Nvidia runs FASTER than on my Mac Pro 5,1 with RX580, even though my GTX Nvidia card is 15% slower than the RX580 and has half the VRAM.

That's interesting. I looked at Topaz's hardware recommendations, and they said the following:

Mac Theia: CPU/AMD
Mac Gaia: CPU only
Mac Artemis: CPU/AMD

Windows Theia: CPU/Nvidia
Windows Gaia: CPU/Nvidia
Windows Artemis: CPU/Nvidia

So Nvidia support for Windows on all the enhancement categories, but for Mac, AMD but Gaia is excluded. Also, Topaz says the software should be run on Catalina, and I presume that is why the Mac Pros to be used are from models 6 onwards. Hence I guess, if Topaz is to be used, then Opencore would be required, because that allows Catalina.

Incidentally, my "test" used the Artemis mode, on my MacBook Pro 15" 2017, which has a Radeon Pro 560 GPU, and I checked its usage using the Activity Monitor, running Catalina, and the Pro 560 card took a while to get going, but after some time, it was running flat out, and the notebook got quite warm. I even elevated the notebook in a vein attempt to assist its cooling, and the fan ran which was unusual. So at least the GPU was working and the 560 is not a quick card.

I recently misplaced my back drive for the MacBook Pro, which is annoying, because it has system 10.14 on it; I would have like to run the MacBook Pro on system 10.14x and compare how well that performance goes using the same test. Just to see whether Topaz Video Enhancement may work with 10.14 ... somehow I think it may not work ...

I guess too, if I was to jump to Catalina, then the obvious GPU would be a x5700 i guess, they are good value for their performance level I suppose. But then, I could not run that card on 10.13.6 or 10.14. If I want to use those OS;s, then it would mean probably a RX580, or a used Vega 56 or 64 or for not much more a Radian VII ( which is a Vega series 2). The 5700 restricts me to just Catalina, which seems quite dangerous to me.
 
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iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2019
647
438
That's interesting. I looked at Topaz's hardware recommendations, and they said the following:

Mac Theia: CPU/AMD
Mac Gaia: CPU only
Mac Artemis: CPU/AMD

Windows Theia: CPU/Nvidia
Windows Gaia: CPU/Nvidia
Windows Artemis: CPU/Nvidia

So Nvidia support for Windows on all the enhancement categories, but for Mac, AMD but Gaia is excluded. Also, Topaz says the software should be run on Catalina, and I presume that is why the Mac Pros to be used are from models 6 onwards. Hence I guess, if Topaz is to be used, then Opencore would be required, because that allows Catalina.

I guess too, if I was to jump to Catalina, then the obvious GPU would be a 5700 i guess, they are good value for their performance level I suppose.

Nope, the Mac Pro 5,1 can not work as it lacks AVX2 instruction set even if you have the correct GPU. I asked Topaz that question and they said no even with Catalina and Open Core. I tried running it on my Mac Pro 5,1 and it crashed as soon as it tries to upscale. Mac Pro 6,1 and upwards, on the other hand, has a newer Xeon which has AVX2. Even with the PC, you need a 4th gen Intel CPU for the very same reasons.

To be honest, if you want VEAI to run smoothly, go and build a PC and use the Nvidia card. Cost performance wise is better with Nvidia than with AMD. VEAI is not really using the GPU all that efficiently either and you can't scale up based on gaming performance of each GPU. The top of the line RTX 2080Ti upscaling 1080p to 4K is about 1.1sec/frame. I mean, didn't your Macbook achieved 2.1sec/frame doing similar upscaling to 4K? You need to go all the way to the top performing GPU to even make a dent on the upscaling speed, otherwise you'll be contending with just 0.1 secs/increment. The 5700XT is somewhat equivalent to the GTX 1080 in terms of performance. For games, it's great, but for VEAI it's okay from the experiences I heard from the beta group which I no longer belonged to. I actually plan to upgrade my Nvidia GTX card to an RTX model once they support the tensor cores. The tensor cores will really speed things up for AI, but unfortunately it's an Nvidia thing. Currently, I'm happy with my GTX card that can upscale to 2K @ roughly 1.0sec/frame, but even up to 4K, my GTX card which is roughly similar to the RTX 580 in performance gives me slightly less than 2.0sec/frame. I think if you are to run the same GPU on your Macbook Pro on a modern PC, I am willing to bet that you'll get faster upscaling. This has been my experience with Topaz products since the license allows 2 machines, but my PC always smokes the Mac Pro which is why I didn't want to spend anymore money on the Mac and just use the Mac as a 2nd machine to share the AI workload.
 
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Melbourne Park

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2012
316
37
Thanks again for your reply.

Yes, the speed was 2.1,but that was seconds for a frame. I took a screen grab and it slowed to 2.2 for the screen grab picture! Edit - Hmm - I just checked and "fast" would be 1 second, so not so bad for the MacBook Pro. When I bought it there was an option on the GPU, and I bought a refurb from Apple with the better GPU. I've never really used it but at last - it may serve a real purpose.

The software did say that making separate photos was quicker too. And with my old videos, I am unsure about how FCPX would handle their sound; so perhaps attaching the sound later in FCPX might not be a bad thing. I'll then have the challenge of hardware acceleration for the GPU for the export of the final video. That might not matter for me as I am not in business!! But speed is more fun IMO!

I have a windows partition for the Mac but I now see the Xeons would not work anyway with the Topaz VEAI software. I checked on that Haswell architecture and it doesn't seem even early 6,1s had that; a google search reckons Haswell came in V3 of the Xeon E5 chips.

I had a games PC which was my son's. But I gave it to my son during Covid. He had just started a business just before Covid which does an ancillary service for the building industry. He's not worked for 6 months and may not work for another 4 months at best. So I am not asking him for it back. Plus, it used to hang - I was never sure why.

I will now look at other ways ...

You said earlier: "first use Artemis LQ on SD footage with 100% deblock/denoise with the MPEG output or I found 200% to be just as good". So just a 200% upscale with the Artemis VEAI mode. And then I could use Avidmux. Your quote again: "use Avidemux and simply upscale it further to 2K or 4K using Bicubic" . I looked at Avidemux and its available for several versions of macos, even Sierra. So I'll see how that goes.

If I was starting out, the PC would be by far the cheapest.

I guess a Mac solution would be tougher - a 27" iMac with a Vega 2 I suppose - weird they only put 4GB memory in those GPUs though (I presume more GPU memory would increase heat?). But I think the current 27" is the last Intel CPU and its even got consumer upgradable memory to 128GB . The Vega 2 upgrade seems quite cheap to me in those computers. I've still got a 24" iMac floating around - that 24" monitor was very nice for its time, its scale was just right for me. But I've always viewed iMacs as notebooks with a screen attached, especially when their upgradability became locked out. I guess the Type C port has changed that a bit though.
 
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iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2019
647
438
You're right that I could never understood why a Mac Pro 6,1 would qualify as the AMD GPUs on them really suck and they are also the older Xeons, so I stuck with a PC that I know works! The thing is VEAI isn't a speed demon. It's still in developmental phase.

You can make separate photos and while they are somewhat quicker, they are mainly for maintaining high quality upscales. You would marry them all together to make a silent movie using ffmpeg. I did it once on a corrupted AVI 480p SD source that I no longer have the custom codec for, so I had to extract the video and extract the audio and re-combine them all in Davinci Resolve. Works really well and of course Davinci supports GPU acceleration so that works out well. For me, it's just too much work unless it's a special memorable movie that I have to save. Otherwise, I just feed it through my PC and in less than a day, I get a nice 2K upscale for a 1hr flick. And it can only get faster once Nvidia tensor cores support are in.
 

Melbourne Park

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2012
316
37
...

You can make separate photos and while they are somewhat quicker, they are mainly for maintaining high quality upscales. You would marry them all together to make a silent movie using ffmpeg. I did it once on a corrupted AVI 480p SD source that I no longer have the custom codec for, so I had to extract the video and extract the audio and re-combine them all in Davinci Resolve.

Well that software is way beyond me. However Topaz said that Quicktime would pull the photos into a single movie. I guess then put them into iMovie for FCPX. I could maybe edit a movie, then just separate the sound and then do the enhancement. I'd have to pay some attention to frame rates too - I am in the Pal world (Australia). Leaving it together sure sounds a lot simpler. But it maybe easy to delete the video and leave the sound there, and put the higher res video back in. Hey - that might also mean by editing in low res, things would be quicker too!! But at the end of all this I'll run into my 4K video stuff - which will be an editing bottleneck. But by then I'll be efficient at editing I assume.

I'll do another practice run with the lower resolution upgrade and then try the avidmux software, which sounded like it was open source.

I still have my 2.4 4 cores in my machine ... I by accident saw a post I made back in June 2012 when I was considering the Mac Pro - I was comparing at the time a 4,1 or a single CPU 5,1. I was recommended back than the 5,1. Then what happened - but it wasn't in my post - Apple brought in the 2012 5,1s and they discounted the 21010 one's quite nicely. I ended up with a quite cheap twin CPU 4 cores 2.4 Mhz. A couple of years ago I bought 2 x 3.46Mhz 4 cores but I never installed them as I still did not have time to do serious stuff. Now I've bought some 6 core 3.33's so while I'd like to do the test with the 4 core 2.4s first, ten try the 4 core 3.46s, then put in the 6 cores 3.33s - I'll do the 2 x 2.4 4 core test, knowing that there's a change the 6 core 3.33s will be twice as fast.

I'll let you know how it goes.
 
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Melbourne Park

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Mar 5, 2012
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Just a report iluvmacs99 on what I have done so far (which is not much).

I wrote a long post, which I'm not posting now, as I have found that I have a couple of versions of test digitised video:
- one direct from Elgato
- one from Elgato put into iMovie and saved in 720P format (hence increasing the resolution)
- and another using my digital 8 camcorder to digitise the Hi8 and using iMovie 6.03 to transfer the video on firewire using macOS 10.9 (iMovie 6 doesn't work on later OS versions).

So my comparisons used different videos due to similar names ...

I bought the Elgato because all advise was to use the original recorder when transferring analogue tapes, and the original Hi8 video cam has only analogue outputs. So I presumed the Elgato might be worth its cost. I'm not sure yet if it is!! My 5,1's monitor probably doesn't help either as its for photographs (a calibrated Eizo 24" 1080) so for looking at the video I am using my 75" Sony 4k TV which is quite revealing.

With all the versions I need to establish a more careful test process, and then I'll report my results.

I did two further tests, but the important one was using an Elgato sourced Hi8 SD 640x480 version which I enhanced with Artemis LQ at 200% to 1280x980 at 25.98 frame/sec, as per your advice. I haven't tried the 100% one with the filter which sounded like it might be faster again. That took one second a frame. So around 3.5 hours, for an 8 minute video, and it went from 105 MB in size to 303 MB. I'll try the increase in resolution using the Avidemux and check the quality.

Things got a bit confusing because I suspect the 4k enhancement using Topaz's software used a 720P version, which was based on a Standard Definition video that I put into iMovie to trim its size down, and then I saved it at 720P. Hence I presume I've the poor quality issues at a higher resolution, and I don't know if that is a benefit for speed inside Topaz video enhancement or not!! I will now be more careful about comparing eggs with eggs ...
 
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Melbourne Park

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2012
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I did two further tests, but the important one was using an Elgato sourced Hi8 SD 640x480 version which I enhanced with Artemis LQ at 200% to 1280x980 at 25.98 frame/sec, as per your advice. I haven't tried the 100% one with the filter which sounded like it might be faster again. That took one second a frame. So around 3.5 hours, for an 8 minute video, and it went from 105 MB in size to 303 MB. I'll try the increase in resolution using the Avidemux and check the quality.

Did some more testing.

Base video used was an SD 640x480 video, PAL recorded, transferred from the original Sony CCC TR805E Hi8 video cam.
Video was 105MB in size and ran for 8 minutes approximately.
Tested changing from the recorded 4:3 dimension to 16:9 and found no difference in speed.
I kept the 4:3 dimension which was a "black bar" format i.e. the picture was not stretched sideways for 16:9, instead one got black bars on the left and right of the video.

I haven't investigated some other AI PC software video enhancement solutions - if they run on my Xeon 5,1 processors, then it would be tempting to put in a suitable card (likely Nvidia) and run the Mac Pro flat out doing that enhancement in a Win10 PC environment, knowing I could only boot Mac OS on the Mac Pro into a sub OS x 12.6 operating system without removing the Nvidia GPU.. I doubt that would work though on the 5,1's old processors.

200% enhancement: 640=>1,280 (720P) and 300% 640=>1920 (1080P) : not useful from me as I could not get Avidmux to go beyond a 200% enlargement. Finacl Cut Pro X though did that quite quickly.

Time to go from 640 to 1080P (300%) was around 5 hours on the MacBook Pro 2017 with 4GB Ram 560 GPU running flat out.

Earlier I thought I could do great enlargements with Avidemux. Handy that such cross platform software is powerful and free. But also, the video did not look very sharp using both the 200% in Topaz (to 720P) and also 300% - going to 1080P.

The time going from 640 to 1440P (2560 x 1440) was very surprising - around 8 hours. Just but the same time as going to a full 4k at 3840 resolution, 2.1 seconds per frame.

Checking with 16 Bit stills from Topaz VEAI, it was not faster and the sound track was lost. Quicktime imported the frames very easily, but it took quite a while to do so, probably because the files were on a slow external USB 2 drive, the drive speed was the bottleneck. The playback though had the occasional noise in it. I tried to import the files into FCPX but mucked it up - the video only went for a few seconds.

Conclusion

I think I will make the entire videos in low resolution, and then enhancement them. The reason being that Topaz's software is quite new, and while its discounted currently at $200 instead of $300, Topaz says you can get a 12 month upgrade for an extra $200. Which means to me, $500 for 12 months of up to date software. Since the software is enjoying a rapid rate of improvement, it will pay me to wait until its improved before buying it. If they gave me 12 months of free updates, I'd be much more tempted to buy the software.

About the platform for enhancement. Strangely Topaz says the software does run on 2013 and onwards Mac pros. And that it runs on the 6,1. Which means Hasell process are not mandatory - but I cannot check that. Topaz says so in more than one place too. Strange.

My MacBook Pro 2013 could do the job - just do it in batches. If its one hour for one minute of 640k to 4k, and the video is 16 minutes long, I could cut the video into two 8 minutes bits and run it over two nights. That would work, and it would be easy to put them together.

I checked on prices for a PC too and a new clone with an 2080 Nnvidea was around $Au2,000 without a monitor or keyboard - a games quality clone. Buying a used card would safe maybe $200.

Meanwhile an iMac 27" would cost around 33% more, or 50% more, depending on CPU and GPU. the GPU would be important. For me, that would probably be worth it. I also looked at mac minis, and they cost around $Au2,000. But then you have to add a T3 external GPU box for $Au500, plus a GPU. The iMac comes out better value. But a PC gives me the flexibility, but not the quality IMO.

Its a shame Apple never made a Mac Mini with some PCI-e slots. For 25% more than a mini. Gee even two wide spaced ones.
 
Last edited:
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iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2019
647
438
Did some more testing.

Base video used was an SD 640x480 video, PAL recorded, transferred from the original Sony CCC TR805E Hi8 video cam.
Video was 105MB in size and ran for 8 minutes approximately.
Tested changing from the recorded 4:3 dimension to 16:9 and found no difference in speed.
I kept the 4:3 dimension which was a "black bar" format i.e. the picture was not stretched sideways for 16:9, instead one got black bars on the left and right of the video.

I haven't investigated some other AI PC software video enhancement solutions - if they run on my Xeon 5,1 processors, then it would be tempting to put in a suitable card (likely Nvidia) and run the Mac Pro flat out doing that enhancement in a PC environment, knowing I could only boot Mac OS on the Mac Pro into a sub OS x 12.6 operating system without removing the Nvidia GPU.. I doubt that would work though on the 5,1's old processors.

200% enhancement: 640=>1,280 (720P) and 300% 640=>1920 (1080P) : not useful from me as I could not get Avidmux to go beyond a 200% enlargement. Finacl Cut Pro X though did that quite quickly.

Time to go from 640 to 1080P (300%) was around 5 hours on the MacPro 2017 with 4GB Ram 560 GPU running flat out.

Earlier I thought I could do great enlargements with Avidemux. Handy that such cross platform software is powerful and free. But also, the video did not look very sharp using both the 200% in Topaz (to 720P) and also 300% - going to 1080P.

The time going from 640 to 1440P (2560 x 1440) was very surprising - around 8 hours. Just but the same time as going to a full 4k at 3840 resolution, 2.1 seconds per frame.

Checking with 16 Bit stills from Topaz VEAI, it was not faster and the sound track was lost. Quicktime imported the frames very easily, but it took quite a while to do so, probably because the files were on a slow external USB 2 drive, the drive speed was the bottleneck. The playback though had the occasional noise in it. I tried to import the files into FCPX but mucked it up - the video only went for a few seconds.

Conclusion

I think I will make the entire videos in low resolution, and then enhancement them. The reason being that Topaz's software is quite new, and while its discounted currently at $200 instead of $300, Topaz says you can get a 12 month upgrade for an extra $200. Which means to me, $500 for 12 months of up to date software. Since the software is enjoying a rapid rate of improvement, it will pay me to wait until its improved before buying it. If they gave me 12 months of free updates, I'd be much more tempted to buy the software.

About the platform for enhancement. Strangely Topaz says the software does run on 2013 and onwards Mac pros. And that it runs on the 6,1. Which means Hasell process are not mandatory - but I cannot check that. Topaz says so in more than one place too. Strange.

My MacBook Pro 2013 could do the job - just do it in batches. If its one hour for one minute of 640k to 4k, and the video is 16 minutes long, I could cut the video into two 8 minutes bits and run it over two nights. That would work, and it would be easy to put them together.

I checked on prices for a PC too and a new clone with an 2080 Nnvidea was around $Au2,000 without a monitor or keyboard - a games quality clone. Buying a used card would safe maybe $200.

Meanwhile an iMac 27" would cost around 33% more, or 50% more, depending on CPU and GPU. the GPU would be important. For me, that would probably be worth it. I also looked at mac minis, and they cost around $Au2,000. But then you have to add a T3 external GPU box for $Au500, plus a GPU. The iMac comes out better value. But a PC gives me the flexibility, but not the quality IMO.

Its a shame Apple never made a Mac Mini with some PCI-e slots. For 25% more than a mini. Gee even two wide spaced ones.

This software is an unfinished product so it does pay to wait until it matures a bit probably by the end of the year or early next year. I am waiting for the AI engine that converts SD interlaced sources directly, which means you don't have to de-interlace the video using other captured software. That would preserve better quality than what we are doing right now. That's why I'm waiting for that version to come out and mature a bit so I don't have to pay for the upgrade again.

I am also waiting though for the rumored RTX 3060 which is supposed to have similar power as the RTX 2080 but replaces the RTX 2060 which is the budget model of the RTX. This would come probably sometime next year and would complement VEAI very nicely.
 

Melbourne Park

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2012
316
37
OK I got my son's PC (which had broken down, he gave up trying to fix it). I ended up formatting one of its drives in the 5,1, then I was able to install Win10, which then did not operate properly. Eventually I upgraded the BIOS and then things now seem good. Although I haven't fixed the fan speeds which are crazy fast. So its got an i5 6400 intel processor with 4 cores; the max for the motherboard is 4 cores I read. Its got an Nvidia 970 GPU. I guess things could be worse! I'll now be able to see if some other resolution enhancement software will work too. So say that Topaz is not the best enhancement software ... and then there'll be another trial of Topaz, if they'll accept me with another computer and email! Cheers
 
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iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2019
647
438
OK I got my son's PC (which had broken down, he gave up trying to fix it). I ended up formatting one of its drives in the 5,1, then I was able to install Win10, which then did not operate properly. Eventually I upgraded the BIOS and then things now seem good. Although I haven't fixed the fan speeds which are crazy fast. So its got an i5 6400 intel processor with 4 cores; the max for the motherboard is 4 cores I read. Its got an Nvidia 970 GPU. I guess things could be worse! I'll now be able to see if some other resolution enhancement software will work too. So say that Topaz is not the best enhancement software ... and then there'll be another trial of Topaz, if they'll accept me with another computer and email! Cheers

I'm now using Waifu2x which works very similar to Topaz AI, because it also uses its own AI engine. Quality is actually pretty good and it's free! It works on a PC though and with an Nvidia GPU.

 
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