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Thread: grainy footage. what am I doing wrong?

  1. #1

    Default grainy footage. what am I doing wrong?

    I shot a night scene with a Canon 60D 50mm @ 1.8f 1080p @30FPS shutter 1/40 (I know it's not right should'v been 1/60) ISO 320 with a Cinestyle Profile.

    I used one light source pointed up at the ceiling and light the room so slightly yet it looks horribly grainy. Also the scene is about a robber who entered a house so it's gotta look dark and nightly.

    Even at post production it's llo ok horrible darkening and using Red giant denoiser II is just too much grain. thanks for the help!

  2. #2


    With digital cameras there is some noise in every picture but it's usually not noticeable, the reason it becomes too grainy is usually not enough light is hitting the sensor. It's possible that other magnetic fields can effect a camera but I'm only work from a theory of my own after a disappointing video I made recently. Am F/1.8 isn't a really fast lens. It sounds you could do with lighting the scene more or getting a F/1.2 lens even a F/1.4 would let a lot more light into the camera. If the scene looks too light it's easier to darken it in post than try to clean up noise. Now add into that equation what compression of the AVCHD codec is doing to the image, it's a mix of all these factors that will compound the problem.

    There are some post solutions the most popular noise remover plug-in seems to be Neat Video but just like all post production solutions they will adversely affect the image quality so could make your image a bit soft. I think Neat is better than others at doing it's job. You could try adding a bit of blur or soft focus or lower the saturation, going to full B&W will make things look less grainy but really if you want top quality you need to re-shoot.

  3. #3


    What lighting a scene where the robber looks at the object that's being has a light on top kind of like that one Indiana jones movie th first one where he exchanges a gold statue with a bag of something with same weight. Yea it's lighten like that and everything else is dark. The object like good high def but the dark is grainy. Can I get away with masking it on after effects and make it blacker? Just wondering.

    Also, I shot robber outside on top of roof, but I only want to see the sillouette of the body walking. So I out a light behind him and another one on other side of the house pointing the roof so people can see he is on the roof. Should I still keep the ISO 320 or keep it at 100 and light the house to a good ful amount. Like you said?

  4. #4


    Shoot at golden hour I guess, then use the day to night?

  5. #5


    I'm a great fan of getting it in camera if you can. I can't possibly answer your specific questions without being there with you and seeing what the conditions are at the time of the shoot. There is no reason you can't shoot at night. Using the tools you have, the idea you said about back lighting will help the bring the person out of the dark background but keep him in silhouette. Even lighting him from the front might be needed. This would be acceptable as the audience knows there is often a big light source in the sky at night (The Moon). Also using tricks like using a blue tinted light might help to sell the look you are going for.

    As for having noise in the image, that will depend a lot on your camera settings. You might try spot metering on the camera, turn of active D lighting if Canons have shuch a thing. I'm not familiar with Canon cameras so I don't know exactly what options you have. I would hit the manual and do some testing before the shoot if I was you.

  6. #6


    Well, getting CT Gels pretty hard for me due that I don't have money to spend on. What other possibilities can I use besides gels? Would thin type of clothe work? I mean my lights are 5500k florescent so heat is not a problem.

  7. #7


    was the footage grainy right when it came out of the cam or did it become grainy after editing? I have a 600D which has basically the same brain and I did a few tests of direct from SD footage editing vs uncompressed (rather converted in edit-friendly format) files, the difference between both was huge in favor of the edit-friendly format. google from mpeg streamclip, it's a free converting tool, also get the avid codec. you'll find all the link and instructions there -> Transcoding Canon T2i 550D Mov Files for Sony Vegas Editing (it says it's for t2i but 550D/600D/650D/60D/7D all have the same sensor and whatnot, the differences are mostly in the features, build quality and mechanical build quality but for video, they're pretty much the same and they all have this compressed h264 file format that's very edit-unfriendly)

    this is my first test video that I did just when I got the 600D, it's nothing but night scenes and the iso is usually between 400 and 800, probably even one scene at 1600, lenses used were samyang 8mm 3.5 fisheye and the 18/55 kit lens, so nothing fancy. Lighting was made by one or two 160 LED amazon light kits on tripod or directly on the cam.
    Keep in mind it was only a test, it was not meant to be a good quality film. But for reference, this is when I used the converted files for editing, adding some presets from magic bullet looks as well (I went for the presets because of how aggressive they usually are and I really wanted to push it and see what it was able to handle)

    I'm not saying it's good or bad, I don't know your standard, but this was pretty much without trying too hard.

    this is a picture of the setup (clic to enlarge)
    Last edited by hadoq; 10-11-2012 at 09:39 PM.

  8. #8


    Yes, it was grainy when it came out. Also, I read about converting it but I didn't think much of it. How does converting it make it friendlier? What would I convert it to, if I do convert it to friendlier format. I use Adobe Premiere Pro I don't know if that would make a difference for friendly formats.

  9. #9


    I use both premiere and vegas, I don't really know what exactly is going on in the encoding/decoding process (the link I gave you provides some explanation) and the format thing always have been my weak spot in this, but the difference is notable in both image quality and ease to work with, not to mention that the effects are smoother and look better. the downside is that the files are MUCH larger. Even the exporting process was faster. The decoding takes some time but it's not that much time and it's well worth the wait because it'll be time you'll save later working with the files more easily.

    Now adobe claims they decode h264 in premiere, and yes, you can import the files and work with them in premiere, but as far as I understand, it still requires extra resources from your computer to do this job, and premiere is already very heavy as it is.

    The other thing if you want light is to upgrade your lenses, but the 50mm 1.8 should be more than fast enough to allow you to work at night in reasonably lit places. Now also make sure that you get the correct shutter speed to begin with (even if you experiment with it after that) which means 1/50 if you shoot in 24 or 25fps and 1/100 if you shoot in 50fps (1/120 if you shoot at 60fps). I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make but at least then we can rule this out.

    also, did you use filters on your lense while shooting? it seems like a silly question, but they do make you lose up to a couple stops depending on which filter you're using, which would force your camera to crank up the light somehow to compensate (and it may be the iso if you're in auto iso mode)

  10. #10


    No, I did not use any filters, I don't have much understanding of the filters for the lenses yet. Also, I always keep my settings on manual so my ISO and f stop was a constant 320 and 1.8 throughout production. I never went higher that 320. If I do decide to convert my footage for friendlier format, I should keep the original files correct just incase? If so then I will need more hard drives.

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