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Film Grain

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If you have seen my work it is probably no secret that I love film grain. The problem with grain is the fact that youtube & vimeo doesn't love it as much as we do. Adding grain to video can have some ugly results when uploading to the web. Still to me adding grain is a vital step in removing the unpleasant lack of texture from cameras who apply heavy noise reduction in their processing pipeline. In the past I have used Filmconvert and gorilla grain and have gotten great results but the end result is terrible when I upload to vimeo.

 

Does anyone else use film grain in their videos ? Does it survive web compression ? What is your favorite brand of film grain and more importantly what is your technique when applying it to your footage ?

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Does anyone else use film grain in their videos ? 

Oh yeah.  I overuse it to a fault.  

Anyway, one of the ways to get better encoding results when putting a vid on you tube, I hear, is to uprez it to 4K.  Not sure how this would affect film grain, but it's worth a shot.

You're SOL with vimeo.

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I use it and to reduce damage to the grain by youtube/vimeo I find it best to oversharpen the main output before export.  So I don;t apply any sharpening to the footage, then I overlay some fine grain like 4k gorrilla grain, then apply sharpening onto the nested grain and footage.  get the sharpening to the point where it's perfect when viewed at 100%, then boost it a tiny bit more so it starts to look a bit graggy.  then go back to half way between 'perfect and 'graggy'   the grain and footage behind it glue together nicely and the grain has enough edge to be seen as detail to be preserved by the youtube/vimeo compressor.  I also feed them a 2560x1440 file rather than a 1920x1010 file - even if the original footage was only 1080p.  seems to maintain more of the grain.

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I use it and to reduce damage to the grain by youtube/vimeo I find it best to oversharpen the main output before export.  So I don;t apply any sharpening to the footage, then I overlay some fine grain like 4k gorrilla grain, then apply sharpening onto the nested grain and footage.  get the sharpening to the point where it's perfect when viewed at 100%, then boost is a tiny bit more so it starts to look a git graggy.  then go back to half way between 'perfect and 'graggy'   the grain and footage behind it glue together nicely and the grain has enough edge to be seen as detail to be preserved by the youtube/vimeo compressor.  I also feed them a 2560x1440 file rather than a 1920x1010 file - even if the original footage was only 1080p.  seems to maintain more of the grain.

sounds promising ! Definitely gonna try that out ! What would be the appropriate dimensions for a 1920x1080 file when upscaling for vimeo/youtube compression ? Also do you think upscaling to 4k will help ?

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Upscaling to 4K is better. It gives the video roughly 30mbit. But I have lately started going 1440p (2.5K) as well. It gives almost double the bitrate than regular HD (I believe 16mbit) but doesn't take as long and saves space. I good middle ground. So I upscale HD and get a little crop leverage in 4K.

1440p monitors are also a bit more common than 4K still.

The dimension is 2560x1440.

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This issue is also my topic at the moment. 
Upload a little test clip on vimeo with 60% grain in film convert:
barn-totale.thumb.png.cc5250d26c6d45e005
Original.
Detail (Original):
barn-original.thumb.png.42733182db895179

Detail (Vimeo)
barn-vimeo.thumb.png.1ac0b3aabb39d4a447f

Instead of Details and grain; the image is knocked flat with massive artefacts.
Fine grain and compression seems like a contradiction in itself...
At the moment, as long I have no solution, I decided to add no grain for vimeo. 
Upscaling to 4k makes sense.
Interesting topic!

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James Miller did a couple of tests about using film grain from Film Convert & it sure looks as if you really need to pump it up between 90-120% for it to be noticeable on Vimeo - I think it should be a bit higher @ about 150%.

Also, its worth mentioning that when you upload to Vimeo its best upscaling to 2k & using ProRes Proxy.

Here's his tests:

ProRes Proxy version: https://vimeo.com/73032762

H264 version: https://vimeo.com/73031258

 

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As for upload file format for Vimeo/YouTube, I've been rendering out to fully massive 10-bit DNxHD at the MAX bit-rate. Lime 180Mbps for 1080p. I figure it kills 2 birds with one stone. I get a nice master file at the same time.

Yeah...it'll be HUGE. But who cares? The only very small bummer is that it will of course take a looooong time to upload. So do it at the end of the night, right?
I've been getting the best results I've ever had with this.

...and that ProRes vs. h.264 directly above - that shows why I hate h.264 so much. I really do hate that codec. At least the way Adobe implements it.

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James Miller did a couple of tests about using film grain from Film Convert & it sure looks as if you really need to pump it up between 90-120% for it to be noticeable on Vimeo - I think it should be a bit higher @ about 150%.

Also, its worth mentioning that when you upload to Vimeo its best upscaling to 2k & using ProRes Proxy.

Here's his tests:

ProRes Proxy version: https://vimeo.com/73032762

H264 version: https://vimeo.com/73031258

 

How do you export as ProRes ?!

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How do you export as ProRes ?!

I'm using FCPX, so you can just select to export the Master File as ProRes Proxy and then you upload.

Or just export at the highest quality (not H264) & then use MPEGStreamclip to convert (its better at transcoding).

If not then do as DPStewert said - 10-bit DNxHD or something similar.

The good thing about ProRes Proxy, is that its great quality & small files - perfect for uploading & keeping the quality. The problem with uploading H264 files is that Vimeo/YouTube will transcode your files to their flavour of H264 again - so your footage gets a double compression.

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This issue is also my topic at the moment. 
Upload a little test clip on vimeo with 60% grain in film convert:
barn-totale.thumb.png.cc5250d26c6d45e005
Original.
Detail (Original):
barn-original.thumb.png.42733182db895179

Detail (Vimeo)
barn-vimeo.thumb.png.1ac0b3aabb39d4a447f

Instead of Details and grain; the image is knocked flat with massive artefacts.
Fine grain and compression seems like a contradiction in itself...
At the moment, as long I have no solution, I decided to add no grain for vimeo. 
Upscaling to 4k makes sense.
Interesting topic!

yeah man thats been my issue for a while now ! Sometimes it works most times it doesn't ! I need grain to put  Im going to try upscaling and sharpening the grain and see if that helps. I know for a fact exporting to prores proxy helps big time but im using a windows PC so the prores option is ruled out. 

Cineform is an alternative. Have you ever exported to cineform ?

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yeah man thats been my issue for a while now ! Sometimes it works most times it doesn't ! I need grain to put  Im going to try upscaling and sharpening the grain and see if that helps. I know for a fact exporting to prores proxy helps big time but im using a windows PC so the prores option is ruled out. 

Cineform is an alternative. Have you ever exported to cineform ?

You could also export to DNxHD to deliver in 1080p. You could upload it directly to VIMEO I heard or you could use whatever tool to move on and transcode it to ProRes.

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You could also export to DNxHD to deliver in 1080p. You could upload it directly to VIMEO I heard or you could use whatever tool to move on and transcode it to ProRes.

will try exporting in dnxhd. Any reccommended settings for dnxhd ? Necer exported in that format before. I am using the new premiere btw

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I have never exported to Cineform. 
I have uploaded the Clip now with pro res proxy, way better (as H264upload)!!!
A good tip found in this topic, thanks!

Not a good example, because of the subtle use of grain, but here it is:

 

Oh boy, that is some of the nicest test footage Ive seen recently 

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I have never exported to Cineform. 
I have uploaded the Clip now with pro res proxy, way better (as H264upload)!!!
A good tip found in this topic, thanks!

Not a good example, because of the subtle use of grain, but here it is:

 

Yeah, that looks great! What set up did you use... Camera... Lens?

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