October 3, 2014

Neat Video vs. Denoiser II: Which Plug-In is Better for Noise Reduction?

Noisy is rarely a good thing, especially when it comes to video footage.

Film Riot compares a couple of the most popular noise reduction tools, the Neat Video plug-in and Red Giant's Denoiser II, to find the pros and cons of each.

Now, of course you want to do everything you can to ensure that your footage is as crisp and clear as possible before you shoot -- avoiding low light situations, choosing lower ISO settings when possible, using lenses with larger apertures, even keeping your camera within its optimal shooting temperature -- but sometimes noise is unavoidable. This is why these denoisers can be so important to have in your editing toolbox.

There are several noise reducers out there that clean up your image pretty damn well. We've talked quite a bit about the Dark Energy plug-in, which, if you've got $200 to spend, is probably one of the more powerful denoisers out there at that price point. However, if your budget is a little bit tighter, the plug-ins Ryan Connolly compares, Neat Video and Denoiser II, are still extremely adept at clearing up artifacts and are both about $100 (Neat Video offers a $50 option, but you'll be missing some Pro features and will only be able to process HDV 720p-size video). In the end, it looks like Neat Video and Denoiser II are both excellent at reducing noise, especially within the kinds of noisy situations you'll most find yourself in. Neat Video does let you have at the custom controls, which is nice for pros, but probably unnecessary for beginners, and seems to be a little faster at processing your images.

Which denoiser would you recommend? What's your experience working with Neat Video and/or Denoiser II (or even Dark Energy -- is it worth spending the extra scratch?). Let us know in the comments!     

Your Comment

27 Comments

The Dark Energy product seems to be PC only.

We have Denoiser. I don't believe we use it too much because it's unbearably slow. We've considered getting Neat Video as well simply because it's faster.

October 3, 2014 at 3:25PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1259

The great thing about Neat Video is custom building the noise profile to include shadows, mids and highlights. I was using it in the simple way they describe in the video, but once I actually went to their website to see how it's supposed to be done - it got even better. So do take the time and watch the tutorial for that.

October 3, 2014 at 3:37PM

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Gleb Volkov
Director of Photography
208

Neat video has cuda acceleration and can be a life saver on crazy noise patterns. Fast and reliable. For the price they charge it's an invaluable tool. Awesome software.

October 3, 2014 at 3:42PM, Edited October 3, 3:42PM

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Alex Mandarino
DP / VFX Generalist
247

I think denoiser has an option that says "Use GPU" I don't know what it does but it may be openCL. However, it doesn't seem like it.

October 3, 2014 at 4:24PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1259

I love `em, but I don't think the Film Riot guys did this topic justice. They seemed to have glossed over Neat's real potential. This stood out to me when they skipped over its ability to remove compression macro-blocking, but not talking at all about profiling your camera was the biggest omission. I have profiles for every ISO setting, both under exposed and properly exposed. Makes a world of difference. And if you have a relatively popular camera, someone has probably already made a profile.

October 3, 2014 at 3:55PM

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Joseph Moore
Director
288

Thank you for the kind mention in your write up.

My name is Ernie, I'm one of the co-founders of Cinnafilm. I really enjoy getting notifications via Google Alerts that our technology was mentioned somewhere on the web. I like it even more when it's a kind mention like this :o)

As a thank you, For No Film School members only, send us a note through our Contact Page http://darkenergyforaftereffects.com/contact/ and we'll give you a special NFS purchase price of $99.00 for Dark Energy for After Effects.

This is only good through the end of October.

So hopefully this removes the "extra scratch" argument and enables everyone to take advantage of both our award winning denoise (which vaporizes film grain, Gaussian noise, micro/macro blocking) and film simulation (enables full modeling of any film stock you can think of) that you get when you become a customer of Cinnafilm.

Cheers!

Ernie

October 3, 2014 at 4:22PM

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Ernie Sanchez
Co-Founder/Cinnafilm
91

Very generous Ernie! Would love to as I've heard only ringing endorsements from your product. I wish I could take advantage. Any Macintosh compatible versions in the pipe?

cheers

October 3, 2014 at 5:40PM

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Garrett,

When Apple decides to standardize on NVIDIA GPUs, we will consider it.

E

October 3, 2014 at 5:50PM

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Ernie Sanchez
Co-Founder/Cinnafilm
91

Ernie, when do you plan to release the Win 8.1 version of DE for AE? As far as I know it's been pushed back many times (used to be last year, then this summer, now this fall).

October 4, 2014 at 6:14PM

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Driftwood
272

Apple will not work with Nvidia again. Until AMD pisses them off more, anyway.

October 6, 2014 at 12:50PM

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Thomas Koch
Director/DoP
196

Nice. I'm a happy cinnafilm guy and if I may add your service is impeccable. Mica and the staff are always helpful and very attentive. I wouldn't want to use anything else. Great product

October 3, 2014 at 5:47PM

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Anthony F. Marino III
produce shoot edit
307

Yes, very VERY generous offer. Had I found this prior to purchasing both versions of Neat Video (one for Premiere & After Effects) AND you offered support for Premiere Pro, I would have most likely taken advantage of this deal myself. Hell, I signed up to this forum just so I could leave this reply.

October 3, 2014 at 11:58PM

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JoshuaMallett.com
Producer / Director / DP
84

Just sent in the request, Ernie! Thanks for the major offer, I'm really excited :D

October 5, 2014 at 9:11PM

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Matthew Chua
Hobbyist
74

Just a reminder, the NFS 1/2 price/$99 special for Dark Energy for After Effects ends Oct 31 at midnight. Drop us a note before then http://darkenergyforaftereffects.com/contact/ and you'll be contacted regarding payment. Note we are Win7 only at the moment.

Thanks!
Mica

October 30, 2014 at 1:33PM

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Mica Comstock
Operations Manager
74

Neat video is amazing. Blew my mind the first time I used it. Really fast too. In Nuke it's at least as fast if not faster than the built in denoise and so much better.

October 4, 2014 at 1:48AM

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Joseph Silva
Post Production Generalist
81

Can anyone comment on how these stack up against the full version of Resolve for noise reduction?

October 4, 2014 at 10:50AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
1569

noise reduction in davinci resolve is very very good but uses a lot of gpu. so i use it to preview first then disable it and reapply before exporting after grading.
with denoiser, i usually apply to all my footage before cutting.

i prefer davinci for noise reduction when working with raw and r3d files.
i prefer denoiser ii for noise reduction when working with prores.

October 5, 2014 at 11:37AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1323

Thanks for the reply, Kazu!

October 5, 2014 at 12:26PM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
1569

Film Riot always putting out something useful. Ryan will be in Shane Hurlbut's Illumination Experience in Chicago, I'll be attending so I'm geeked.

October 4, 2014 at 5:24PM

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Luna Videography
Videographer
604

i've used denioser for AE on 4k footage and it worked fine. but it was very painfully slow.
it's an overnight job pretty much

October 4, 2014 at 9:16PM, Edited October 4, 9:16PM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1323

HI, I work the denoiser II restauring a old videos with a lot of noises (a lottt :S) and it's impressive the results. My bosses are very happy :D

October 5, 2014 at 2:56AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7662

Grain remove from Genarts Sapphire is really great !!!

We use it a lot and we actually use it for removing noise, its our favorite noise remover, and you have a lot of control.

October 5, 2014 at 5:39AM

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Amir Azizi
Writer Director
88

Used NeatVideo on some really horrible high iso BTS shots, pretty impressive. Especially for the money.

October 7, 2014 at 12:45AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1367

I use Denoiser 2, and it does all around a great job however, if you work with Red footage I do not recommend it at all, the program seems optimized for DSLR video, or AVCHD video, both of which denoiser does fantastic on, The color space in RED just seems to confuse it.

On the red footage, If you start tweaking, the video starts breaking up into macro blocks slanted at a 45 dergee angle and trying the film mode turn everything purple and green. It's been a while since I've used it on red footage, so maybe its better now, but the I've had this problem since CS6.

October 7, 2014 at 2:45PM

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David Sharp
Video Editor, Cinematographer, Teacher
419

I own both of these.

I'm a huge fan of everything Red Giant is about, but I just can't get the same level of results out of Denoiser II that I can get out of Neat Video. I purchased Denoiser II first, spent a year with it being disappointed, then installed a trial version of Neat Video. Almost immediately after, I purchased a license and haven't looked back since.

I want Denoiser II to be better. It's more affordable, especially since Red Giant has a much more flexible licensing system. But it just isn't there yet.

October 8, 2014 at 10:52AM, Edited October 8, 10:52AM

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David S.
2880

the neat video site indicates a "known issue" with premiere cc2014. it does seem to point at premiere as the problem though. wonder then if denoiser has the same issue...

June 11, 2015 at 12:48PM, Edited June 11, 12:48PM

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ive been playing with denoiser and neat all weekend and have had NOTHING but trouble with both. denoiser only works (in premiere, on a mac, on yosemite) if you nest the clips you add it to. and while it will render. it leaves the sequence unexportable.

neatvideo on the other hand, seems to work. but will randomly bypass audio, previous effects or even itself.

as mentioned in my previous post. it sounds like premiere is the guilty party. or maybe the way it involved cuda or maybe yosemite (depending on what thread on what forum you read) but either way. BOTH are currently non-starters on my system. and i'm going to have to deliver footage to a client in the morning with a couple grainy as hell event clips.

im starting to miss 2012 or so and FCP6x. when most things just "worked"

June 14, 2015 at 8:00PM

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