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A Step-by-Step Tutorial for Getting Noise-Free DSLR Footage

09.5.12 @ 3:40PM Tags : , , , , ,

It’s something many of us have come up against during one production or another: noise. We’re mostly talking about digital choma (color) noise, and not the much more pleasant grain texture of actual film (subjective, I know), or the less-obnoxious texture of digital luma (brightness) noise. Chroma noise is what rears its ugly head when we’re pushing cameras to the extreme, and for many of us, that means Canon DSLRs. In the tutorial below, Lucas Pfaff takes us through some of the camera settings and programs he uses to get the cleanest looking footage possible.

Thanks to John Hess at FilmmakerIQ for the link:

Lucas was kind enough to mark off the relevant sections below (in Vimeo you can click on the numbers, but they don’t translate over very simply to WordPress, so you can just click forward in the video after you hit play):

  • “Part 1: Shooting” starting at 1:25
  • “Part 2: Basic Denoising” starting at 6:15
  • “Part 3: Heavy Noise!” starting at 13:46 (sorry, I went a bit too far away from the Mic…)
  • “Part 4: Super Clean” starting at 19:21
  • “Part 5: Grain on its own” starting at 22:25
  • Final Words at 23:42


Here is the movie that Lucas made utilizing the noise reduction:

This is a making of video for that movie:

I can attest to the power of Neat Video as I used it with great results on the revisited candlelight test with the Canon 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, and D800. While he didn’t really go into sharpening, it’s an important step to consider if you’re doing heavy noise reduction. Depending on where your footage is going, it’s likely you’ll want to do a slight bit of sharpening as noise reduction will soften many of the finer details in your video. It all really depends on your personal taste, however, so there really is no exact science for getting cleaner, better-looking footage — it’s really all up to you. These programs will definitely help you get into the right direction regarding noise reduction.

For those adventurous folks who are going to try to push the Blackmagic Cinema Camera in zero light situations, noise reduction is going to be helpful, and you can use the built-in reduction in DaVinci Resolve or utilize one of the methods discussed in the video.

What do you guys think? What’s your process for doing noise reduction?


[via FilmmakerIQ]


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  • oh wow… you surf in the internet, and suddenly, your stuff gets on big websites O.o

    I didn’t sharpen the footage after the cleaning because it produced some nasty halos, and I wanted rather to stay soft then that; yet of course it’s a matter of taste and what you are want to achieve.

    thanks for sharing :)

    • Joe Marine on 09.5.12 @ 4:01PM

      Thanks for the video and the clarification – yes, it’s certainly a matter of taste, and obviously if it’s producing adverse affects like you said it’s best to avoid.

      • you’re welcome. I did it almost a year ago for the community, and of course I’m very happy when it helps someone :)

        again, thanks for sharing :)

  • vinceGortho on 09.5.12 @ 4:36PM

    When rendering in after effects, do u select 16 or 32 bit color?
    Is choosing Rec709, the best choice for dslr footage?

  • Thanks Lucas

  • I use Red Giants Denoiser II in After Effects in a 32bpc color space. I apply the noise reduction as the first thing before and other grading. Have always been happy with the results.

  • Purchased neat video recently as I’d pushed my ISOs more often than not up to 3200 on a 600d on a no-budget feature project. The clean-up amazes me every time, so quick, so simple, and so, so impressive.

  • Please make the thumbnails on your homepage link-able to your blog post instead of a static page with just the picture. For example I initially see this post featured on your home page so naturally I click on the picture thinking that it will take me to the post but, instead it takes me here: . Wether or not you take this to heart or not at least I got it off my chest

    - that guy who hits “refresh” on your your blog all day.

    • PS: Thank you for the top notch content that you post to this blog.

    • Joe Marine on 09.6.12 @ 2:43AM

      Yeah that’s a mistake, sometimes that’s the default behavior for images and sometimes it’s not. The way we usually do it is that the image just doesn’t link anywhere, only the title does – we could do it the way you’re suggesting but at the moment we don’t. Anyway, it’s fixed now.

      • You can use “featured image” to prevent that link and set it up to link to the post. But it would require some coding.

        • We’re redesigning this whole joint so at this point we’re not going in and coding small changes — but yes, it would totally make sense to have front page images take you to the full post. In the next version!

      • Seriously, you didn’t have to do that. Just another reason the team is the best.

  • Do you have a link to the extreme neatvideo profile that we can download from and try out? Thank you.

    • Ben, Neat Video requires you to tweak for each (choose): a: Video, b: Cut, c: small set of Frames .

      Finding a reasonable setting and applying to an entire Short (less than a few minutes) can be impressive but better result come from splitting your Video into Scene Changes (and ‘causing’ SCs digitally — someone fires a light in your direction and that is a “Scene Change”)

      Chopping your Video (using AVISynth, for example) and fiddling with it incessantly, and then trying again will suck the dirt out of both your Video and your Carpet. I use it (along with DeShaker) to film in the dark.

      There are a few nighttime Videos (the Ducks and the NV Binoculars) that are filmed (as you might guess from my Channel name) in very low light (sometimes almost no light).

      Neat is the best I have come across but for a so-called “extreme neatvideo profile” you can make your own by just pushing the Sliders over; that will not necessarily be a good result for _your_ Video.

      There are Tutorial Videos on Neat’s Site that will help (as will printing out the Calibration Chart).