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Adding grain in postproduction


Mi Ki
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Is it usual for hollywood movies/TV series to add grain in postproduction or is it a rare thing? I heard they do it for HBO's Vinyl (and I know there are lot of plugins for that), but I want to know if this a common for Hollywood.

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Yes, it's pretty common for grain/noise to be added in post. Generally the reason is for balance. So the most noisy/grainy scenes in the movie will be de-noised. The output of that de-noise will set the "base" noise level for the entire show. Then in a lot of cases, the other scenes will be brought to THAT noise level.

 

Also, because most movies today have special effects and/or computer made elements, noise/grain is added to match the original camera material. So even if the ENTIRE movie doesn't have added noise/grain, A LOT of scenes will.

 

Finally, noise/grain is very commonly added to an over-all image, in order to reduce the crispness of the digital source. It's a funny problem because the industry as a whole, has spent A LOT of money developing cameras with less noise, yet people complained about how crisp the images were. So now they add noise to help reduce the crispness. Cinematographers also use softer "vintage" lenses to help combat those problems as well. Those softer lenses mixed with noise, really does give the impression something may have been shot on film.

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This is a subject on which I have had arguments.

 

I don't mind a bit of fizz in video. It isn't as electronic in appearance on single-chip cameras as it was on three-chip blocks and it helps to diffuse errors, especially after compression or on low-compression formats. The problem is that people expect everything to be as clear as crystal on $5 worth of gear. I've had people take material out of DSLRs, crank the midtones up to about 90%, and complain that it's horrendously noisy. Which it is. But it would be.

 

Grr.

 

P

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