Revisiting old projects with Topaz Video AI

I recently discovered Topaz Labs’ Video AI tool. Curious about how far this technology can be pushed, I dug through my old archives to see if any of my really old projects could be enhanced and, if so, how far I could push this footage.

I found a project I shot in the mid-00s, “McQaude,” way back when I had no idea what I was doing, and making films for a living wasn’t even possible.

McQuade was originally scene 1 of a larger project that never progressed. It followed two cops, Kirt Lock and Chuck Load, as they cleaned up “Somerset City” one bullet at a time. It was an over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek comedy based on every 80s action movie trope. McQuade was created from the opening scene of this project, which saw Chuck Load experiencing a nightmare from his time in Vietnam.

This scene draws heavily from the opening scene of Chuck Norris’ Missing in Action.

McQuade was originally shot in SD on a Sony Handycam (I can’t tell you what model). I took a scene from the original cut of McQuade and ran it through Topaz Labs’ Video AI, upscaling it to 1080p…. It came out okay, considering…

I then cut the sequence and recreated the VFX using assets from ActionVFX

I recreated the title scene using stock footage and VideoCopilots Element 3D.

Topaz Video AI is a great tool, but it is limited by what you put in. For instance, it is a case of “good in, good out,” which in itself seems pretty logical. The more data you give AI, the better the results will be.

However, as a tool that allows people to revisit old projects and re-imagine them (within reason) using modern VFX tools, stock assets and upscaling…. it is pretty damn good! 

Over the coming months, I’ll play around with other old projects to see what can be achieved.