Film Grain Plates:
Film grain can really add a certain something to footage. It allows you to partially enter the world of the story being told. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s just what we’re used to seeing in cinema or whether there’s more going on. Technically, it can also be used very subtly to reduce banding on footage or even to help when upscaling footage (see our video on upscaling from HD to 4K).
Below you will find a number of different film grain plates that you can use with your footage. They’re free to download and use as you wish. You can of course pay for this if you want by going to a site like RGrain. They do great products in convenient packages but you pay up to $99 for the privilege.
We have tried to maintain the best quality possible here by using a 16-bit workflow throughout and providing these in ProRes 4444 format.
To ensure that your NLE does not have to do any frame rate compensation, we’ve created versions of these in 23.976, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94 and 60 frames per second. To be honest, you’ll have no troubles downloading the highest frame rate you will use and letting the NLE do the work but we wanted to provide a complete package. Resolution wise, these are at HD & 4K DCI. Film grain type is 35mm. Each clip is 30 seconds in length and can be looped.
Why DCI 4K not UHD?
DCI 4K has the same vertical resolution as UHD (2160px) but is slightly wider at 4096px. It has an aspect ratio of 17:9 vs. the standard 16:9 for UHD. We decided not to do UHD clips because you can use the DCI 4K clips at 100% scale and just let the extra width sit to one side. It kind of kills two resolutions with one stone, so to speak.
Using the Plates:
After downloading the .mov ProRes file, simply drop the footage on your timeline above the footage requiring grain and set the ‘Blend Mode’ to ‘Overlay’. Each plate has been created with a fairly intensive level of grain. You can adjust the opacity of this video layer to achieve the look you want and reduce this level.
The files are very large so be prepared for a long download if you’re on a slower connection. To reduce file size, ProRes 422 versions are also available which are roughly 50% of the size of the 4444 versions.
How Does it Look?
The image below shows a comparison between an image with and without grain applied. This image has been slightly overdone as it was reduced in size from an HD 1080p plate which in turn reduces the visibility of any grain (or noise for that matter).