How PROs Composite film-grain in Davinci

The signature look of any film reel is its dynamic range and grains. Now we can imitate the same on digitally shot videos. While the dynamic range depends on the camera being used, film grains on the other hand can be added in post.

The next frontier came and gone, with the digital revolution came digital cameras which made filmmaking and photography accessible and user-friendly to millions. But with it came the epidemic of super clean refined digital videos, which snatches away the nostalgic high-range charm of a film reel.

The signature look of any film reel is its dynamic range and grains. Now we can imitate the same on digitally shot videos. While the dynamic range depends on the camera being used, film grains on the other hand can be added in post.
Film grains bring back the nostalgic charm and act as a medium to bind all the different videos in a single film.

Now usually, what people do is just overlay the grain layer on top of their footage and get done with it. But in reality, what happens is, any film shot on a 16mm or 35mm film camera then you will observe that the film grain only appears in the dark areas of an image.

So today we’re going to learn how to actually composite film grains on digitally shot footage inside Davinci Resolve, using our 16mm Pro 4K film overlays.

Steps

  1. Add film grain overlay to the media pool as a matte.
  2. Create four parallel nodes and create outside nodes from each of the last three of these new nodes.
  3. Change Parallel mixer node to Layer mixer node.
  4. Add an external matte holding film grain to the outside node and connect the former’s output to the latter’s input. Feed the value of the last three parallel nodes to the outside nodes and make sure to invert the outside nodes.
  5. Go to layer mixer and set the blending mode to Hardlight or Overlay.
  6. Rename those last three parallel nodes as Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights and assign different luminance ranges to them accordingly from the Qualifier tab.
  7. By now, the film grain composite begins to show its effect. Adjust the grain output from the Key tab accordingly.
  8. Consider grouping all these extra nodes and mixer into a compound node.
  9. Apply LUT to sell the effect.

You can follow the link to the tutorial below anyways to have a better understanding.

Play Video

Feel free to download an play around with the 16mm Sample Stills we’ve provided. You can download the zip file containing the stills here:

Verdict

Since working with a film camera might not be feasible for everyone, film grains provide a great aesthetic alternative for your project. This is why we provide premium 16mm High-Quality Film Grains and Textures scanned in 4K along with custom-made LUTs so that you can emulate the film look on your digital footage at your ease.

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