BMD Revival?

Fateh Shams Oct 2, 2015

  1. Is it alive?

    Anyone use it?

    Is it even comparable with other systems? (Diamant Film or Phoneix)

    Is it even worth to check it or go for other alternatives for basic film restoration like Diamant Film or Phoenix.

    Of course then we are talking about another investment level with Phoneix or Diamant Film.
  2. It's completely CPU based (so you'll basically need a server filled with CPUs) and as far as I know it's also dead or dying. A user I know also said that it is filled with bugs that aren't going to be fixed.
  3. As far as I know it's dropped, and there's no plans to (ahem) revive it. MTI Film, The Pixel Farm, Digital Vision, Algosoft, and Diamant-Film pretty much have the film restoration market sewn up as far as I know.
    Juan Salvo likes this.

  4. Dead.

    We recently switched our restoration system from an MTI to PFClean. Each has strengths and weaknesses. I never liked Diamant's interface - it just felt weirdly clunky, and the last time I used Algosoft it barely had a GUI. Maybe it's improved by now, but it was heavily geared towards automatic correction, which we won't do. Phoenix was just way too expensive last time we looked at it.

    We do everything manually, so for us it comes down to ease of use and quality of fixes. PFClean and MTI are pretty much equal in terms of quality of fixes, but PFClean is much faster and more efficient, and allows for more ingest/export options. Plus, it lets us load it more file formats than DPX, which is nice when we just have to do some light work on a Quicktime file. Also, it has a nice set of mastering tools for handling crops, letterboxing, scaling, etc. The UI takes a bit of getting used to, but it's a pretty cool application.

    None of the restoration systems that claim automatic dust busting are acceptable in my opinion. The workflow for those is to run the auto-pass then QC to find its mistakes, then undo those and fix them manually. In 10 years of doing this, we've found that it's actually faster and you get much better results if you just do the cleanup manually from the get-go. You'll never catch all the false positives, and automated restoration tools often leave terrible artifacts behind (like important parts of the picture go missing, or grain is smoothed out too much, etc).

    PFClean is priced in line with Revival, too - about $10k, plus the computer. We run it on a reasonably quick i7 system with a GTX960 card, and it's not bad. We'll probably be setting up some additional machines as render nodes soon, to speed things up.

  5. That's a great report, Perry. This is very specialized stuff and while I used to know a bunch of people in this business (at 2 different LA companies), all are defunct at the moment. Definitely very precision, demanding, important work that needs a keen eye and much patience to pull off. I've seen MTI DRS pull off miracles on occasions -- with a lot of manual assistance. I'm curious how well/badly it compares with Digital Vision DVO options. What I observe is that no one package does it wind up having to usde muliple tools as needded.
  6. Haven't used the DVO tools, outside the plugins that were in our old Sonic Blu-ray encoder (Noise reduction, sharpening, etc, and I wasn't too impressed with those -- but that was a while ago. Haven't used that encoder in years).

    This is true. PFClean seems to come closest to a single application solution, but I do miss some things in the MTI. The big problem with the restoration business is that there are too many companies overseas who are willing to do the work for next to nothing. If you split a feature up among 20 underpaid employees (or maybe well paid, depending on the country you're talking about) you can be done with it in a few days. If you have a single artist working on a 2k feature, it can easily take 3-4 weeks going manually.

    The thing is, the results are better if it's one person doing it, assuming that person knows what they're doing. We've seen some seriously spotty restoration work come back from overseas services, where some scenes are only partially finished, or some scenes look great while others look like they went through a cheese grater. It's totally hit or miss when you have that many people in the mix.

    Unfortunately, they've driven the prices down so low that it's really hard to compete and you have to have clients who understand and appreciate (and care) that someone is actually doing it right.

  7. Last time on IBC (maybe 2012) when I saw PFClean demo, it did'nt supported hardware for Video I/O or monitoring via HD-SDI.

    Is it still the case?

    One thing it's nice about PFClean is that it's also runs on MAC OSX so we can utilize our mac pros.

    I will download a demo version and test it.
  8. Honestly, I'm not sure about video I/0, but I believe it does. MTI did this for a long time, but removed it a few years ago because it was rarely used. We found Video I/O handy back in like 2006 or 2007, but mostly because we had a lot more tape back then so we could ingest and write to tape directly from within the software. Since everything is basically file based for us now, it's not a feature we've really needed

    We use a nice Dell monitor for PFClean. It's 2560x1440, so we can fit a full 2k film (at actual size) on screen with the user interface around it. Well, a widescreen film at least. For 4k, we've found the best way to approach it is with multiple passes anyway, so we usually do a pass with the image scaled to fit, then 4 more passes at 100%, one for the upper left, one for the upper right, then lower left and lower right. It's a lot of work, but it's effective and you catch much more this way.

    Ours runs on Windows 7. Back with PFClean v2, in 2007 or 2008, we had tons of problems on the mac when evaluating it, and stuck with MTI at the time. I think The Pixel Farm has become much more mac-centric in the past several years though. We're also considering moving several PCs over to Linux to get a bit of a performance boost, and the PFClean might be one of them. It'll take a little experimenting to see if it's worth it, but in theory it should be faster than Win7 on the same hardware.
    Marc Wielage likes this.
  9. Restoration is a fascinating area and I love working in the field. I product manage Digital Vision Phoenix along with Bjorn Lantz, it's actually very similar to Nucoda (with a a few restoration tweaks ;-) It is still a art of the industry that there is research and work done on new tools, and those tools are worth the money for the most part. No problem you find on film is ever exactly the same and I love that. (and sometimes despise it equally)

    Revival was the go to software a time ago, the tools are still relevant but new formats and resolutions are an issue and not development has pretty much marked it's demise. MTI, PFC and Diamant are still our there, and the Diamant guys have some interesting tools and are constantly developing. MTI have new versions out and are well known for their manual tools, PFC has become a bit quiet of late.

    We are actively developing for Phoenix (new tools for auto detection and fixing of dead pixels is in beta) - for film scanner sensors and digital cameras.

    Our automated tools are very good and do a good job for clients that are very highly rated in the restoration industry, there are some things that automated tools are much better at doing, like vertical scratch removal and deflicker, we work hard to make them work well.

    In the end, you likely need one of everything in the arsenal, if you want to get work done.

    As for Paolo's comment on sweat shops - this is true, throwing human pain and suffering at the problem has been a long time favorite in many industries, including VFX, Stereo conversion and restoration. In the end good restoration is done by people who care and know their material.

    Paolo, or anyone else out there, if you have any questions or want to have a look at Phoenix, drop a line. Also happy to help out with any other questions, regardless of what software you use.

    If you're restoring film, you're ok by me ;-)


  10. Surprised to hear you say this. They have a defined product release roadmap (one major version per year, incremental versions throughout the year). Additionally, one can download the latest stable and development builds from their site, and these are updated every couple of weeks. They've been extremely responsive to our bug reports and feature requests, and do everything out in the open.

    Also, if you have a user account you can see the latest bug reports and their severity. I can't remember the last software company I worked with that even acknowledged (beyond an email, maybe) that their software might have bugs...

    If anything, I'd say that MTI has been a little behind on things (though to their credit they just did a complete rewrite of CORRECT into DRSNova, which is a major undertaking. It's a nice, stable tool, but still needs improvement).

    We did look at Phoenix a few years ago at NAB, and it looks like a powerful set of tools. But it was just priced too high for our budget.

  11. Perry

    No offence intended...I am used to seeing them at IBC and they were not showing PFC this year, just the tracking stuff on the AMD booth.

    Agreed on MTI, rewriting a piece of software like that is a huge undertaking.


Share This Page