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The Art of Film Grain [video] (kottke.org)
46 points by Osiris30 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments





I used to work for the foundry, which is the equivalent of Adobe, but for the film industry.

Before that I worked at a number of VFX houses.

What I love so much about listening to "filmies" is that their insistence that film grain is authentic. (fortunately this video is matter of fact, unlike the vast majority of people spewing out opinion on such things, the presenter actually seems to know what they are talking about)

Most of the film grain you've seen in the last ten years (possibly since about 2000) is fake. Certainly if there is any VFX work, then the film grain has been "degrained" and then put in back afterwards. (I'm not talking monsters, I mean set extensions, sky removals, general touchup.)

And yes, that even includes movies that were shot on real film. Which was most films up until about 2010-12

The best part, most film grain you see is the work of maybe three people. https://www.fxguide.com/featured/furnace_discreet_-_beta_pro... This is from 2003.


I usually do my grain matching with a custom gizmo I've made. But then again, I'm a compositor, so I'm not so much concerned with grain as an artistic tool as I am with matching whatever the original footage looked like.

I use my own grain gizmo for grain matching. More accurately, noise matching, since it's pretty rare for me to get plates shot on film these days, and the digital noise modern cameras produce is quite different from film grain, so film grain tools don't necessarily do a very good job matching it. At least that's been my experience.

Edit: But yes, mostly if you can see grain in a big budget feature film, it's been added afterwards, as the production quite likely didn't even use a camera that produces film-like grain.


This is a site unaffiliated with the video creator (Nerdwriter1) that adds no meaningful content on top of that which is included in the video. Would it be possible to link directly to the video instead? https://youtube.com/watch?v=4PcpGxihPac

Even worse, it doesn't make it clear that Kottke isn't the creator.

Now now, that’s rather unfair to Jason Kottke. It should be abundantly clear to any regular reader of his, and both the text and the embedded YouTube player includes attribution to the creator.

He credits the creator in the second sentence. I know that a lot of people never read article text (ahem), but there's not much the writer can do about that.

If you really enjoyed this video, you will love this defunct YouTube channel "Every Frame A Painting":

https://www.youtube.com/user/everyframeapainting/videos

Also, there is a semi-successor to the above called "Fandor" that I am subscribed to, which isn't as compelling/immersive/creative in its delivery, but it's still good:

https://www.youtube.com/user/Fandorific/videos

Fandor releases about 1 video a day. If you know other channels like this, please share.


> Fandor releases about 1 video a day. If you know other channels like this, please share.

Jesus, no wonder Youtubers are burnt out. That's an apalling pressure to put on a creator....

I loved how rare and curated Every Frame A Painting was - to me it was the epitome of the realization of the promise of youtube - the peak of the medium.

I am hungry for more similar content, so I'm certainly going to check Fandor out but I'm nervous about the added load a daily video channel would add to my media consumption


I just watched the Kurosawa one the other night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doaQC-S8de8

When I just read Spielberg's quote,

>The grain is always moving, it’s swimming, which means that even in a still life, let’s say a flower on a table, that flower is alive even if it’s not moving.

it made me think immediately of what was said about Kurosawa, except that Kurosawa used weather/environment instead.


>during the era when film was the only choice many photographers tried hard to eliminate this aspect of film processing.

Not always, during my days of film i (and many photogs) used to love Tri-x due to the characteristic grain and contrast even pushing the process to extremes like ISO 1600 or 3200 to exagerate such qualities. Now i find digital noise or film grain simulators horrible.


Companies like www.cinegrain.com have been successful by selling grains that have been collected from all available film stocks and licensing them to productions that shoot digital.

I have a program idea: "Godard Title Generator". It would produce colorful letter animation on black with film grain and shake (and with occasional pubic hairs and cigarette burns).

I guess it would also discard whatever text you put in and replace it with a mashup of sentences from obscure Cuban revolutionaries and conversation fragments overheard from a couple fighting in the street in Paris.


Film grain is an unnecessary noise, degrading the quality of video. Looks bad for our eyes and especially bad for video encoding. It should be abolished for good.



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