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film grain and degraining


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#1 Robert Niessner

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 02:19 AM

Dear Cinematographers,

I have some questions regarding film grain.
I am already quite successfully offering denoising for RED and other digital sourced footage as a service.
Lately I have done a degraining job in town for a company which shot a documentary on S16mm / 50 ASA - which turned out to be very grainy due to bad light conditions (cloudy winter day in the morning). The denoised footage turned out very well (better than I thought) and the company is going to shoot on film again instead of using HDCAM because grain is no issue anymore for them.
I can show before and after samples if someone is interested.

So here are my questions:

1) Has the type of telecine process any influence on the graininess of the DI?
2) If yes, which is the best process, which the worst? And how much is the difference cost wise?
3) If you look at your own footage - would you wish it to be less grainy or are you ok with it at most of the time?
4) Would you consider the removal of grain as bad for the 'look' or do you think cleaner would be better because the release print will add grain back anyway?
5) Do you see a demand for degraining film?

And the final question:
Are there any DPs here who own the rights to their 35mm footage and are willing to give me some short DIs (2k/4k DPX preferred) for testing purposes?
If I am allowed to use that footage for my showcase I would in return do a degraining job of a few minutes of footage for free.
Amount of grain removal can be chosen, so fear no plastic look ;-)

Thanks in advance for your insights and opinions.

Cheers,

Robert
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#2 Crell Lee

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 12:25 PM

hello i want to do some research about film grain and digital noise,degraining is also my important content, i want to writte a paper about control noise both in shooting and post but i do not have a lot of knowledge about post degrain,do you have some suggest to me, thanks very much email:9393573@qq.com
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#3 Crell Lee

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 12:26 PM

hello i want to do some research about film grain and digital noise,degraining is also my important content, i want to writte a paper about control noise both in shooting and post but i do not have a lot of knowledge about post degrain,do you have some suggest to me, thanks very much email:9393573@qq.com
i am very interested in your s16 degraining,could you tell me sth more about it and sent me some example?thanks a lot

Edited by crell, 05 April 2009 - 12:28 PM.

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#4 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 04:13 PM

crell please change your user id to include your full name. Thank you.

1) Has the type of telecine process any influence on the graininess of the DI?

Absolutely, higher end telecine machines like the spirit 2k,4k can get a cleaner image out of the film, but a true film scanner like the Arriscan and Northlight scanners offer superb image quality, with lower noise levels, particularly in the highlights. The exaggerated sharpening in the Spirit telecines often makes the grain look worse; so much to the point where I was convinced that one of our client's footage was shot on super 16, when it in fact, it had been shot on 35mm! That was an awkward conversation... Best ideal process is to go through a post house that uses a dedicated film scanner, not telecine. Cost is a bit higher to use a dedicated film scanner, but you get what you pay for, and often post houses don't like to see their scanner go unused so they can offer some pretty competitive rates against other companies who use telecine bays.

3) If you look at your own footage - would you wish it to be less grainy or are you ok with it at most of the time?

This is a pretty subjective question, but in my opinion: I am pleased with it most of the time. If super 16mm footage is underexposed (and done so on grainer stocks like 7218/19 500T) then it helps to add some NR to the darker areas. Clients of ours who shoot 35mm rarely ask for any type of noise reduction, unless a shot is severely underexposed.

4) Would you consider the removal of grain as bad for the 'look' or do you think cleaner would be better because the release print will add grain back anyway?

Depends how good the grain/noise reduction software is. We use a noise reducer in our Baselight color correction system and it does a fantastic job. It just takes a long time to render. My problem with noise reducers is that it can smooth over textures depending on the scene. It's best to do it shot by shot instead of one overall pass, but who has the time to do that? But to answer your question, I would prefer some noise reduction if I were doing a Super 16 - 35mm release print.

5) Do you see a demand for degraining film?

Not really, most DI post houses offer this service for an additional charge, usually it's included in the billing for a feature length film going through a DI. But this obviously varies from company to company. I speak from my own experience. Apparently Arri has created a noise reduction box that, from what an Arri rep told me, makes Super 16 look as plastic as the RED camera. Now I am very interested in seeing this!
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#5 Crell Lee

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 11:47 PM

crell please change your user id to include your full name. Thank you.

1) Has the type of telecine process any influence on the graininess of the DI?

Absolutely, higher end telecine machines like the spirit 2k,4k can get a cleaner image out of the film, but a true film scanner like the Arriscan and Northlight scanners offer superb image quality, with lower noise levels, particularly in the highlights. The exaggerated sharpening in the Spirit telecines often makes the grain look worse; so much to the point where I was convinced that one of our client's footage was shot on super 16, when it in fact, it had been shot on 35mm! That was an awkward conversation... Best ideal process is to go through a post house that uses a dedicated film scanner, not telecine. Cost is a bit higher to use a dedicated film scanner, but you get what you pay for, and often post houses don't like to see their scanner go unused so they can offer some pretty competitive rates against other companies who use telecine bays.

3) If you look at your own footage - would you wish it to be less grainy or are you ok with it at most of the time?

This is a pretty subjective question, but in my opinion: I am pleased with it most of the time. If super 16mm footage is underexposed (and done so on grainer stocks like 7218/19 500T) then it helps to add some NR to the darker areas. Clients of ours who shoot 35mm rarely ask for any type of noise reduction, unless a shot is severely underexposed.

4) Would you consider the removal of grain as bad for the 'look' or do you think cleaner would be better because the release print will add grain back anyway?

Depends how good the grain/noise reduction software is. We use a noise reducer in our Baselight color correction system and it does a fantastic job. It just takes a long time to render. My problem with noise reducers is that it can smooth over textures depending on the scene. It's best to do it shot by shot instead of one overall pass, but who has the time to do that? But to answer your question, I would prefer some noise reduction if I were doing a Super 16 - 35mm release print.

5) Do you see a demand for degraining film?

Not really, most DI post houses offer this service for an additional charge, usually it's included in the billing for a feature length film going through a DI. But this obviously varies from company to company. I speak from my own experience. Apparently Arri has created a noise reduction box that, from what an Arri rep told me, makes Super 16 look as plastic as the RED camera. Now I am very interested in seeing this!

thank you very much
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Willys Widgets

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rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

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Rig Wheels Passport