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Oscar Petersson

Sharpen out of focus footage

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What is the best software/method available to sharpen footage that has been shot out a bit out of focus? In this case its old S16mm footage converted to Prores Full HD of two people talking,. To to sharpen it without adding more noise would be the best. What is the the best high end solution for this? And how does that compare to the cheaper solutions like premiere?

 

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You cannot sharpen out-of-focus pictures. Watch too many criminal series where the good ones achieve to increase resolving power of blurred images? Such a horseplay

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On 3/19/2019 at 7:55 PM, Simon Wyss said:

You cannot sharpen out-of-focus pictures. Watch too many criminal series where the good ones achieve to increase resolving power of blurred images? Such a horseplay

That's a super weird thing to say... any editing and grading software has sharpening tools these days. Of course the result will not be as good as shot in focus which is exactly why I'm asking what is the best way to do it.

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Well you can.. but only within reason.. google it.. most of the usual  post software suspects have sharpening options.. might help you if its save able .. Resolve does but not sure if the free lite version has it/its not as good as the paid version.. 

 

Sorry heres a post I forgot to submit .. yes as you say plenty of sharpening tools out there.. import and try .. ?

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You can try to sharpen slightly out of focus shots and that will help a little bit.

But you will also sharpen the noise as well, so you may find that you need to sharpen and use noise reduction at the same time.  The best settings will depend upon your footage, so you will need to do a bit of experimenting.  I don't believe that the free version of Resolve includes noise reduction, so you may need to pay $300 for the "studio" version.

Keep in mind that noise reduction is very processor intensive, and that you may not get close to normal playback until you render the footage.

Lastly, you may find that adding sharpening to the entire image also sharpens the parts of the frame that are already in focus, and this will still give the sense that your people are out of focus.  So, you might try adding a mask/vignette so that you are mostly sharpening the area of the frame that contains the faces, and not the entire frame.

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An unsharp mask type plugin may appear to help a little but there's simply no substitute for proper focus. The data is just not there.

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I have used unsharp mask and follow it up with a bit of gaussian blur to get rid of some of the noise. You wind up with a soft but much less noisy image.

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On 3/26/2019 at 10:02 AM, Bruce Greene said:

Lastly, you may find that adding sharpening to the entire image also sharpens the parts of the frame that are already in focus, and this will still give the sense that your people are out of focus. So, you might try adding a mask/vignette so that you are mostly sharpening the area of the frame that contains the faces, and not the entire frame.

To further your point, if you're already windowing the area you want to sharpen, then it would likely help to de-sharpen (or pull a little out of focus) everything else even more to make what you want to sharpen "appear" more in focus?

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Posted (edited)

Here, try this.

https://topazlabs.com/sharpen-ai/

It is not for movies. You will have to scan your film into jpeg or tiff files and bulk load it and mass processes. That was what I did in Lightroom. I don't know if Topaz works like Lightroom. You will have to figure it out.

In any case, free trial, so not much to lose. If you have no film and it is just video, then maybe they make similar software for that.

As a cinematograher, unless you are of the cinéma vérité school or a war doc shooter,  you are not supposed to create out of foucs footage. Cinematographers are anal, tripod shooters for the most part. They are akin to large format still photogs...another anal varity of shooters. Their game is perfection, not out of focus. OK, we all screw up. But sometimes we just gotta suck it and move on to the next project.

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Here, try this.

https://topazlabs.com/sharpen-ai/

It is not for movies. You will have to scan your film into jpeg or tiff files and bulk load it and mass processes. That was what I did in Lightroom. I don't know if Topaz works like Lightroom. You will have to figure it out.

In any case, free trial, so not much to lose. If you have no film and it is just video, then maybe they make similar software for that.

As a cinematograher, unless you are of the cinéma vérité school or a war doc shooter,  you are not supposed to create out of foucs footage. Cinematographers are anal, tripod shooters for the most part. They are akin to large format still photogs...another anal varity of shooters. Their game is perfection, not out of focus. OK, we all screw up. But sometimes we just gotta suck it and move on to the next project.

Thanks, this sounds very interesting. I'll check it out. I'm not sure if it's right for my footage, but for sure there will be more solutions like this in the future. But yes, setting the focus right on set will always be the best solution. Thanks everyone for your advice.

Edited by Oscar Petersson

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Posted (edited)
On 3/29/2019 at 11:25 AM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

This stuff is so interesting. I was about to mention that I tried their upscaling software and it inadvertently took some out of focus areas and brought them into focus. Really bizarre. There's a tree in the foreground that machine learning somehow brought partially into focus. Not really a desirable result, but pretty interesting.

I've had to do this in post from time to time and there really is no good solution for video. But the best solution I've found is using (carefully) a good Neat Video profile to denoise the footage, then a wide radius unsharp mask (possibly masked over just the areas you want to target), and then regraining. I've actually gotten pretty far with this approach, but mostly on focus pulls that dip out because the motion masks that it's just added contrast, not added detail.

There are also deconvolution plug ins, but I'm not sure they work that well or are compatible with video software.

But yeah, no good solution available yet. With machine learning I expect there will be soon... that's going to change the vfx industry in a huge way I suspect...

Edited by M Joel W

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sharpen the eyes. Mask them and try to get the light in the eye to sparkle a little. Vignette around the face ideally to reduce contrast and draw the viewer to the face. 

And if it’s not a close up don’t worry! if people notice it’s soft you have bigger problems.

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