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Video Noise vs Film Grain


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#1 Freya Black

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 02:04 PM

Shot a bunch of video that suffers from some nasty noise and I'm starting to wonder how anyone could think video noise looks like film grain. The video noise seems to sort of fizzle around a very small space. It also looks like something in front of the image whereas film grain looks more like it is behind the image. This video noise is kind of reminding me more of the effect that heat has on air in the desert to make things shimmer, only like sped up a bunch.

 

I'm actually wondering if adding fake film grain might help to hide the video noise! Even fake film grain would look nicer!

 

I'm guessing some video cameras might have noise that looks more like film grain for some reason. (People say that about the Alexa) but this is just really horrible.

 

Freya


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 02:12 PM

Reminds me of the story about "Citizen Kane" -- Orson Welles asked for an optical printer zoom out of the insert of the house inside the snow globe in Kane's hand, and when Linwood Dunn said that the shot would get too grainy, Welles suggested they add swirling snow over the image to blend with the grain, since it was a shot of a snow globe.

 

First of all, have you tried some of the noise reduction software out there? Some people swear by Neat Video.


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#3 Freya Black

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 02:44 PM

Reminds me of the story about "Citizen Kane" -- Orson Welles asked for an optical printer zoom out of the insert of the house inside the snow globe in Kane's hand, and when Linwood Dunn said that the shot would get too grainy, Welles suggested they add swirling snow over the image to blend with the grain, since it was a shot of a snow globe.

 

Heh heh! :) So I have to ask! Did it work? Been sooo long since I've seen that movie. You've made me want to watch it again now!

 

First of all, have you tried some of the noise reduction software out there? Some people swear by Neat Video.

 

 

I'm just starting on that quest now. Some of the footage I'm thinking I will just re-shoot when there is plenty of light!

It's frustrating as you can't see the noise on the tiny camera screen when you are shooting however I'm getting an idea of just how much light is needed (LOTS!) So in future I think I will be able to see when I don't have enough light! You get a sense for these things.

 

I'm trying a smart noise reduction script at the moment. I suspect Neat Video will be out of the question as I'm editing this on an ancient G4 Powerbook! A lot of stuff isn't available for the PowerPC architechture anymore. Also the script has the advantage of being free and Neat Video isn't but we shall see. The way people talk about Neat Video it's a bit of an indispensable tool  so I may bite the bullet at some point!

 

I think the camera I'm using might just have especially ugly video noise. I hope so as I was hoping to embrace video noise on some video cameras in the future but I'm starting to question that the people who say the video noise looks just like film grain might have funny ideas. They post stills and I'm thinking "That looks quite interesting" but of course it's more the kind of motion of the video noise I'm having a problem with than the way the noise itself looks. You can't see that in a still.

 

I'm also thinking that noise in video cameras might be caused by varying factors, some which look nicer than others.

It's something I'm going to have to study more carefully! :)

 

Freya


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#4 Ben J. Abbey

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 06:57 PM

I swear by Neat Video. It turned ISO 12800 footage from the 5D Mark III into usable footage. Granted it looked a bit plasticy but it's an incredible plugin.

As I understand it, video noise is a type of fixed pattern noise whereas film grain is random and therefore more pleasing to the eye.

Do you feel like / are you allowed to be posting a short clip of the footage online? I'd be happy to run it through Neat Video as a proof point.
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#5 Lance Soltys

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 07:11 PM

Just out of curiosity, what camera were you using? I've heard noise from the BMD products looks more "grainy" and I'm considering one of their cameras. You're right that Neat video will not work on PowerPC. I have it, and while it has definately improved some shots that needed saving, you do have to be careful of the plasticy look.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 08:09 PM

I always think that noise from single-chip cameras is a lot less objectionable than noise from 3-chip blocks, possibly because of the way it gets treated by the debayer.

 

P


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#7 Freya Black

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 02:35 PM

Hiya Ben,

  I now have a tiny piece of video I would love to rescue.

 

  Framing is a little bit off but the talent totally hit their marks and it's about the only take where that has happened!

  Most of the time I don't think they are listening to me at all!

 

  I could maybe upload it somewhere, it's only 87MB.

  Can you help?

 

  I'm wondering also about noise reduction software. Is it better to upsample your footage before applying noise reduction or are you better off working from the original and then applying the noise reduction from there? Then doing the Up-Rez? Opinions anyone?

 

  I'm not sure what's causing the noise this time, as I had plenty of light this time around but it actually seems worse! Is it possible that too much light can cause sensor noise in certain situations?

 

Freya


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#8 Ben J. Abbey

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 02:48 PM

Hey Freya, put it on Dropbox or Google Drive and send me the link via PM?

 

How much upsampling are you doing? If you upsample footage before applying NR, you get larger pieces of noise, so I'd NR, upsample, sharpen.


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#9 Freya Black

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 03:02 PM

Hey Freya, put it on Dropbox or Google Drive and send me the link via PM?

 

How much upsampling are you doing? If you upsample footage before applying NR, you get larger pieces of noise, so I'd NR, upsample, sharpen.

 

That's good! I wondered if larger pieces of noise might be easier for it to find!

Can you handle Apple PNG format (.mov)?

 

Freya


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#10 Ben J. Abbey

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 03:04 PM

Yep send it over. Yes, larger pieces of noise might be easier to find but IMHO the recovery wouldn't be as crisp because the blowup was done on random noise, as opposed to a sanitized clip.

 

If that makes any sense. Hard to explain :)


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#11 Freya Black

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 03:13 PM

Okay going through my other clips and I now have one with crisp clean blacks but noise in the highlights!

What might cause that anyone?

 

Freya


Edited by Freya Black, 04 March 2014 - 03:14 PM.

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#12 Ben J. Abbey

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 03:15 PM

Compression... what codec, what camera, etc?


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