Today, video dominates social media and is preferred over images and text. With the increase in internet speed and connectivity, demand for online content and video streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Prime has grown. That is why businesses and entrepreneurs are catching on to this trend and actively produce visuals that meet the high-quality standards their audience expects to see. 

In the production industry, such ultra-HD content can be edited without making the picture blurry. By the way, we already wrote about image enhancement in our previous article. What about old low-resolution movies, commercials, home videos? Can they be enhanced to give you the best viewing experience on modern displays? Let’s find out.

The Need for Video Enhancement Services

Before we move any further, let’s quickly look at the most common resolutions and terms. The resolution is usually quoted width x height, with units in pixels:

1920 × 1080: Full HD (High Definition)
2048 × 1080: 2K (Digital Cinema)
3840 × 2160: 4K (UHD - Ultra High Definition)
4096 × 2160: 4K (Digital Cinema)
7680 × 4320: 8K (UHD)
15360 × 8640: 16K (UHD)

The current broadly embraced standard for viewing resolution is 4K, and we are moving towards 8K screens. Youtube began supporting 4K for video uploads back in 2010 when a wide range of manufacturers had started producing affordable 4K cameras. Since then, 4K displays and smart TVs have become more affordable and gained popularity. It is questionable, however, whether the human eye can physically notice the difference in the picture quality after 4K, but the race for higher resolutions is on.

Owners of Ultra HD displays get the most of their screens when watching 4K native content. The lower-resolution video must be upscaled to fill out the entire display: for example, 1080p images (Full HD) have just a quarter of the pixels in 4K images. Upscaling is done by a smart TV itself, by the streaming media player (for online streaming), or in special video enhancement software.

What Can A Video Enhancer Do?

In simple terms, video enhancement is the process of improving the quality of a video recording. A professional video enhancer software usually has the following features:

- upscaling;
- better lighting;
- improved stability;
- denoising;
- brightness adjustments;
- cropping, rotating, flipping;
- filters;
- effects and animations.

So, a professional video enhancer is what you need to give your old recordings a second life. 

Upscaling is the process of converting lower resolution media to a higher resolution. Basic upscaling is a way of stretching a lower resolution image onto a larger screen, sometimes degrading quality and destroying details. To enlarge an HD image to fit on a 4K display, you need to fill in an additional 6 million pixels. So the upscaling software has to figure out what each of those new pixels should display based on what the pixels around them are showing (interpolation).

Professional Video Enhancer Software

The Power of AI Video Enhancers: Super-Resolution

Although not all algorithms produce the same picture quality, interpolation generally improves low-resolution images. However, attempting to simulate missing pixels comes at a cost. The result is an image that fits on a 4K display, but can often appear blurry or muted, or has artifacts (halo, blocking). AI video upscaling takes a different approach.

Given a low-resolution image, a deep learning model (usually, a generative neural network) predicts a high-resolution image that would downscale to look like the input, original picture. To achieve this level of accuracy, neural networks need to be pre-trained on millions of images. The AI model can then take low-resolution video and ‘hallucinate’ the lost pixels by analyzing every frame, and enhance the quality exponentially. It can produce incredible sharpness and details no traditional scaler can recreate: from realistic details to cleaner motion consistency.  

AI models are continually improved, and their accuracy grows with each training. Besides, different deep learning models can be deployed to enhance every type of video content. Furthermore, neural networks can be combined to produce astonishing results.

Artificial Intelligence helped upscale the famous Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (L'arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat) to 4K. It is a 1896 French short black-and-white documentary film directed by the Lumière brothers. Despite the original image was enlarged by 600%, the AI engine (DAIN and Topaz Gigapixel AI) managed to produce a sharp and clear picture without visible film grains, artifacts, or distortions. It gives an impression of a modern-day recording, only in black-and-white. 

AI Video Enhancement Software: Short Reviews

Unlike the traditional (non-AI-based) video enhancement tools that are more complex and sometimes require professional editing skills, AI algorithms can automatically improve the quality of your footage. Here are some of our picks.

DVDFab Enlarger AI

This AI-based video quality enhancer uses the deep-learning-based super-resolution technology and can enhance video from 480p (SD) to 1080p (Full HD), and from 1080p to 4K. A deep learning AI engine can study and analyze a low-resolution video frame by frame and create and fill in identical neighboring pixels to enlarge the frame by 300%. The program also uses smart color correction algorithms.

DVDFab Enlarger AI is based on the TensorFlow framework and has been trained with millions of videos, movies, and TV shows using neural networks. Also, it uses the latest CUDA and cuDNN GPU acceleration technologies from NVIDIA Graphics Cards.

PicaVue (GDFLab Video Upscaler)

GDFLab Video Upscaler is a cloud-based service. This video enhancement app claims to be able to upscale videos and images up to 16K by increasing both the resolution and quality:

  • 270p ~ 360p to 720p or FHD;
  • 540p to 4K UHD;
  • 4K FHD to 16K.

AI is used to eliminate noise and restore details that were not clearly visible in the original image. Also, GDFLab Video Upscaler can restore old videos, giving them a clear view and better resolution. Applicable industries for this solution are CCTV, film production, social media, and any industries related to recordings. Users can upload their images and videos simultaneously to all the major platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, etc.

Topaz Video Enhance AI

We already mentioned this video enhancer when we wrote about upscaling an antique 1896 documentary to 4K. Topaz Video Enhance AI is considered one of the best video enhancement software. It can upscale videos up to 8K resolution with true details and motion consistency. 

Video Enhance AI can enhance footage from DVD content, DSLR footage, game footage, and HD stock footage. You can also upscale your older recordings for modern use, such as commercials, music videos, movie content, or YouTube videos.

Topaz Video Enhance AI uses deep learning to extrapolate detail from your footage. It was trained using a neural network that analyzes thousands of video pairs to learn how details usually get lost and can generate more detail for a realistic look given the amount of information available in a single video clip.

To Sum It Up

Enhancement and upscaling a low-resolution video create an effect similar to what a person wearing prescription glasses for the first time can experience. Suddenly, the world reveals millions of details, trees have leaves, street signs, and bus numbers become legible. Despite Full HD and 4K now being the most popular viewing resolution for web and TV, the upper limit of video quality has not yet been set.

Our team at Evergreen has many years of experience in using TensorFlow — an open-source machine learning framework to create and implement AI-powered solutions for many areas of business.

We specialize in developing personalized solutions for our clients, and we can build a minimum viable product (MVP) timely and cost-effectively, that can grow to a fully-fledged and scalable product in the future.

If you are interested in developing a reliable solution that will use state-of-the-art technology and AI algorithms to solve your business tasks, we are ready to help you. Please call us or fill in the form, and our specialists will contact you as soon as possible.

27.07.2020
The images used in this article are taken from open sources and are used as illustrations.