Sharpness Setting

I’m testing Shotcut’s sharpness filter.

What does everyone think of this video? I’ve gone heavy on the Sharpness. Does it look artificial to the point of being objectionable?


I guess “objectionable” would depend on the artistic look that’s desired. However, I can say that I see very strong halos around high-contrast lines, and it doesn’t look like a style I would expect to see on television or theater. But it would look fitting if going for a video game feel. My personal opinion would be that the halos are more distracting than beneficial.

I could live with that amount of sharpness if I weren’t after a soft look. It’s all subjective aesthetic judgement and there is no clear “right” or “wrong”, which makes it challenging to judge.

Back in the '70s we used to give video cameras strong “contour enhancement” as it was called then, so I’m kind of used to seeing those sharp edges.

Here is the same video without any added “Sharpness”:

I can’t put my finger on it, but the sharpness does make it feel a little unreal to me - not objectionable, but I wouldn’t want to watch more than a couple of minutes.

If that’s the look you’re after, then you have your answer. :slight_smile:

The second video is much easier to watch in my opinion, especially on a large screen. The bigger the screen, the more a halo becomes its own object rather than simply being “sharpness”, especially if the video is 720p and scaled up a lot.

I think what @Elusien and I might be noticing too is the colors are a bit solid overall. As in, the street sign on the left of the frame is entirely the same shade of white… all concrete is the same shade of gray… the stripes on the train are all absolute black… there isn’t a lot of gradation or tone in between. It’s like the frame has only five colors, and objects are painted with large swatches of those five colors with no shadow rolloff or texture detail. Once sharpness is applied and creates a halo, it’s like those color swatches got an extra-defined border drawn around them and almost resembles a coloring book. If that’s the look that’s desired, then great. But to me, the flatter the texture, the more it looks like a video game. It makes me think of cameras that have the noise reduction setting turned to max and the algorithm strips out details and gradations in the process. Or it could be the sunlight is putting all the dark objects and shadow details outside the camera’s dynamic range, so they’re all falling to black or getting averaged into neighboring pixels.

Those are just observations. We’d have to know more about the look you’re wanting to comment on whether the sharpness setting achieved the goal from an outsider perspective.

I don’t have a specific “look” I’m after. I just want to make the video a bit sharper and bring out some of the detail without looking terribly artificial. I can’t do anything about the way the subject matter is painted.

Here is the same video with 10% sharpness added in Shotcut.

And 50% sharpness:

Seeing the 10% version now, I understand why you wanted to go heavy on the sharpening. :slight_smile:

To me (totally subjective), the 10% still has a lot of fuzziness to it. The 50% looks very close to natural. Could probably even push it some more, especially if you want a stylized look.

Thanks, Austin. I trust your judgement and the feedback is valuable.

I also set the brightness to 99% to put the whites at 100 IRE, particularly the sign on the right.

Here it is with 66% sharpness.

The colors look great at that new white point!

66% sharpness is watchable, but it’s on the edge of halo territory for me personally. Areas that have a direct reflection (like the train tracks and lamppost shades and the steel signal-light support) have specular highlights that bloom into halos, whereas non-specular areas look great. I would estimate 50-60% sharpness is the range for the natural look, and 66% could be useful for a fast-action stylized movie look… for this sequence at least. I guess it has to be tested all over again for the next sequence. :smile:

Here is 60% sharpness.

Check the 50% sharpness clip again.

The 50 and 60 both look very watchable to me. The 50% still looks the most natural / realistic for this scene, whereas the 60% knocks on the door of a plastic-y look without actually entering. For extended viewing, the 50% would be more watchable (produce less eye fatigue). The 60% looks good in a short clip, but by creating sharpness all over the frame, my eye is jumping everywhere chasing every point of contrast wondering if there’s something there I need to be looking at. The extra sharpness is creating false focal points in the form of high contrast, which could take away from the compositional quality of the shot by pulling the eye away from the true intended focal point.

This is a high-contrast scene due to the harsh sunlight, so it follows that a lower sharpness setting would be sufficient to get good results. For an indoor shot with a much smaller dynamic range, the 60% sharpness might be necessary to get the same amount of pop due to lower contrast in the footage.

My two cents is that you’ve found the ideal sharpness range for this scene.

Did you look at the 50% sharpness clip again? I had to edit the link which got mixed up with a different clip.

I looked again at the 50% video that was embedded in post #6. I did not look at the link that was embedded in post #1. The first post didn’t specify an amount and I figured it was above 50% anyway.

The one to judge is titled “half sharp”.

Yes, I looked at “half sharp”. It seemed a little sharper than the original, but not objectionably so. The original looked great too, whatever it was. The original 50% was probably my favorite, but these new numbers look good too.

The “original” 50% sharpness that you liked may actually have been 10%. This wonderful board software may have mixed up the URL’s.

Here is 10% sharpness. Is it your favorite?

Let’s try it this way.

Here are all of the sharpness tests on one page: which one do you like best?

I went to the channel page listed above and just re-watched every train video (although not all the way through every video, so some may still say “no views”). Here are my personal and subjective thoughts which have no bearing on right or wrong whatsoever…

Full sharp: Caused internal bleeding in both my eyeballs
Reduced gain: Internal bleeding in only one eye
10 pct sharp: Fuzzy enough I double-checked my eyeglass prescription
Half sharp: My personal favorite by far, looked the most natural
60 pct sharp: Watchable, but some objects start to look plastic-y in harsh reflections
66 pct sharp: Objects with high-contrast edges look too “bordered” like a line drawing

Double-checking on a larger screen… the “half sharp” is crisp and realistic and without halos, which looks good, but could also look a little YouTuber vlog-style depending on the material. Nothing wrong with that. If you were after a more dramatic vibe, maybe a little less crisp at 40%-ish and some creative grading like reduced saturation would pull it in nicely. It all depends on the look you’re after, and it seems you’ve definitely found the productive range.

So pretty much the same opinion as before. Hope that helps.

Yes, it certainly does help and thank you very much for your time, effort and attention to detail. Hopefully others who may read this thread will find it beneficial.

Half sharp is 50% for both size and amount in Shotcut. If memory serves I believe it is the default setting. I think anything over 50% is overdoing it.

Thanks again for your valuable input.

is the “Bleeding Eyeball” scale a DIN/ANSI standard?