I Improved old Family VHS Videos using Topaz Video Enhance AI

I’m currently helping my future father-in-law transferring DVDs which contain old family VHS videos to a more portable format which can easily be stored and viewed on any device.

Ripping DVDs

Reddit told me the best tool to rip the DVDs with minimum information loss is MakeMKV (free during Beta), and I can fully subscribe to this statement. As the name suggests – it outputs an MKV container without any re-encoding of the source.

A full DVD took only about 15 minutes to save down to disk with the click of two buttons.

Topaz Labs’ Video Enhance AI

Being familiar with Topaz Lab’s state-of-the art Gigapixel AI which can do extraordinary, CSI-like photo upscaling – I also remembered another product of theirs; Video Enhance AI. The software can upscale video with amazing results up to 8K resolution. Since they offer a full 30-day trial without any limitations, I realized this was the time to impress upon my girlfriend’s dad.

I was able to use the files from MakeMKV directly in Video Enhance AI without having to do any re-encoding whatsoever.

Enhancement Settings

While previewing the videos, I realized they all were interlaced, so I had to use a model which supports de-interlacing during the upscale process. There were few options available – and since my source material was of pretty bad quality (VHS) I settled for the Dione Interlaced TV v3 model.

While the source video being recorded in 4:3, it had been stretched to 16:9 in the earlier VHS to DVD digitalization. Topaz properly recognized the correct image aspect ratio. I set the output to Full HD (1920×1080). This meant I was going to have black borders on the side – but the aspect ratio will be correct and the videos would play in the correct aspect ratio on any device.

The output was also giving me 50 fps instead of 25 – probably due to this being interlaced video which is a way to double the framerate while having the same bandwidth.

Speed

With my GTX 970 GPU, a one hour video takes about 36 hours to upscale using the above settings.

This is 36 hours without being able to use the GPU for other heavy tasks such as gaming. This is also 36 hours with a constant fan noise from the graphics card. I also experienced YouTube videos being more choppy and unsmooth while the upscaling was running in the background.

Pausing Topaz Video Enhance AI Processing

There is no pause button in Topaz Video Enhance AI. There is no feature in the software which lets me stop the processing and resume at a later state. If I cancel, I have to start over.

Topaz Video Enhance AI doesn’t let you pause the processing

Suspend process with Process Explorer

The solution is to use the free tool Process Explorer.
This software lets you suspend and resume any process.

  1. Download and extract Process Explorer
  2. Run the 54-bit version of Process Explorer (procexp64.exe)
  3. Find the Topaz Video Enhance AI.exe process
  4. Right click and select Suspend

This can also be done in Windows’ Resource Monitor.

GPU utilization drops

Using Task Manager, we can see that the GPU utilization immediately drops.

After suspending the video processing, I am able to play games and train AI models just as before.

Then, when I want to continue the video processing, I just right click the Topaz process again, and select Resume.

Results

2 Replies to “I Improved old Family VHS Videos using Topaz Video…”

  1. Hey cool post Erik! I just got back a whole bunch of home videos, all about 10 minutes each and a mix of VHS and Super 8s or whatever it was called in the 60s… I’m pretty bummed I don’t have a great GPU (I have the new Mac Mini.)

    It’s crazy how long it takes! How satisfied were you with the resulting footage? Screenshots look nice but I’m curious how it looks once the settings get dialed in.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion to use a process explorer to suspend an active Topaz encode. Seems to work well and a much better thing to run during off hours.

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