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Film Convert Is Dead!


DBounce
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Many here worry about noise in there footage. But many of those same people then use plugins like Film Convert to add noise "grain" to their otherwise clean footage. So why worry about noise if you add noise in post in the form of film grain? I think the idea of taking otherwise clean digital footage and adding grain to simulate the "film" look is very 2012... Went to the movies yesterday to see "Don't Breath". They showed some BTSF of the director. In that footage you could see the Alexa that they shot the film on. And as I sat there watching the movie, I could not help but remark how clean the image looked. No grain at all. Motion cadence looked great. The overall image looked fantastic. I think the film look may work for nostalgic pieces, but other than that I believe it only serves to degrade the image quality.

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32 minutes ago, DBounce said:

Many here worry about noise in there footage. But many of those same people then use plugins like Film Convert to add noise "grain" to their otherwise clean footage. So why worry about noise if you add noise in post in the form of film grain? I think the idea of taking otherwise clean digital footage and adding grain to simulate the "film" look is very 2012... Went to the movies yesterday to see "Don't Breath". They showed some BTSF of the director. In that footage you could see the Alexa that they shot the film on. And as I sat there watching the movie, I could not help but remark how clean the image looked. No grain at all. Motion cadence looked great. The overall image looked fantastic. I think the film look may work for nostalgic pieces, but other than that I believe it only serves to degrade the image quality.

Actually Film Grain doesn't have to be very Obvious (for want of a better word). I saw some films (most likely shot on the Alexa and Red Dragon), which looked way too digital, and un-filmlike, without grain.

IMHO grain doesn't make the image worse. It makes it better. It makes it seem more alive. 

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Adding a bit of grain can help dither digital highlights from having razor sharp edge contrast clipping as well as give an overall image the impression of added sharpness without making the edges buzz. When integrating CG elements into live action plates it is still one of the the go-to methods to help get the two to blend together better. An image with grain can still look very clean, as everything is uniformed with the global grain effect....which can be very different from digital 'noise' - which can sometimes only effect the shadows of an image, and is often not as monochromatic as film grain. Denoising an image - then adding grain back in can work great...again, this is often because often the non-uniform colour noise is removed/reduced, then a gentle wash of global monochromatic grain can really unify an image in it apparent sharpness and contrast. Film Convert grain is pretty good, but when I can I use real telecine scans from 35mm and overlay those at varying opacity. It is of course often down to personal taste and how effectively/subtlety it is used.  

I tend to regard image noise from digital as similar to the interference on a badly tuned old analogue TV...can sometimes be very a distracting buzz and detracts from the viewing experience.

Grain is more like the pops and crackles you hear on vinyl...part of the experience and can actually add to the experience when used well - seems to add some impression of physicality (even if emulated digitally). Subtlety is key I think - does not have to be very obvious at all to improve an image (unless you are intentionally going for a grind-house look or trying to emulate old 16mm stock).

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3 hours ago, DBounce said:

 I'm seriously trying to get away from the old film look. 

Nothing wrong with that.  I admit I'm partial to images that look analog, but I realize it's a nostalgia thing, and nothing that's wholly artistically rational.  

If you're interested in the new, then be sure to check out Ang Lee's break from traditional cinema in his next film.

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Adding film grain is a standard part of many post workflows. It's even been added to the new version of DaVinci Resolve. 

Are you implying that Don't Breathe just killed film convert? Because...lol. Besides, FC also offers film gamma/color/contrast adjustments beyond just the grain, some of which have not been recorded anywhere else. 

I think they'll be fine.

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5 hours ago, TheRenaissanceMan said:

Adding film grain is a standard part of many post workflows. It's even been added to the new version of DaVinci Resolve. 

Are you implying that Don't Breathe just killed film convert? Because...lol. Besides, FC also offers film gamma/color/contrast adjustments beyond just the grain, some of which have not been recorded anywhere else. 

I think they'll be fine.

No, I'm suggesting that the idea of emulating the look of film is an practice thats days are numbered. 

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2 hours ago, DBounce said:

No, I'm suggesting that the idea of emulating the look of film is an practice thats days are numbered. 

I suspect the look of film is too in-grained (weak pun intended) for everyone to agree on that, but its an interesting point.

Emulating film is why Arri are still in business after over 100 years and why most modern cinema cameras are continually trying to emulate the characteristics of film negative derived from an optical process. Digital noise in many cameras is still judged by how 'grain-like' it appears. Post process of log and raw images are treated with tools that were built to mimic photochemical behaviour of stock emulsion/print process and chemical bath treatments...all focused on making digital images more relatable to work with and for audiences to accept the look of. It's proof that film is still regarded as the 'gold standard' for digital imagery to aspire too...sometimes including its grainy warts it seems. 

But modern cinema is already at a point where 360 degree shutter, rolling shutter, HFR have crept into modern filmmaking - things that could be regarded as completely non-filmic aesthetics by traditional standards...but the cinematic language has a history of changing...so yes - grain will most probably be eliminated from movies eventually and be considered an unwanted artefact of an 'antiquated' format. Its implementation as an easthetic choice for digital is sometimes subjective but the only bad online examples I've seen are from people who don't seem to understand the basics of colour correction and grading let alone the advantage that denoise and grain treatments can offer.

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ive given this a lot of thought, and, imho:

film grain, as we know it, adds a lot to a certain kind of motion picture filmmaking. would it add a lot to gopro drone footage of a beach? no, and heres why

youre looking at the beach. watching a movie is like looking though a window as opposed to looking at a window

a huge amount of narrative filmmaking is just footage of people talking. when we experience a conversation in real life, we dont look AT the person we're talking to the same way we look AT the beach video.

this is one of the reasons that super shallow depth of field can be effective – im not looking at the tip of your nose while im talking to you. scott mccloud explains it like this

tumblr_od2i2mdYAB1uq3c9zo1_1280.jpg

film grain provides a visually soothing abstraction of reality that is particularly useful for movies where people are talking to each other for 2 hours. its organic rhythm gives us a sort of translucent repeating pattern to look through that we perceive on a conscious as well as an unconscious level. it relaxes us, to listen to a story – its subliminal; hypnotic. and it feels more like real life when we're interacting with people, as illustrated above

although film grain is great at doing all this, what im describing should apply to any kind of subtle pattern noise – which is something im going to experiment with.

im not suggesting that a film image is empirically better than a noiseless alexa image, but for reservoir dogs, i think it is. a new purely digital patterned noise that does not seek to emulate film grain would prolly work pretty well too – as long as its not distracting or hideous, obviously. id like to develop that idea

and now, back to your regularly scheduled programming 

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1 minute ago, kaylee said:

a new purely digital patterned noise that does not seek to emulate film grain would prolly work pretty well

Agreed. Also, I like the film look @24fps with grain, scratches, and gate drift... but that is an anachronism.  

I'm also certainly curious about digital films shot and projected @120, for example. 

I mean, why not?  It offers a psychological description of things that are unique. Of course it can be implemented artistically and effectively.  It can be misused as well.  We shall see. 

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8 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

I'm also certainly curious about digital films shot and projected @120, for example

i feel like hfr stuff speaks to the same principle – more is not more, less is more when it comes to people talking for hours. the failed experiment of the hobbit comes to mind. tbh fuzzy, youre so old school (which i like), i thought youd hate high frame rates?

on the other hand i support high frame rates for other stuff – vr, videogames, etc. but, as an inverse to my point above, i think that high frame rates are most at home with super visually iconic content, like this

 

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7 hours ago, kaylee said:

i thought youd hate high frame rates?

Well, I do prefer what analog film (or emulated analog film) offers for most situations, such as those you mentioned, but I'm not closed off to the idea that advances in tech can allow for some new artistic expression. 

Where Peter Jackson's bad judgment of wielding hfr led to failure, someone else may be able to succeed.

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