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How do I minimize grain?


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#1 devolved

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 01:40 PM

Just a general question for a beginner DP. Some of the first things that I've shot were on 35mm fuji 250d... and the grain size was more than I expected to be. I've noticed that opening the iris a bit more than the lightmeter reading produces more acceptable results ... is it generally so? Does the grain size depend on how well you expose the film or on processing? I know that the faster the film, the more grain you get. My question I guess is what can I do to minimize the grain while shooting with any film stock and still to be able to color grade it digitally in 10 bit for more contrast. Thank you for your help.

Andrey Arkhipov
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#2 Dan Horstman

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 02:26 PM

Over exposure by 1/2 to 1 stop will help to reduce the grain.
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#3 David W Scott

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 03:05 PM

Larger grains are more light-sensitive. By increasing exposure slightly, you are exposing slightly smaller grains, decreasing the apparent size of grain overall.

The other effect is to increase the density of the processed negative. Modern telecine/datacine will be able to properly capture this denser negative.
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#4 Tim Terner

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 03:10 PM

Over exposure by 1/2 to 1 stop will help to reduce the grain.


I read this advice all the while, but if you overexpose by half a stop do you need to tell the processor to pull half a stop or have it processed normally ?
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#5 David W Scott

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 03:25 PM

I read this advice all the while, but if you overexpose by half a stop do you need to tell the processor to pull half a stop or have it processed normally ?


Processed normally, because there's lots of latitude to pull it half a stop in the digital grade.
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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 04:37 PM

Overexpose.
Use slow stock.
Shoot well-lit, bright images (day exteriors, for example).
Don't shoot nights.
Avoid the color white.
Shoot close-ups rather than wides with busy backgrounds.
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#7 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 06:06 PM

Avoid the color white.


Why white?
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 12:50 AM

Why white?


You're more likely to see grain in flat areas of midtones like 18% gray. If you see grain in whites, it is usually noise in the telecine transfer actually due to the high density of the white areas on the negative.
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#9 Gareth Munden

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 03:49 AM

Hi

I wonder why people give advice of over exposure as a cure for grain, I mean it does reduce grain that is very true.

But as my main work is in stills photography and I shoot a lot of colour neg and print it my self, I have seen the effect of exposure on the finished print. Not only does it reduce grain it will start to pump up your contrast and even block up your whites and too much exposure will in the end give more grain.


Exposure has a big effect on the finished work. Colour-Tone-Contrast.

My advice is slower film, exposed for the look you are after.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 09:36 AM

Hi

I wonder why people give advice of over exposure as a cure for grain, I mean it does reduce grain that is very true.

But as my main work is in stills photography and I shoot a lot of colour neg and print it my self, I have seen the effect of exposure on the finished print. Not only does it reduce grain it will start to pump up your contrast and even block up your whites and too much exposure will in the end give more grain.
Exposure has a big effect on the finished work. Colour-Tone-Contrast.

My advice is slower film, exposed for the look you are after.


We're not talking about so much overexposure that it causes the highlights to block up -- more like, just enough overexposure to cancel any effects of accidental underexposure, a safety margin of extra exposure, +1/3 to +2/3 of a stop.
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#11 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 12:46 PM

We're not talking about so much overexposure that it causes the highlights to block up -- more like, just enough overexposure to cancel any effects of accidental underexposure, a safety margin of extra exposure, +1/3 to +2/3 of a stop.


Certainly, no more than 1 stop of overexposure is needed to take full advantage of the finer grained mid and slow emulsions in the film. Although modern color negative films like the KODAK VISION2 films have lots of overexposure latitude, a negative that is too high in density (e.g., >2 stops overexposed) may fall outside the normal range of printing or telecine correction, and need special handling by the lab or transfer house. As mentioned, on some telecines, a really dense negative requires so much gain that you start to get electronic noise in the highlights.
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