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Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects

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Bob PrichardReducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 4:18:36 pm

I shot some landscape footage with my Sony FS700 and there is a surprising amount of color noise, especially noticeable in the blue sky. The noise is reddish-purple.

How should I set up Neat Video in After Effects to reduce this particular color noise?

Thanks.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 5:11:13 pm

I think the more appropriate question is, "How should I have set up my camera to avoid the possibility of chroma noise?"

Anything else is applying Band-Aids to a situation that could have been avoided much earlier.

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Bob PrichardRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 5:20:58 pm

Suggestions on how to set up camera to avoid color noise would be helpful.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 5:53:27 pm

Well, let's start with the basics: what kind of lighting did you use? Were you able to overcome the limited contrast range inherent in any video camera ever devised to give you the most useful image?

Actually, it applies to film, too. On just about any "behind the scenes" video, have you ever seen shots of gigantic banks of lights used outdoors? Or great, big, huge reflectors?

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Bob PrichardRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 5:56:17 pm

For shooting landscapes, we use the sun.

You may have heard about this type of lighting.

The sun is the center of our solar system.

Is this lighting OK for reducing color noise?


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Dave LaRondeRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 6:09:37 pm

It all depends on whether your subject is in sunlight or shadow, you see...

Is the subject in shadow, but the majority of the shot is in sunlight? It makes a big difference.

In such a case, big Hollywood productions are hauling in the huge banks of lights to even things out. Smaller producers are hauling in the reflectors to compensate, and putting up with the aggravation of re-aiming the reflectors as the sun angle changes.

Even smaller producers rely on miracles and grasp at straws such as AE... which can't solve fundamental problems as a profoundly and improperly exposed shot.

Since you're revealed absolutely nothing about the nature of your problem, I can only speculate that a sunlight and shadow problem is the case. Would you care to divulge particulars about the problem shots?

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Bob PrichardRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 7:13:30 pm

As I said in the OP, the noise is most noticeable in the sky.

The sky is the blue area above the landscape.

I don't know if it is in sun or shade--what do you think?

Do we need to bring in banks of lights to illuminate the sky?


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Dave LaRondeRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 7:18:14 pm

I think you shouldn't rely on auto exposure in such an instance. It doesn't seem to have served you well. Did you take the simple precaution of setting the exposure off a white card prior to the shot?

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Bob PrichardRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 7:39:56 pm

Where does it say in the OP or any of my posts that I relied on auto exposure?

Do you read posts before you reply to them?


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Walter SoykaRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 6:27:18 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "I think the more appropriate question is, "How should I have set up my camera to avoid the possibility of chroma noise?" Anything else is applying Band-Aids to a situation that could have been avoided much earlier."

Dave raises a great point here. I specialize in post, so I never have the luxury of shooting it right in the first place and thus have become quite adept at applying Band-Aids.

Bob, what are your camera's ISO and gain settings? Which gamma curve on the FS700 are you using (important as this apparently changes the effective ISO, and important as this defines whether you will have more shadow or highlight detail)? Have you experimenting with different settings to see which gives you the cleanest results?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bob PrichardRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 6, 2013 at 3:02:09 am

Walter,

I have the camera set to ISO 500, which is the base ISO, and the gain set to 0db. The gamma is ITU709.

I wonder if the gain toggle switch on the side got bumped up to High, which is +18db while I was shooting?

Are the camera settings recorded with the footage, and if they are, how do we access them?


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Walter SoykaRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 5:44:16 pm

See the Building a Good Noise Profile tutorial:
http://www.neatvideo.com/tutorial-Neat-Video-Building-Good-Noise-Profile.ht...

You may choose to isolate the sky via keying or masking to restrict the noise reduction to that area.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bob PrichardRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 5:57:16 pm

Thanks, Walter.

Very helpful reply.


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 6:34:40 pm

Neat video is a cool plugin, but sometimes I find the result to be too smooth making the image look "photo-shopped". I used AE's own Reduce Grain plugin with good results. I guess the trick is not to eliminate the noise completely but to reduce the intensity. It may help using one layer with any noise reduction plugin set for the smoothest output you can get and then a second with the saturation reduced and Levels applied to it to crush whites and blacks a bit. Then you can play with the opacity of the layer on top (reduced noise one).

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Bob PrichardRe: Reducing color noise with Neat Video in After Effects
by on Apr 3, 2013 at 7:09:48 pm

Thanks, Ted. Great suggestions. We try these.


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