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Workshop Colouriser of black and white TV recordings

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WayneD
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Something a bit different, I've recently found some experimental software that uses AI to colourise black and white video. It's really clunky to use at the moment and I ended up running it through a video editing program so I could tweak the colours, but I have to say the results are impressive!

This is from 1971 and was made during the ITV colour strike so it was shot in black and white. The main thing I concentrated on was the brown GPO telephone and the off-white MK plug.

 
Posted : 19/07/2022 9:33 pm
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Nuvistor
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@wayned 

I have seen the results of colourising B/W from using the subcarrier dots in the mono picture but not heard of this way.

Impressive.

 

Frank

 
Posted : 20/07/2022 6:43 am
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WayneD
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@nuvistor 

Yeah, it was the chroma dot colour recovery process that first got my interests in stuff like this. However, this was shot with mono cameras so there's no chroma dots available.

It is very experimental at the moment but hopefully this will get a much more polished version. Actually, I must try playing this through a CRT TV and see what it looks like.

 
Posted : 20/07/2022 7:28 am
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @wayned

@nuvistor 

Yeah, it was the chroma dot colour recovery process that first got my interests in stuff like this. However, this was shot with mono cameras so there's no chroma dots available.

Are you sure? It could still have been shot with colour cameras but with their coders set to luminance only - which, back then, would have suppressed the colour burst. In the late 60s and early 70s monochrome programming was transmitted with the burst turned off - there were a few sets which detected this and changed the colour balance of the tube to make it more blue, like a traditional mono tube of the time. In some cases a chroma notch filter was also removed.

 
Posted : 20/07/2022 10:58 am
WayneD
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@cathovisor part of the ITV colour strike was everyone refused to work on colour equipment so they just went back to using mono equipment. 

 
Posted : 20/07/2022 11:29 am
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @wayned

@cathovisor part of the ITV colour strike was everyone refused to work on colour equipment so they just went back to using mono equipment. 

Did they have enough mono studios at Granada to switch production to, then? Because I simply cannot see colour equipment being removed and replaced with mono for this.

I am very loath to cite Wikipedia (having read the original bullshit about the handover of Elstree from ATV to the BBC which has since been edited) but I'd like to bring your attention to this:

At that time, ITV had recently switched to colour transmissions, requiring the individual companies to invest heavily in new equipment. Early colour television studio cameras consisted of four tubes to relay the picture: three were receptive to colour (red, green and blue – the chrominance signal) with the fourth providing a high-resolution monochrome image (the luminance signal) which was still required as many viewers still watched on monochrome receivers. The final colour picture was created by combining the chrominance and luminance signals, but the technicians simply switched off the colour tubes whilst this dispute took place.

Taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colour_Strike

 
Posted : 20/07/2022 1:30 pm
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WayneD
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@cathovisor ah, I stand corrected I've just been reading up on this. They did indeed use colour cameras but they switched of the red, green and blue chrominance signal tubes and left the mono luminance tubes active. 

No chroma information was recorded though.

Edit: cross post!

 
Posted : 20/07/2022 1:41 pm
Nuvistor
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@cathovisor 

Is there something not quite accurate in the Wikipedia article. The Luminance signal was not just for BW sets but required for the detail in the picture in a CTV,  the colour info being quite low bandwidth.

Or am I being pedantic.

Frank

 
Posted : 20/07/2022 4:06 pm
WayneD
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@nuvistor 

Yeah, I don't think it's explained particularly well in the Wikipedia article. It does imply that the colour signal requires both chrominance and luminance but that's as far as it goes. 

Oh yes, this whole process takes just over a minute to process a second of black and white footage, so you can imagine how long this takes!

20220720 182428

 That's if it hasn't glitched out during processing.

 
Posted : 20/07/2022 5:34 pm
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @nuvistor

@cathovisor 

Is there something not quite accurate in the Wikipedia article. The Luminance signal was not just for BW sets but required for the detail in the picture in a CTV,  the colour info being quite low bandwidth.

Or am I being pedantic.

No, you're not being pedantic at all, Frank. As ever, the Wiki article is another case of "A little knowledge"...

The first generation colour cameras - EMI 2001, Marconi Mk. VII - used four pickup tubes: Y, R, G and B. They mimicked the human eye in that the detail comes from the luminance tube as the eye is most sensitive to detail in monochrome, but very much less so in colour - the same as the rods and cones in the eye. Some of us here will appreciate that some TV sets then did the reverse of this: a detailed luminance signal was sent to the CRT cathode (a low-impedance point so capable of good bandwidth) whilst lower bandwidth colour difference signals were sent to the CRT grids.

The chroma bandwidth in PAL was pretty small - about 1.3MHz IIRC, whilst luminance was 5.5MHz.

It's interesting to note that the Marconi Mk. VII could be optically switched to being a monochrome camera; there was a mirror that diverted all the light to the luminance tube, rather than splitting it between the luminance and colour tubes. That probably gave you another stop of sensitivity; in the 2001 50% of the light from the lens went to the luminance tube and 50% went to the colour tubes.

https://www.tvcameramuseum.org/marconi/mk7/p5.html
https://www.tvcameramuseum.org/emi/2001/p1.html

Later cameras only used three tubes - R, G and B. Combining the signals to the NTSC luminance equation of Y = 0.59G + 0.3R + 0.11B gave you your monochrome picture. The big issue then is - where do you get your detail from? Well, the biggest component of the luminance signal is the green, so it was used to electronically derive a sharpening signal to compensate for aperture losses caused by the scanning beam being of a finite size. Some cameras used the derived luminance to do this.

The practice of "contours out of green" as it was known had the capacity to rear up and bite you in the bum very hard: I recall a now-deceased LD bemoaning that the cameras looked really 'soft' in his beautifully lit scene.

The scene was flooded with magenta light - not a trace of green in it...

 

 
Posted : 20/07/2022 6:40 pm
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Lloyd
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This is quite interesting! I wonder if this software could make any sense out of stuff that I shot back in 2001 on a crap black and white CCTV camera!

 Regards 

Lloyd 

 
Posted : 20/07/2022 7:30 pm
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WayneD
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@lloyd upload it to YouTube and I'll give it a try! You don't have to make it public though, unlisted is fine as long as you send me the link.

 
Posted : 20/07/2022 7:41 pm
WayneD
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So I've set up a gaming PC for this and with the rendering at maximum it took about 14 hours to colourise a clip less than four minutes long! 

20220725 201425

It does struggle with certain things though. The Stratocaster guitar is supposed to be sunburst like this: 

Screenshot 20220726 151211 Google

The cymbals are a weird colour too. 

The first 20 seconds are black and white to show the difference. Wizard of Oz style:

 
Posted : 26/07/2022 3:02 pm
Anonymous
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The concept of converting black-and-white films into color has been going on for 30 years. I think you all remember the negative reaction from respected film directors and artists when Turner Entertainment released a colorized version of Casablanca in 1988.

Although the relevant software has evolved over the years, there is still a long way to go before making this happen in a convincing way. The so called "deoldify" software that has been recently used in colorizing B/W content is far from perfect.

In the last two years a small number of classic B/W Greek movies have been colorized and broadcasted in color. I personally did not like any of them. See below trailer of a colorized Greek movie professional as an example:

 

Best Regards,

Christos Gartaganis

 

 

 

 
Posted : 06/11/2022 1:27 pm
WayneD
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@tiramola if something was made in black and white such as a movie then I'd rather it stayed in black and white. There's lots of movies and indeed TV shows from the 1960s that suit black and white. I particularly like watching shows like The Addams Family or 1960s Doctor Who on an age appropriate TV.

The main reason I was wanting to experiment with this is for episodes of TV shows where the colour episodes have been lost or indeed made during the ITV colour strike where there's some black and white episodes amongst the colour episodes.

 
Posted : 06/11/2022 4:13 pm
Anonymous
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Maybe some day it would be hard to tell when watching an old movie or TV show if it was originally shot in color or converted from B/W footage. I am in no way opposed to developing or experimenting with AI technology dedicated to restoring old footage. 

I'm just being skeptical on recent commercial colorized releases with less than convincing results.

 

Cheers,

Christos Gartaganis

 

 

 

 

 

 
Posted : 06/11/2022 5:27 pm
WayneD
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@tiramola have a look at Chroma Spot recovery. It's fascinating:

 
Posted : 06/11/2022 9:38 pm
Anonymous
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Great technology and way ahead of its time.

 

Christos.

 
Posted : 06/11/2022 10:05 pm
irob2345
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@tiramola I don't know if "ahead of its time" is the right expression.

It's always been known that the PAL encoding process allows you to recover the reference if it isn't there, as in the case of this film recording.

You can't do this with NTSC. It's been tried. Thanks to Dr. Bruch, it's possible with PAL!

What I find amazing is the tracking that needs to be done to correct for the inevitable geometric errors introduced by the CRT. The phase relationships in the raw data are wobbling about all over the place! An impressive piece of coding to make it work and the results are nothing short of astounding. This came from a kinescope? Hard to believe!

Just remember, this is not adding back the colour artificially, it's retrieving the real thing from the film.

It also says something about the work that had been put into making Telerecordings or Kinescopes as the Yanks call them, good enough quality to make it possible.

 
Posted : 16/11/2022 4:05 am
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Cobaltblue
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I have been watching the "Colourised" versions of Space Patrol on youtube. Although I would have been 7 when this series started airing I don't remember ever seeing the series although I do recall Fireball XL5. First in the series here : Space Patrol in colour. Episode 1, The Swamps of Jupiter, by Roberta Leigh - YouTube

I am trying to form an opinion as to whether or not colourising makes the program more watchable or not.

The jury is still out.

Cheers

Mike T

 

I don't care if it was a bargain whats it doing on my kitchen table. www.cossor.co.uk

 
Posted : 27/06/2023 6:48 am
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