Carmel is a consumer-oriented PC application that can enhance digital video footage. It works by gathering data over many frames to “rebuild” information missing or damaged on any given frame. For example, to “fix” one frame, Carmel might have to investigate 5 to 10 frames before and after. Users can select how many frames the data gathering happens on. This is how performance will be tweaked.
This process is usually slow, so to boost performance, Carmel uses GPU acceleration via CUDA, NVIDIA’s general C-like programming language. In practice, you can expect a real-time “clean-up” of a YouTube video (320×240) in real time, assuming that Carmel analyses 10 adjacent frames using a GeForce 280 GTX (our review). Using a GPU makes the processing about 5x faster than current CPUs, according to Motion DSP, the company that makes the software.
Even though the examples shown by Motion DSP feature pretty bad video (watch the demos, it’s compelling), this technology could also apply to better-quality video. In fact some effects featured such as frame interpolation are done in real-time in edgy 120hz televisions, although in a different from. But don’t be fooled by the screenshot above, Carmel should be able to re-construct pixellated video or help stabilize shaky footage. The algorithms used come from the “forensic” version of the software called IkenaReveal (follow the link for cool demos).
It is technically possible to use Carmel as a real-time filter on existing videos (like YouTube’s) where the quality still has a long way to go. However, that will require additional software. This is a very interesting possibility for video users and for NVIDIA.
Carmel will be sold and distributed by NVIDIA, who has recently become an investor in Motion DSP. The exact price has not been announced, but we have been told that it would be “consumer-friendly”. Let’s wait and see. In the meantime, you can sign up at the Carmel product page. Motion DSP also has a related web service called fixmymovie.com. Again, watch the demos – this is cool!