OT - Why is there no decent upres software?

larry-peter wrote on 5/6/2014, 9:05 AM
I'm hoping some of the technical gurus on the forum can answer this. Why can a dirt-cheap DVD player perform better real-time upscaling through HDMI than any software I've seen?

Does this technology use some type of scan line interpolation that can only be applied at the monitor interface? I've always been baffled that (to my eyes, at least) every software that claims to do uprezzing, even the Lancoz scaling available in apps like AVISynth, gives pretty much the same inferior result. And I'm talking about SD > HD scaling.

I don't have a need to upscale too often, but this question has always bugged me. Or am I simply fooling myself that hardware uprez looks so much better? I can't believe my eyes would deceive me to that extent.


videoITguy wrote on 5/6/2014, 9:16 AM
Maybe seems to a bit off course in your quest, but do you recall the Rank Cinetel film scanner? of Hollywood studios years ago. Basically it could do fantastic uprez from lower grade format to full-size film frames...and the technique was frame by frame.

As far as the science goes, there are algorithms and software out there that can uprez a single digital frame to something of much higher quality. Note this a frame at a time just like the old days of analogue. Hence yes it can be done, just ask yourself how practical it can be as a workflow in everyday video scenarios.
larry-peter wrote on 5/6/2014, 10:29 AM
Yes, I do. I started in the '80s and one of my first jobs was supervising Rank transfers to tape. We did quite a bit of blowing up 16mm. I also was around when the Faroudja Line Doublers came in. My focus was always more on the look, and I absorbed only a minimum of the technology going on within the boxes.

When NLEs emerged it seemed the general rule was, "cheaper software can do what expensive hardware can, but it will take longer." I don't see a parallel to that in the upscaling capabilities of cheap DVD players. That's why I was wondering if their upscaling relied on the player-monitor interface based on scan lines and the same type of scaling doesn't exist in pixel based workflows.

Former user wrote on 5/6/2014, 10:47 AM
Not only in DVD players but other media players. I use the Brightsign media players for our installs at museums. Recently received standard def to play at 1080. I tried various uprezzing thru Vegas, Episode by telestream and others and found the players hardware did a lot better job. It smoothed the type and minimized the other artifacts of uprezzing. Youl could still tell it had been uprezzed but was superior to my software solutions.

I do find if I uprez to an uncompressed or lossless format first and then compress to my delivery format, the end result is better than uprezzing during compression.
larry-peter wrote on 5/6/2014, 11:03 AM
While doing a quick search on the current state of software uprezzing, I stumbled on some humorous posts by people who work daily with forensic video apps, complaining about the history of TV and film misleading people about their capabilities. My favorite was this quote from MacGyver showing how simple it was to get a high quality uprez back in the early '90s:

"Create a bitmap. Now increase the Z-axis while holding the X and Y axis steady."

(slapping my head) How could I have missed it! It's so simple!
Laurence wrote on 5/6/2014, 6:21 PM
The main reason that the Bluray and DVD player uprezzes look so good compared to software is that they aren't stuck at the slow framerate of 30fps. A hardware uprez on interlaced typically uprezzes one field during one sixtieth of a second, and the other one the next sixtieth of a second (fiftieth if it's PAL). That looks a heck of a lot better than deinterlacing 60i and uprezzing to HD resolutions. In progressive formats, I don't see nearly the advantage of the hardware uprez.

Boris BCC8 has an uprez plugin that is available on a Vegas timeline, although I don't see a heck of a lot of advantage to it over a regular Vegas resize.

You can get a very good progressive uprez by saving video as a image sequence and batch uprezzing with Photozoom Pro. I remember experimenting with this sort of thing before getting my first HDV camera.
musicvid10 wrote on 5/6/2014, 7:25 PM
I used Irfanview for batch upscaling.
Handbrake CLI does a nice job too.
Laurence wrote on 5/7/2014, 7:13 AM
> I used Irfanview for batch upscaling.

I use Irfanview for downscaling to PNG for slideshows. Photozoom Pro is simply amazing for uprezzing so I never use anything else for that. On an uncompressed image it is simply miraculous, but it also has some selectable jpeg artifact reduction that lets you uprez crappy jpegs surprisingly well. It is one of my favorite programs.

I noticed that the GUI version of Handbrake doesn't allow uprezzing but I hadn't thought of trying the command line version. Nice tip. Thanks.
larry-peter wrote on 5/7/2014, 8:11 AM
Thanks. I'll definitely check out the software mentioned. I have a project upcoming where I need to incorporate some home-video footage taken in a war zone. The quality is low to begin with, but necessary to the story. None of the software I've tested worked well with even a marginal blowup, so anything that gets better results will be welcome.

Jøran Toresen wrote on 5/7/2014, 8:41 AM
Take a look at Video Enhancer:


larry-peter wrote on 5/7/2014, 10:48 AM
I have tried Video Enhancer. It's in the quality range of the other software that's been mentioned. I don't want to believe it, but I really think I'll get the best quality by burning the footage to DVD and taking the player's HDMI into my AJA box. I just don't see software that looks as good as the hardware uprez.

Edit: I have not looked at PhotoZoom Pro yet. I will check that out with an image sequence.