Last updated on June 30th, 2020
Topaz Video Enhance AI is a video enlarger that allows users to upsize their videos up to 8K ultra high definition. In this Topaz Video Enhance AI review, I’m going to test some of my HD videos and upsize it to 4K resolution.
First, here are some definitions of common display resolutions:
- 8K ultra high definition (UHD) – 7680 x 4320 pixels
- 4K ultra high definition (UHD) – 3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160 pixels
- 1080p high definition (HD) – 1920 x 1080 pixels
- 720p high definition (HD) – 1280 x 720 pixels
- standard definition (SD) – usually anything lower than 720p quality
Why You Would Need to Enlarge a Video
Unfortunately, technology moves fast and not all video cameras can record in 1080p resolution or higher. Furthermore, providing viewers with UHD resolution provides a richer viewing experience.
There are 2 common scenarios a person would need to enlarge a video:
Display screens are moving to UHD resolutions. If you are a content creator, or just want to show some videos to your friends or family, then UHD will provide a better viewing experience in terms of quality.
There is also the SEO benefit of UHD videos. For instance, YouTube users have the option of searching for videos in 4K. Uploading 4K content will increase your video views.
Videos downloaded from mobiles apps such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp have standard definition.
This is a common issue when you friend records you doing something that is video worthy like a snowboard trick with their phone. And if that friend shares the video with you via WhatsApp, then the video will most likely be SD (due to downsizing to save space and bandwidth) quality even though it was recorded with a smartphone that has 4K recording.
In addition, keep in mind many smartphones aren’t automatically set to 4K recording, usually it’s 1080p.
Of course, you can always ask your friend to send the video via email. But maybe it was an acquaintance that sent it to you and it’s too much to ask for an email send.
Topaz Video Enhance AI Review
In my test cases, I used old video footage that I recorded using a GoPro Hero 3 Black at 1080p resolution.
The video quality isn’t the greatest but sets a good benchmark.
Also, no editing such as lighting or color corrections were done to the images other than cropping and upsizing.
The videos were upsized from 1080p to 4K resolution.
You can watch this video to see a comparison.
I viewed the quality of the original videos and the 4K videos on my 5K iMac at the native resolution of 5120 x 2880 pixels and also at my working scaled resolution of 2048 x 1152 pixels.
The 4K video has a noticeable improvement in detail.
In order to notice the quality of the videos, I recommend pausing the video at different times. You may also have to view the video at full screen.
Topaz Video Enhance AI Processing Models
The processing models have changed since the initial release of Topaz Video Enhance AI. You may have noticed them in the other photo.
As of June 2020, the software as 4 different upsizing models:
- Gaia-HQ: P, HQ (upscale video) – For progressive video only that is high quality.
- Gaia-CG: P, CG, HQ (upscale computer-generated video) – For progressive video only that is high quality and computer generated.
- Artemis-HQ: P, HQ, MC (enhance and upscale video) – For progressive video only that is high quality with little noise/blockiness and keep motion consistency (less flicker).
- Artemis-LQ: P, LQ, MC (enhance and upscale video) – For progressive video only that is low quality with strong noise/blockiness and keep motion consistency (less flicker).
I’ll explain couple of the terms for the upscaling or enhancing models that you may sound confusing.
Progressive video sources display even and odd scan lines—at the same time—to make up the entire video frame. On the other hand, interlaced video sources display even and odd scan lines separately—one after the other—to make up the entire video frame.
The p in 1080p stands for progressive. NTSC analog television signals are broadcasted in 480i (interlaced).
The Artemis or MC (motion consistency) model should be used for videos that have high movement.
I used my iMac 6-core i5, 32 GB RAM, Radeon Pro 570X 4 GB GPU, to test the software.
Regrettably at the time of writing this summary, Topaz Video Enhance AI is not optimized for Mac.
That being said, it took about 5 hours to enlarge and process a 10-second video at 1080p (60 fps) video to 4K. I just ended up letting the upsizing to complete overnight.
The reason Topaz Video Enhance AI is slow on Mac is it requires a Nvidia GPU which Macs don’t typically have but is readily available on Windows. The software relies on the integrated GPU and eventually the CPU to render the videos on Mac.
The recommended GPU is Nvidia 1080 GTX 8GB or better. You’ll need to make sure you have the latest Nvidia driver installed.
You can view the system requirements here.
I tested version 1.2.2 on my iMac and can’t confirm nor deny its performance improvement. It’s difficult to test the performance against the original Mac 1.1.1 version because I’m using my iMac for other tasks while Video Enhance AI is rendering.
As you can see from the picture below, the estimated time to complete the enlarging of the video will vary. It all depends on how much CPU or GPU resources can be dedicated to Video Enhance AI at any given time.
If you have a 60-second video at 30 fps, and Video Enhance AI processes at 30 sec/frame, then your video will take 15 hours to enlarge. If the video was recorded at 60 fps, then it would take 30 hours. These are only estimates and can vary widely. Remember, this is on my iMac and not a Windows machine. For comparison and according to Topaz Labs, on a Windows machine with Nvidia GTX 1080, it usually takes 3-4 seconds to process each frame from HD to 8K. Video Enhance AI is far more superior on Windows than macOS.
I also noticed a very slight color shift from my 1080p to 4K video. You should be able to notice it in the video. It’s not a big deal since the color isn’t super off but you can always adjust it in post which most videographers do anyways.
Topaz Video Enhance AI normally costs a one-time price of $299.99 and includes one year of free updates.
It is currently on sale for $199.99.
An additional 12-month upgrade costs $199.99.
Follow this link and use discount code aperlust for an additional 15% off.
Topaz Video Enhance AI works. But it’s slow on a Mac. Really slow. It actually took me over 24 hours to enlarge a 61-second video from 1080p to 4K with version 1.1.1.
If you’re working on a video project that requires video enlarging with macOS, then this product isn’t a good fit unless you can set aside a day for rendering in the background.
The Topaz Video Enhance AI for Mac was only released on March 5, 2020. I expect them to resolve this Nvidia-GPU-only issue since it will decrease revenue.
However, enlarging videos is a CPU intensive task, regardless of the operating system or GPU compatibility.
I do own a Windows laptop that is on its last thread, so I won’t have a chance to effectively test Video Enhance AI on it.
One license of Topaz Video Enhance AI can be used on both a Mac and Windows computer.
If you end up using the software with the 30-day free trial, please let me know its performance in the comments below. It’ll help other consumers.
Time needed: 20 hours.
How to Use Topaz Video Enhance AI
- Import video(s).
Import video by dragging them from the folder into Video Enhance AI.
- Crop start and end points of footage if needed.
Use the scissor icons to crop the start and end points of the video.
- Select one of the rendering AI models for upsizing.
Gaia-HQ: P, HQ (upscale video) – For progressive video only that is high quality.
Gaia-CG: P, CG, HQ (upscale computer-generated video) – For progressive video only that is high quality and computer generated.
Artemis-HQ: P, HQ, MC (enhance and upscale video)- For progressive video only that is high quality with little noise/blockiness and keep motion consistency (less flicker).
Artemis-LQ: P, LQ, MC (enhance and upscale video)- For progressive video only that is low quality with strong noise/blockiness and keep motion consistency (less flicker).
- Choose output dimensions – usually will be UHD.
Select the preferred final size of the video up to 8K.
- Choose output format.
Select the desired final file type – usually will be mpeg4 (.mp4).
- Click on the camera icon to start upsizing.
The software will take several minutes or hours to finish enlarging the video.
- Enlarged video completed.
The enlarged video will be located in the same source folder.