Noise and grain aren’t always something to get rid of. A little noise can
be used for a variety of reasons in your video: to create a particular look or
even to hide things you’d rather your audience didn’t notice. In this quick tutorial I’ll explain why
you might want to introduce noise into your film, and some of the best ways to
Why Add Noise to Video
Grain Creates a Cinematic Look
We’re spoiled with having a choice of affordable, amazing
tech at our disposal. As recording devices and the way we watch films improves,
footage can sometimes now look too clean and sharp, particularly for some film
genres. For example, I recently watched a show that combined documentary-style
interviews with re-created footage, but they’d processed them both in the same way
and it was… odd.
Adding a little grain can help with a cinematic look, and
gives your audience a specific frame of reference. There are ways we’re used to
‘seeing’ in cinema in particular – 24fps, letterbox format and so on – and we
find that familiar and comforting, for want of a better word. Watching something
that looks too smooth and realistic can
actually put people off; we’re just not used to it.
A Sense of Nostalgia
You might deliberately try to emulate a particular era, or
even just to age some contemporary footage you’ve shot. Adding grain or other
textures, can be a great way to ‘dirty’ this new, clean footage up and help
achieve the look you’re after.
It Can be a Sticking Plaster
Adding grain can help to hide things you’d rather your
audience didn’t see. If you have banding in your colours, or compression
artifacts, then including noise can mask those. However, beware when adding grain
to videos intended for online uploading, like Facebook
and YouTube. Those platforms will heavily compress your video. If you’ve added noise,
that’s extra information in your video that will be processed and compressed
and can result in more artifacts than you were originally trying to hide.
Photo by Joshua Newton on UnsplashHow to Add Grain and Noise to Your Video
Use a Built-in Generator
One of the easiest ways to add grain is to use the add-ons
your editing suite comes with. There are things to consider when you’re adding
grain this way. Adjust the opacity and blending mode of your noise layer(s) to get
a more tailored result. If you’re trying to recreate
an old film look, you’ll probably want several layers, one each for the
different effects like noise, scratches and dirt for example.
Use a Photograph
You can use a still image with transparency to add noise or
a texture. If you do this, it’ll look more realistic if you add some movement
to it and so better replicates moving cinema film. Fractal Noise in Adobe
Premiere Pro lets you add noise with motion.
Try a Template
A template pack can give you lots of customisable objects in one easy template. Give this one a try, from Envato Market:
and Grunge Film Effect 06 for Adobe After Effects
Try this Adobe
After Effects pack to add a variety of effects to your film. The pack includes
noise (or grain), scratches, vignette, light leaks and more. The links to the
free fonts used in the preview are included too.
Vintage and Grunge Film Effect 06More Great Video Helpers
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