View Full Version : B&W movies... How to?

12th April 2003, 13:26
I have a few B&W movies waiting to be encoded (Failsafe, Seven Samurai and Tetsuo: The Iron Man), and when I ran a PreComp on Tetsuo, it reported back a 0.750+ base-value (which allmost made the movie require TWO CD's for decent image-size at ~70% quality).

I have noticed that there is a Grayscale-filter in VirtualDub. Would this help get me a lower PreComp base-value (and just as good a Q: would it be possible to incorporate the Grayscale-filter as a tick-box in GKnot for easier access?)


12th April 2003, 13:47
Greyscale is a native AviSynth (http://www.avisynth.org) command, and by adding the line greyscale() to the .avs the whole clip will be converted to greyscale. You can also try Tweak(sat=0) which also will create a grayscale video. In general, greyscale is quicker and produces best results on B/W movies like the ones you mention, whereas Tweak is better for converting a previously colored mive to B/W.

Don't expect miracles from either: B/W movies are usually quite hard to compress as they often are grainy and not very well transfered to DVD. Some other form of filtering is probably still needed. Also take a look at XviD, which have internal routines for greyscale video. Combine that with jonny's new Enc and you most likely have a winning combination.

12th April 2003, 13:58
Thanks a ton! Will try that. I have avoided XviD for too long... Maybe I should have a look at it after all?

12th April 2003, 20:48

Using Greyscale for black and white movies is almost a necessity in order to keep out the color that might be on the DVD, or might be introduced by the filters you use. But it won't help at all with the compressibility. As hakko504 said, old B&W's are often pretty grainy and hard to compress. The good news regarding that is that you can use compress test percentages much less than your preferred 70%. I would guess that with an especially grainy movie such as Tetsuo, you could go down to 50% and have it still look good. Seven Samurai is an even more difficult movie to back up, as not only is the source in such bad shape, but it's very long also. Of the three, Fail Safe will be the easiest one (but since it's 116 minutes long, you'll need 2 CDs), as at least it's widescreen, and the print is in decent condition.

One tip-make sure that you are using mono audio, to free up bits for the video. Tetsuo and Seven Samurai are in 1.0 Mono, while Fail Safe is 2.0 Mono. Don't let BeSweet convert it to stereo.

12th April 2003, 21:24
btw Manono, have you tried the restored version of Metropolis yet? I bought it and watched it a little while ago, and I've been thinking about ripping it, but I haven't had the time yet. Any hints would be nice.

13th April 2003, 02:01
Hey hakko504-

Yes, as a matter of fact, I have. Unfortunately, the NTSC R1 version wasn't just slowed down from 25fps, but was telecined off of 25fps, and has blended fields. So I'm sure yours is the better one to own. Also, unlike many silent films that were created at 18 or 20fps, and can be Decimated back to the original frame rate to free up bits, Metropolis was evidently created at 25fps (or maybe 24fps).

But other than that, it was easy. The restoration job is gorgeous, and it looks better than most films made 20 years later. I put it on 2 CDs at 544x400 and 25fps, with the DD 5.1 Audio (although I used AC3Machine to convert to 256 KBps), along with the Commentary track at Mono VBR MP3 80 KBps. I used 1 B-frame, LanczosResizer, a light TemporalCleaner(5,0) and Tweak(Sat=0). The final percentage was about 75%. And the DVD is probably the best silent film DVD ever made, and is loaded with extras. Highly recommended.