March 15, 2014

Dark Energy, the Powerful Noise Removal Plugin is Now $300 Cheaper

darkenergylogoblogthm-224x134We've talked about the Cinnafilm Dark Energy de-noising plugin on several occasions. Most notably, Dark Energy played a crucial role in the post-production workflow of Shane Hurlbut's DLSR-shot film Act of Valor. The good people at Cinnafilm also ran a Kickstarter campaign to judge interest in porting the plugin over to the OFX platform (which would have made it compatible with Resolve, Nuke, Avid, and a host of other applications). Even though that campaign didn't succeed, the Dark Energy AE plugin is still one of the most wildly popular noise reduction/grain emulation tools on the market today. The only problem for most of us is that we're not made of money. Luckily for us, Cinnafilm permanently slashed the price yesterday in honor of Einstein's birthday.

Dark Energy for After Effects is now $200, previously $500. If you haven't seen what the Dark Energy plugin can do yet, here is a quick demo reel that shows just how powerful it is:

And for those of you wondering how the plugin works, here's a good tutorial from Cinnafilm that explains how the Anti-Matter plugin uses spatial analysis of the three separate color channels in order to provide the best possible de-noising of an image:

This drop in price is an interesting move by Cinnafilm. As camera technology advances and our sensors become more and more sensitive to light (making it possible to shoot cleanly at high ISO's), the necessity of heavy de-noising is becoming less and less. Add to that the fact that the low end of the grain/film stock emulation plugin market is on lock by the folks at Film Convert, and it's difficult to see where Dark Energy fits into the market, even at its drastically reduced price.

With that said, Dark Energy is undoubtedly the best de-noising plugin at the lower end of the market, beating out competitors like Neat Video and Magic Bullet Denoiser quite easily. Now that it's available at a significantly discounted price of $200, it will be a much easier sell for the people who are in need of world-class de-noising. (Keep in mind, though, that it's a PC application.)

What do you guys think about this drastic price cut for Dark Energy? Let's hear your thoughts down in the comments!

Link: Dark Energy for After Effects -- Cinnafilm

Your Comment

30 Comments

… how is this better than neat video or denoiser II ?

March 15, 2014 at 6:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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+1 I like what I get out of Denoiser II more than Dark Energy, at least according to the videos.

March 16, 2014 at 2:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nate

Denoiser II is the only Red Giant plugin that I regret buying. I used it for over a year, and finally just broke down and got Neat Video. I can't say how it compares to Dark Energy, but Neat Video is like night and day better and easier to get good results from than Denoiser II, in my opinion. I love Red Giant and wish this weren't true.. Still hoping for a Denoiser III or something that wins out.

March 17, 2014 at 8:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anyone know how this compares to Red Giant Denoiser?

March 15, 2014 at 6:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dark Matter is better than Neat video?

I had always thought that the consensus was that Neat video was the best out there. Have there been any reviews or benchmarks between the two of them?

So which one is the best? Any thoughts...

March 15, 2014 at 6:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jorrge

By the way, I did want to mention that the new Denoiser in DaVinci Resolve Full Version is really pretty awesome. I don't know how it compares to Dark Matter though.

Robbie Carmen did a comparison between Neat Video and the new Resolve Denoiser and Resolve held its own, Ultimately Neat was considered the better tool, but not by a very wide margin.

Of course, in order to take advantage of the new Denoiser in Resolve, you have to have the full version, which is $1,000, but you're obviously getting a lot more than just a Denoiser.

March 15, 2014 at 6:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jorge

Yeah, it should be pointed up in the very first line of this article that this plugin is Windows-compitable only.

March 15, 2014 at 6:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ka

Are there any other editing platforms out there?

March 15, 2014 at 7:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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No, windows is the only OS you can edit on, sadly

March 15, 2014 at 9:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Zack

Thanks to an article here a while ago I purchased the plug in and it's amazing. I only tried neat a few times and it worked great but this anti-matter and matter is incredible. It's a one, two punch and I think that's what separates it from the rest. I don't know how it works other than it loves GPUs but adding grain (the "matter" part) gives what appears to be a sharper image. The anti-matter part can make noisy 8-bit s-log footage look pretty darn good, you just can't overdue it. Customer service is great too, I hope they stick around. Not for a shameless plug or anything but on my vimeo channel marino215, I just did an experiment/promo for a friend, I wanted to see how speedgrade reacts with dark energy. I may have went a little overboard with the CC but it will give you a good idea what the blacks look like even compressed in H264 plus Vimeo. (There's a night shot in there) Hey It's cheap and it works great. A big thanks to NFS for the heads up.

March 15, 2014 at 8:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anthony Marino

just windows. fail.

March 15, 2014 at 8:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Paulo Emilio

The Pros use Windows. The Hobbyists use Mac.

March 16, 2014 at 12:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Razor

Haha oh wait you were being serious

March 16, 2014 at 8:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Keith

I think this is aimed at pro's.

March 16, 2014 at 12:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Steve

I"ve got it it's prettty powerful.

The difference between this and neat video I heard is that this is a 64bit application where as neat video is only 32bit.

And of course cinnafilm is already a really big professional tool, dark energy is that scaled down version.

March 15, 2014 at 9:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Will

It's sad to see rumor when real info is just a few clicks away. Neat Video is available in both 32 bit and 64 bit versions for supporting customers on either a 32 or 64 bit platform/editors. See here:

http://www.neatvideo.com/download.html

March 16, 2014 at 7:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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William Koehler

Why not use the Canon XF 300 or 305?

March 16, 2014 at 12:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Harry

This plugin is only compatible with Windows 7 64bit, support for Windows 8.1 is delayed twice, now they plan to release it after May.

March 16, 2014 at 3:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ash

March 16, 2014 at 9:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anthony Marino

I am curious - let's say you shoot some very grainy - and not in a good way - footage with BMPC4K at 800 ISO. How much noise can be removed via DE or any other software to make it look ISO 400'ish? (presuming that 200 is too much to hope for).

March 16, 2014 at 4:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Hi DLD, I'm not sure about the BM4K, it does a heck a job on 8-bit so I imagine even better with 10. You can go overboard with it and the footage looks a little soft but with normal exposure and the perfect amount I've gained as much as a 2 stops or more and sometimes that's more than enough to salvage footage you wouldn't normally use.

March 16, 2014 at 6:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anthony Marino

Bottom line is its still over twice the price of Neat video so unless it does twice the job twice as fast then you're just wasting your money. I've seen a lot of vague statements and misinformation claiming this is better but everything I have heard, Neat is just as good, just as fast and half the price.

So unless you want to back up this article with actual real world tests I'd suggest you edit out the part that claims DE to be the best and beating out neat easily. I mean seriously? Who told you that?? The same company that paid for the 'story'?

Very shoddy work Robert.

March 16, 2014 at 7:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Peter

It's is article on dark energy, it's not a neat video vs dark energy and despite your ramblings its a proven winner already. Until you use both you honestly have no idea what's better but all signs point to Cinnafilm. That's from my experience.

March 16, 2014 at 9:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anthony Marino

I did detailed tests for myself, and while Dark Energy was comparable in quality, it definitely wasn't better. As far as I can tell they're basically doing the same thing under the hood, but Neat Video offers far better support and is less prone to crashing whereas Dark Energy tries to hide behind their BS about having supposedly better tech and was used on that one Shane Hurlbut movie.

March 17, 2014 at 8:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gabe

I can see in many instinces where that can make sense. You can get one thing better out of another. What I noticed about DE was the ability to add the "matter" which I find separates it from other plugins. To be fair I haven't used neat nearly as much but I do know it's a great product. As far as customer service goes I speak directly to the programmers there at Cinnafilm, they're always more than helpful, especially Mica Comstock. As always it's good know we have some quality choices out there. Stay well Gabe

March 17, 2014 at 9:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anthony Marino

I own Neat Video for a couple of years and have tested Dark Energy and, Neat video gives me the better results. DE is really good but i couldn't get good results as with neat Video, also NV is cheaper ;)

March 17, 2014 at 2:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wildranger

AND Neat Video works with more than just After Effects on Windows. If you either aren't on Windows or don't use AE, you can't use Dark Energy.

March 18, 2014 at 10:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hey guys I’m making my first short documentary and trying to figure out what to pay for a quality editor without getting jipped. I’m shooting on a Canon C300 to get a cinematic look and feel. The film itself will only be about 7 to 8 minutes in length. What’s reasonable?

March 17, 2014 at 4:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Devin

A lot of people like me are reading comments just to get precious information on tools to know if they'll be useful for their projects. So I do totally agree with users saying that Denoiser is not as good as Neat video because I've used both before making the choice of buying neat video on mac. This software is very very good and gives fine adjustments. Results are amazing and well worth $100 to me.
The only downside of neat video is that it's very slow to render (but i guess it's the same with others). But again, well worth waiting. No question about it.

March 18, 2014 at 4:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I use neat video. Its an excellent software. But I am on Fcpx . Why Dark Energy dont make a mac version? A lot of pros use mac platform.

August 30, 2014 at 11:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mahen