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!