Maximum PC Staff Aug 31, 2009

MotionDSP vReveal

At A Glance

Star Trek

Makes the case for GPU vs. CPU.

Star Wipes

Currently limited to standard-def video; only supports Nvidia's GPUs.

Look out CPU, the GPU finally gets a killer app

What do a surveillance camera and the average home videographer have in common? Surprisingly, a hell of a lot—it’s just the subject matter that’s different.

One takes really poorly exposed, fuzzy, low-res videos of a gas station clerk getting a pistol jammed in his face, and the other takes really poorly exposed, fuzzy, low-res videos of a kid kicking a soccer ball or blowing out birthday candles.

Apparently, that’s the logic MotionDSP used when it decided that its $10,000-per-license, super-fancy video algorithms could not only be used to help the police catch carjackers, but also clean up the video of little Timmy’s birthday, too.

We’re not kidding. MotionDSP’s algorithms were developed to help resolve license plate numbers from video by analyzing multiple frames before and after a frame. By using the additional data to reassemble one sharp frame, MotionDSP’s algorithms are able to pull out far more detail than you would think possible.

vReveal cleans up messy video in a snap.

MotionDSP’s consumer app, vReveal, features a cleaning algorithm to remove pixilation, grain, and compression artifacts, along with a sharpening filter, auto contrast, and lighting and stabilization enhancements. The app also offers a resolution doubler, but alas, it’s only available for very low-resolution video (a forthcoming pro version will likely support higher resolutions.)

The results are fairly impressive. The vReveal app is able to clean up bad video far better than what you can do with consumer video editing packages and it does it very quickly, too, thanks to its GPU support. The app uses Nvidia’s CUDA platform to tap the GPU’s wealth of parallel processors to process video far faster than you could with any current CPU. We tested vReveal on this month’s monster rig from Maingear and a single GeForce GTX 285 gave us a 2x to 4x performance boost over the overclocked 4GHz Core i7-975. SLI support is not currently available because of a limitation with CUDA, the company says, but MotionDSP expects to have a work-around to fix that problem and will make it available in an update.

The app leverages Nvidia's CUDA as well as multicore CPUs.

The bad news is that vReveal will not support ATI’s Radeon HD series until OpenCL arrives. It’s also a bit of a letdown that vReveal is limited to standard-def material. The company says it’s optimizing performance for HD video and will have a free update for that as soon as possible.

One final problem: Output from the app is either in WMV or uncompressed AVI only. We can see WMV, but uncompressed AVI is too much for the average home user and would swamp his or her hard drive in no time.

Overall, we’re very impressed with vReveal, and while it’s a bit pricey for the video dilettantes, it’s a very handy tool for anyone who’s hot and heavy into video editing.

MotionDSP vReveal

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