How to improve quality of original Arcanum videos?

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Crypton
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How to improve quality of original Arcanum videos?

Post by Crypton » Thu May 20, 2010 10:44 pm

Hi everybody,

today I've tried to convert Arcanum videos from bik to avi, since we cant use bik codec or bink library due legal issues, and also I've tried to "improve" video quality, because they looks a bit ugly, blocky, etc... it caused by lossy compression that was buggy that times, so some frames are completely destroyed because of it...

I've used Rad Tools for converting .bik to .avi, then I used VirtualDub to improve quality, by using filters in this order:
-deinterlace - blend
-smoother - 100, enable noise prefilter
-motion blur

And results? I'm satisfied with results, blockiness is removed, even its bit blurry and smoother, it still has details and looks good...

Here is preview images, but you should convert them by yourself to see full video because its hard to compare quality of two videos only from one picture...

Original
Image

Improved
Image

So what do you think? is there any other way how to improve it even more?
Now the question is which format we should use to encode them back to smaller size? we cant use raw video, since 3 min video has about 3GB, so we need to chose some codec to shink it down a bit... I think that h264 could be good choice, what do you think?

PS: I could provide download for decoded files, but they are huge, so only after request....
You may post here your results as well, its frame 814 from video 00069.bik

Also I've added a download links below to mp4 encoded videos...

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Re: Improve quality of original Arcanum videos?

Post by Crypton » Thu May 20, 2010 10:55 pm

Also I've tried to combine:
deinterlace - blend
temporal smoother - 10

Original
Image

Improved
Image

Looks better, right?

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Re: How to improve quality of original Arcanum videos?

Post by Crypton » Thu May 20, 2010 11:56 pm

Here is encoded videos, I used MediaCoder for this task, output file is MP4 format, video is encoded with H.264 codec (Average, 1000Kbps) and audio is MP3 (128Kbps), file size is 13MB, which is 100% smaller than original bink video, plus with better quality.

Version 0
-deinterlace - blend
-smoother - 100, enable noise prefilter
-motion blur



Version 1:
-deinterlace - blend
-temporal smoother - 10



Which look better to you?

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Re: How to improve quality of original Arcanum videos?

Post by Canageek » Tue May 31, 2011 2:56 am

Alright, here are some ideas:
Can you post the details of the format you are using? AVI is a container, so we might be able to upgrade that:
H.264 is considered one of the best, have you tried that?
Ogg Vorbis isn't as good at some things, but it is totally free, so no legal issues. Also better then a lot of old avi codecs.
Google just released webM, which is supposed to be as good as H.264, though some claim this is because it is just about identical. Also free for now.

Judging from those screenshots we are getting some very significant degradation of the video, which I don't think should be the case.

I'm downloading the movies now, but I think the blurr is a bit excessive from the pictures, I did a closer comparison and can see it is because you are trying to blur out those blocks. I just installed Arcanum last weekend (it went on sale on GoG a week ago so I bought it ^^) and mine are not nearly as blocky when I play them with MPlayer. http://www.mplayerhq.hu/.
Which raises the question: Why can't we use those? MPlayer is free & open source software, so there is an open source driver.
Why don't you try reencoding it with MPlayer? It comes with an encoder called MEncoder that I hear is pretty good, though commandline only and a bit tricky to use. It does however support everything under the sun.

Ok, so I now have v0 and the original playing side by side, and I do think the original looks better: V0 removes a lot of the fake film grain and muddies the sharp blacks & whites. I'm downloading #1 now, will let you know what I think.

Alright, I've viewed them both: You do cut out a lot of the pixilation in the original, but you also are blurring out a lot of the detail: Have a look at this comparison shot, at the blimps Image.

I'll have a look at some guides and see if I can find some better settings.
--Canageek
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Re: How to improve quality of original Arcanum videos?

Post by Canageek » Tue May 31, 2011 4:20 am

Alright, my encoding efforts. I'm using mencoder as it is easy to share settings with it, and I have in installed: All files done with 00069.bik as I don't want to spoil myself: I will also admit that I don't have great eyes, or any experience doing this.

mencoder 00069.bik -o 00069-basic.avi -oac lavc -ovc lavc is a basic transcode using ffmpeg (The sister project to mplayer/mencoder according to the guide on Image I'm following). Looks almost the same as the original, except the black and white scenes seem a tiny bit yellow to me. Oh, and it is about half the filesize.
Downside is: It looks the same as the original, no improvement on the pixilatoin. I'd ask around Doom9 and suck for help on that. I've got some extra time this summer, so if you are interested in me looking into this let me know.
--Canageek
Come have a look at my roleplaying blog! Settings and ideas abound. | I can also be found on twitter

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is."
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Crypton
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Re: How to improve quality of original Arcanum videos?

Post by Crypton » Tue May 31, 2011 6:00 pm

Thanks for your efforts. I haven't tried everything, so you surely have a lot of space for improvements. Anyway, could you please upload your converted videos? if you have any, so I can compare them with my version and choose which is the best. ;)

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