Automatic Digital Film Restoration

With the rise of digital visual media, there is a growing demand for content. This content often must be sources from archives, and their material is rapidly degrading. Blotches, shaking, flicker and film graininess are all defects of video and film footage. For that footage to be useful, it must be restored. Manual restoration is painstaking and involves the user literally "painting" away hundreds of flecks of dirt. Some things cannot be removed manually, like camera shake.

Figure 1: Automated Restoration of Rory O'More (1911).

This demonstration shows the results of automatic digital restoration of some old archive footage. The left part of the frame shows the original condition and the right hand side shows the restoration after three processes were applied. First the camera shake was removed, then the brightness flicker was reduced and finally, the Blotches were removed. This was done using digital video processing algorithms that use mathematical models for image sequences. A crucial point here is that motion must be estimated automatically between frames to allow for the frames to be correctly restored. This is the most difficult part of the process.

Page last modified on September 29, 2007