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Your thoughts on Film Grain for older movies

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Your thoughts on Film Grain for older movies

Old 02-09-03, 04:05 PM
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Your thoughts on Film Grain for older movies

I think that unless the director wanted it in his or her picture, the studios should get rid of it on their fully restored dvd. I mean, look at Citizen Kane, Singin in the Rain, ect. I just find it too distracting and thats why sometimes its harder to watch some movies on tcm. But scratches and pops are my biggest concern. Those are the first thing that should be gotten rid of.
Old 02-09-03, 04:37 PM
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I don't think anyone WANTS grain in the picture. The next SMPTE meeting in hollywood is going to focus on this issue.
AN EXAMINATION OF THE DIGITAL RESTORATION OF
Our next evening meeting should prove to be one of the most interesting (and
entertaining) that we have had in a long time.
Members of the Warner Bros. team that accomplished the recent work on the
1952 MGM musical "Singin’ in the Rain", recently released on DVD and
theatrically, will describe how it was done.
There will be before and after examples, presented with both film and digital
if anyone's interested and in Los angeles, I could bring a guest.


Though I whole heartly agree that as much restoration should be done to preserve the film. those pops show us it's age and remind us that it is an old film, but they could sometimes be a distraction. Not to mention grain might make things that should be in the shot seem blurred out.
Old 02-09-03, 05:02 PM
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My thought is that an older movie shouldn't have any more grain than any new movie shot on film. Unless it was intended that way of course.
Isn't that what restoration is all about? Making the old look new again?
Old 02-09-03, 06:39 PM
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Re: Your thoughts on Film Grain for older movies

Originally posted by Rypro 525
I think that unless the director wanted it in his or her picture, the studios should get rid of it on their fully restored dvd. I mean, look at Citizen Kane, Singin in the Rain, ect.
Of course, Warner Bros. cleaned "Citizen Kane" up to the point that picture detail was accidentally removed as well (rain, specifically).

Originally posted by Jackskeleton
I don't think anyone WANTS grain in the picture.
Yeah? Tell that to Janusz Kaminski or any number of other cinematographers who understand that the use of film grain is a legitimate artistic choice. Sometimes pictures shouldn't be all smooth and pretty.
Old 02-09-03, 07:13 PM
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Unless it is something that is shot for, it is better to do that in Post Production then it is to just shoot on crappy film hoping to get grain in the picture. it's more of a digital effect then something that folks want in older films.

Now if you want to make your film look old, or distorted thats something different, but since we were talking about old films and remastering them.. I stand by the " I don't think anyone wants grain in the picture"
Old 02-10-03, 09:25 AM
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Originally posted by Jackskeleton
I stand by the " I don't think anyone wants grain in the picture"
You might want to read this. http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articl...ris122002.html
Old 02-10-03, 10:30 AM
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I agree that if it's possible to restore it, they should, but remember that often the real problem is that too many films are not properly preserved.
Old 02-10-03, 02:50 PM
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Grain is another tool that skilled directors and cinematographers use. I can cite countless films, including those of reknowned filmmakers like Soderbergh, Kubrick and Haynes which consciously are designed to look grainy and used film processing and stock selections to acheive that goal.

The dogma of Hi-Def that 'everything should be smooth and nice and polished' is a constricting aesthetic that I hope daring filmmakers don't buy into, no matter what the studio pressure.
Old 02-10-03, 03:31 PM
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Everyone should be forced into shooting on super 8.. then Filmlook and Cinelook will go out of business.
Old 02-10-03, 04:22 PM
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It is important to distinguish between blemishes that have developed with age and grain which is inherent in film.

Nicks, pops, scratches, duplicating errors, etc. were not there originally, but have developed over time

Grain is the emulsion of the film. Some stocks, from some periods, show more grain than others. This grain has been there and been visible since the day it was photograped. It is an inherent part of the film.

I think restorations should clean up the nicks and scratches but preserve the grain.
Isn't that what restoration is all about? Making the old look new again?
No. Most restorationists feel it's about making the old look like it did on the day of its original release. Not like it was photographed yesterday.
Old 02-10-03, 05:13 PM
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I like my older movies with grain,like Clint Eastwoods old westerns,I couldnt see it looking like it was shot yesterday,it just gives you that feeling like it was shot during the old west days.

Same with DTS,I wouldnt want The Good,Bad & The Ugly to have DTS when it was never intended to sound like that.
Old 02-10-03, 06:14 PM
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Removing the grain from old films that already had grain in the picture to begin with should be released just like they were, warts and all. They are a product of their time and should be preserved that way. This is just as bad as "updating" the original movies with new scenes and SPFX like George Lucas has stupidly done with the Star Wars movies.
Old 02-11-03, 02:28 AM
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I stand by the " I don't think anyone wants grain in the picture"
Then I suspect you would be at odds with the majority of feature filmmakers. Grain is inherent in film acquisition (and it should be noted that grain and all, 35mm cinema film resolution far exceeds the best digital video acquisition). The grain is the image. I suspect you mean distracting grain, though that is subjective.


Unless it is something that is shot for, it is better to do that in Post Production then it is to just shoot on crappy film hoping to get grain in the picture.
That seems a bit contrarian. Since grain is antithetical to digital, why use digital to create what is inherent in film. There are many techniques to utilize or exercerbate film grain during acquisition or processing. I can't imagine a need to add film grain to film grain digitally, nor am I aware of such use or added expense.

Additionally, grain is not necessarily the result of crappy film stock. In fact some of the most remarkable stocks are comparatively grainier than others and serve many purposes both aesthetically and practically. But where distracting grain is apparent in modern movies it is often not at all a result of film stocks but related to exposure and processing.


it's more of a digital effect then something that folks want in older films.
Grain is a digital effect? No, grain is the organic structure of film emulsion. You may digitally simulate it, but that is not real film grain.

As for attempting to clean up the appropriate grain from older films, I personally have a hard time differentiating between that concept and matting them to a "cooler" wider aspect ratio as well.

Last edited by reverb; 02-11-03 at 02:31 AM.
Old 02-11-03, 03:51 AM
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Good post, Reverb. I think many people are confused about what grain is.

Scratches, pops, blobs and other film defects should be cleaned up if possible, although they usually don't bother me if they aren't too bad.
Old 02-11-03, 04:13 AM
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Before Hollywood starts getting rid of the grain in old movies, how about the grain in the last twoSpielberg movies? Also, I think the camera used for the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan was broken -- there are these streaks of light that head up to the top of the picture. Perhaps those could be digitally fixed? Also, the picture doesn't seem to be projecting frames at the right speed. Perhaps the missing frames could be digitally interpolated?

</sarcasm>

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