If it is really a haze there isnt much you can do. But the haZe you refer to may be a soft image with not much contrast. You could try adding some contrast with a levels filter; but to much will introduce noise.
If it is grainy; there is a pretty descent de-noise filter in AE. Perhaps a frame grab of your footage would help us make a more specific recommendation.
Please tell us about your workflow to digitize these tapes.
I do a lot of VHS to digital capture, and have some "tricks" for improving the resulting footage. Rather than bore you, if you tell us about what you have done, there might be even more things that can help.
Now, to give you a bit of background, I capture to DV-AVI, through a Canopus ADVC 300, and enact some timebase corrections there. Then, most footage gets the following Effects and in this order: Levels (not Auto), Shadow & Highlights (turn OFF Auto), Fast Color Corrector and then Neat Video, followed by Unsharp Mask. The resulting images look like a inexpensive digital video camera, but much better than the original.
ADVC300 is a nice little box. I did a mini review of it a while ago with examples:
Here is my mini review:
I found the manual for the box badly written(badly translated Japanese in many spots; ex: "When the S-Video input, Y/C separation of the [Filter} tab can not set". Aside from the bad translation there is little detail about most of the features. Still, I was able to poke around and divine how most of the settings work.
I tested on a variety of old vhs footage and found the box does a pretty good job. The 3d noise filters do cause ghosting so I found any footage with alot of motion was not a good candidate for the 3d filters.
For me the biggest benefit of the box is doing the color correction in real time as it is captured while cleaning some of the grain at the same time. This is faster for me than correcting it in PPRO. Also, it is better to attempt the clean up while the video is analog rather in post; there is more information available. I liked the AGC (auto gain corrector) for video and audio. As scenes change it does a decent job making adjustments. (Sometimes the changes are too abrupt, so it depends on the footage)
Note; My VCR has a TBC built in. So, it does a pretty good job on its own stabilizing footage before it even gets to the ADVC300. So, the results would be more dramatic if I was using a VCR without TBC.
For the curious, below are links to 5 videos I output to WMV showing the videos captured via a DV deck -vs the ADVC (using split screen)
My setup is as follows:
- Capturing without the ADVC300:
JVC HRS9911 SVHS VCR connected through a sony DSR-25 DV deck via Svideo. The sony DV deck simply provides analog passthru to DV. Of course the deck is connected to my NLE via 1394.
- Capturing with ADVC300:
JVC HRS9911 SVHS VCR connected to ADVC300 via Svideo. ADVC300 connected via 1394 to my NLE
Test 1: Old VHS Beach footage
This was using the default settings of the ADVC right out of the box.
Test 2a Home movie with 3d NR filters on strong
This compares original to advc with the 3d NR filters on the strong setting. The 2D filters are off. Note; you will see some of the ghosting problem during the fast movement.
My WebpageTest 2b
Same Home movie capture showing NR on AND off
Same footage as the previous clip. This time the left shows capture via ADVC300 with NO Noise filters on. Right side is with the same 3D NR filters on Strong.
Test 3 Wedding footage vhs dup in EP mode
Here's everyone's favorite. A VHS wedding copied to another VHS in EP mode. No magic here, but the NR does improve the background quite a bit.
Test 4 Old super8 footage that was transfered to VHS several years ago
I encoded these to WMV ata fairly high rate so you can hopefully see the differences. I hope these help others who may be considering this box. It cant fix everything, and there are tradeoffs to the 3d NR, but my quick testing reveals the box does improve footage. And thats what I was after.
Conclusion: If you have a VCR without TBC or are just using a cam Passthr, you will see improvement in the video quality if you route though this box rather than a cam or non tbc vcr. If you do analog xfers alot, this box can really help.
If you have a VCR with TBC (or an external TBC) then the ADVC300 will provide minimal improvement, but nothing spectacular.
I hope this is helpful to anyone looking at this box.
Thanks for sharing your review. I had not seen that one.
I will try some of the things you suggested, thank you! I will also get a shot of what I am talking about...I am afraid there wont be anything I can do about it as it is just old video. This was in the 80s so the cameras were big and bulky and little control of the lights. we had to attach a clamp light to the top of it at one point..pretty funny now when we watch it. Will post later tonight. Thanks for the help
Thats great advice, thank you. I had the videos done at Sams Club as I did not have the hardware myself. Now that I am set up a little better I was hoping to clean them up..so we will see. I still have the original VHS so if anything I will use your advice and just recapture them. Thanks again
I had the videos done at Sams Club as I did not have the hardware myself.
Unfortunately, a lot of the original quality was lost, when the initial compression to MPEG-2 for the DVD was done. If you output to another DVD, more will be lost. That is why most recommend doing the digitization to miniDV tape, or to DVD-Data with DV-AVI Type II files (note: large sized files that will quickly fill up tons of DVD-9's in a hurry), or to an external HDD as those DV-AVI Type II files.