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Regraining DIgital Footage


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#1 Tom Sykes

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 03:43 AM

Hey Hey.

I wasn't quite sure where to post this question so I thought I may as well put it here for safe measures.

We've just finished principal on a spot for the Co-Operative Group about the Rochdale Pioneers (if you're interested :) ) and my query comes in relation to re-graining digital footage, as it is set in 1844 and aesthetically it needs to look more like the period.

I am aware there are numerous ways of achieving this through some form of electronic machine, however you choose to do it, which is still an option of course, although personally I would like to take a more organic approach and apply some real grain to our footage.

The way I was thinking of doing this is choosing a 35mm film stock for stills and shooting about 3 - 5 seconds worth of footage using 3 cards; white, grey, black, in order to catch the grain in the highs, mids, and blacks.

Now I was wondering what the repercussions of doing this are?
How best I could achieve it?
The problem that today most stocks are relatively clean in terms of grain, am I going to have to use old stock, or is it a case of adjusting the exposure in this case to make the grain more visible?

Any advice in general on this process would be great.
I'm pretty sure there are other things I haven't mentioned that need considering.

Cheers.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:29 AM

I'm fairly sure that some of the stock footage libraries have shots of grey cards for exactly this purpose - look at ArtBeats' "film clutter" collection. I don't think you'll need to actually shoot it yourself, anyway.

But frankly, a bit of gaussian noise and some blur, possibly compound blur based on another noise channel, will give you alarmingly similar results anyway. There are better grains available in Photoshop, too, and pumping out a few dozen frames of that might be a way to go.

Edit - oh, and rescale it. Always render fake digital grain at a different resolution than you output it. Scaling up or down seems to help, depending on what sort of look you're after.

P
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#3 Paul Bartok

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:48 AM

just a Idea if using new stocks try pushing the EI to higher ranges to boost the grain. Also AE has there own presents based on Kodak vision series stock grain. And then you could manipulative it.
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#4 Mei Lewis

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:25 PM

... as it is set in 1844 and aesthetically it needs to look more like the period....



So it needs to look like the films they used to make in 1844?
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#5 Tom Sykes

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:00 PM

Thanks guys for you responses. I am in talks with the director now and soon will finalyze what's going down.

Thanks for tw advice.

So it needs to look like the films they used to make in 1844?


Hey Mei,

It isn't a necessity that it looks like the period in relation to the format, although the Director and I have discussed we would prefer it to have a rougher edge to it rather than the clean look that modern stocks/cameras offer to us, more to suit the period aesthitically... Not to emulate the films that were around in 1844, especially so as the first ever motion film (as im sure you're aware didn't come until later in the century.

Hope this makes sense.

T.
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#6 Darrell Ayer

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 11:08 AM

A quick look at CineGrain isn't a bad idea either... I haven't seen anyone post about it on here. It's real grain shot for the purpose of being overlayed onto video footage to give it a bit more "life"
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#7 Mei Lewis

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:58 PM

This is a bit of a tangent but anyway... was any projected film historically ever sepia colored?

I'm asking because I've often seen sepia colors used on TV to suggest age, but as I understand it sepia is a result of a still photo being printed on paper, which of course doesn't happen with movies.
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#8 Chris Millar

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:28 PM

Sepia toned ... no, not as I understand it

I know that some chemical reversal can give you very warm toned positives - but then that process wouldn't have been used in release prints (they are prints after all).

Another anachronism with a touch of irony is the use of speeding up footage to make it look old - thing is back in the day if something was shot at 18fps, it was also projected at 18fps so the pace was natural. It's only 18fps acquired footage projected at 24fps in modern systems that makes it all look fast. Film wouldn't have been all scratched up too.
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#9 Antti Näyhä

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:15 PM

was any projected film historically ever sepia colored?

Several sepia/amber/golden hues were used on black & white film prints, even though the exact chemicals might not have been the same as in photograph tinting. Check out the articles about Film tinting and Photographic print toning at Wikipedia.

Edit: sorry, just realized that you may have been talking about sepia-tinted color prints.

Edited by Antti Näyhä, 27 February 2012 - 12:16 PM.

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#10 Antti Näyhä

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:21 PM

Another anachronism with a touch of irony is the use of speeding up footage to make it look old - thing is back in the day if something was shot at 18fps, it was also projected at 18fps so the pace was natural.

Actually, silent films were frequently projected at a slightly higher speed than they were shot. This was the artistic intention. The speed difference just wasn’t usually as huge as 18-to-24.

Kevin Brownlow: Silent Films – What Was the Right Speed? (1980)
(See the table at the end of the article.)
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#11 Mei Lewis

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 09:33 AM

Several sepia/amber/golden hues were used on black & white film prints, even though the exact chemicals might not have been the same as in photograph tinting. Check out the articles about Film tinting and Photographic print toning at Wikipedia.

Edit: sorry, just realized that you may have been talking about sepia-tinted color prints.


It was monochrome prints I was asking about. Thanks for your answer, I never knew that!
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