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Friday, April 04, 2008
Super-Resolution Technology Makes Film-Industry Debut


Topaz Labs brings the Super-Resolution Technology to the film industry, claiming that new technology has the to ability to significantly increase resolution and details in certain standard definition videos.

Topaz Labs LLC has joined in a partnership with independent feature film Sounds to demonstrate its Super-Resolution Technology previously unheard of in the film industry.

"Sounds the Movie" , produced and directed by Ryan Humphries of Grass Valley, Calif., is the first feature-length movie utilizing Super-Resolution Technology.

The film will premiere the Super-Resolution Technology at the 2008 WorldFest International Film Festival in Houston, Texas.

Super-resolution technology was formerly used predominantly in military applications such as spy satellites. However, recent leaps in both super-resolution theory and computing power has made it feasible for super-resolution technology to be brought to the commercial market.

The technology has the unique ability to actually increase resolution and details in certain videos, the company claims. It works by taking multiple adjacent frames of a video, extracting as much video information as possible from each frame, then reconstructing a single frame by using the details visible in each. In this way, video information that is not present in one frame but is in surrounding frames can be preserved and enhanced. This has the effect of actually rebuilding details that might be absent in certain frames and can even increase the resolution of the original video. However, most super-resolution algorithms are not robust or adaptable enough to different video situations and fail frequently. Many are also prohibitively slow.

Topaz Labs claim that they have made their proprietary super-resolution technology algorithms fast, effective, and robust enough for implementation into commercial software products. With the sci-fi comedy Sounds, Topaz has developed an SRT software that gives producers of independent films the ability to enhance the resolution of any finished movie.

The SRT software from Topaz empowers producers to bump-up their standard definition shot film to hi-def, or even hi-def to digital film of 4,000 pixels. SRT similarly parallels the difference in quality Blu-ray has achieved over standard DVD and compliments Blu-ray in a number of ways.

"If you shot a movie in standard definition, which is generally 720 x 480, you can process it with our SRT software and the finished product is a high-definition quality 1920 x 1080 version of the movie," Yang said. "There are a lot of TV shows that were shot in film and can now, with Super-Resolution Technology, be made to have much better image quality."

Topaz Labs will be the first to develop and introduce Super-Resolution Technology (SRT) to the film industry.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Ryan and his team to be the first to bring super-resolution video enhancement technology to the film market," said Dr. Feng Yang, founder of Topaz Labs and holder of five U.S. patents in video and audio enhancement technology.

"The discovery of true SRT from Topaz is exactly what I and other filmmakers need," Humphries said. "The term Super-Resolution Technology has been used before to describe the process of interpolating and smoothing pixels during image enlargement, which isn't super-resolution at all. This technology uses a new approach to achieve super-resolution enhancement."

The new, super-resolution software is expected to become available to the film industry this summer (2008). However, a before-and-after demonstration of this technology from the movie Sounds can be viewed at http://www.soundsthemovie.com/srtdemo.htm.

Researchers at Intel have also developed an super-resolution algorithm that, by leveraging the power of multiple microprocessors, can boost the resolution of a video as it plays in real time.


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