Revisiting Noise Reduction Part 2 – Digging Into Neat Video 5

January 24, 2020

Neat Video 5.1 is a powerful complement to DaVinci Resolve Studio's native noise reduction toolset. Get a close-uo look at Neat's workflow.

Day 24: 24 Insights In 24 Days – 2020 New Year Marathon!

Revisiting Noise Reduction Part 2 – Looking at the Basic and Advanced Workflows of Neat Video 5.1

Neat Video is one of my favorite third-party OFX plugins and it remains incredibly popular for good reason – it’s (relatively) fast and very good at what it does!

A little over four years ago, Robbie did a fantastic insight on Neat Video version 4.1 but I thought it was worth revisiting as Neat Video (recently updated to version 5.1) has come a long way, both in terms of performance and noise reduction quality. It’s a great opportunity to see what’s changed, what’s improved and I use how the newest version fits within my noise reduction workflow.

Similar to the previous insights on Neat Video, this is not meant to be a step-by-step ‘how-to’ on Neat, but rather it’s intended to give you an overview of the options and features available within this powerful tool.

New Options and Improvements:

Similar to their previous updates, The Neat Video development team has added a ton of new features, support for new hardware and new software, plus a wide assortment of under-the-hood optimization and performance improvements. I mention a few standouts in the insight video and below, but here’s their entire list of changes.

    1. Significantly improved performance (up to 3x), especially with single GPU systems.
    2. More intuitive UI with 9-frame interactive playback.
    3. Several “Assist” modes to aid in building an accurate noise profile.
    4. Flicker reduction
    5. New Resolve version that’s more affordable than the traditional OFX version

Neat Video has always had the incredible ability to make even the most offensive video noise disappear within a few clicks, and the latest version only adds to that legacy.

Worth the Upgrade or Purchase?

If you use Neat Video already, I highly recommend the upgrade to version 5 – you get better performance, more control, and something I didn’t really highlight in the video, better quality noise reduction.

Neat Video offers several affordable upgrade options. Depending on which host application you use, the upgrade prices range from $50 to $150.

If you don’t already own Neat Video, the price of admission ranges from $75 to $250, with a nice bundle discount if you purchase the plug-in for use inside multiple host applications.

Comparing Neat to Resolve Studio’s Noise Reduction:

While both the performance and quality of the native noise reduction tools in Resolve Studio are quite good, I regularly run into problems that I can’t solve with them and I often find myself reaching for something with more control and features than the native noise reduction tools. Neat fits that need perfectly.

From a workflow perspective, I love having a variety of specialized tools!  While I usually try the built-in Resolve noise reduction tools first on subtle NR tasks, I’ll definitely be utilizing Neat Video more often, especially with this version’s significant performance improvement.

Wrapping It Up

I think even if you own DaVinci Resolve Studio (or another application that supports native video noise reduction such as FCPX),  Neat Video Version 5.1 is still a great investment and a powerful tool that continues to surprise me every time I use it.

Footage courtesy of Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop


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Homepage Forums Revisiting Noise Reduction Part 2 – Digging Into Neat Video 5

  • Verne Mattson

    Excellent overview! Thanks!

  • Scott Stacy

    Great overview, Jason! I love Neat Video and have been using it for around 6 years. I learned some nice new tips from this Insight, as I have have not had any time to dig deep in 5.1’s much improved performance and features. Thanks!

  • Jason Bowdach

    Happy to hear! They added some awesome new features that I wasn’t fully aware of until I dug pretty deep.

  • Leon

    Thanks for the insight Jason. I have version 3.6.1 and have been considering an upgrade. I would like to see a noise reduction tutorial like the one you gave at NAB 2019. Is that possible? Regards.

  • Jason Bowdach

    Sure, can you remind me from where? The FSIML Booth or a Post Production World Class? Any hints can help me dig up those notes to see if there is anything unique in there.

  • Leon

    Hey Jason. It was at the FSI/ML booth, I think you might have said that you add a blur to the luminance channel.

  • Gabriel M

    Hello Jason, great overview. Now I’m curious; In the workflow, when is it recommended to use any type of noise reduction? Is there any difference doing it before grading, like in LOG for example? Thanks!

  • Jason Bowdach

    Ah yes, Thanks for the reminder. Basically, our vision system is FAR more sensitive to luma (black &white) than chroma (color), so you can blur chroma channels for NR a touch without much reduction in sharpness to the final image while reducing noise in the color channels. You can switch the colorspace to either YUV or LAB, disable channel 1 (so it does not touch luma), go to the blur tab, and drag it up a touch. Hope that helps!

  • Jason Bowdach

    Awesome question and one I’ve gone back and forth on. I used to apply noise reduction on the first node and apply node caching, but I’ve since changed my workflow (and fixed node structures) to move noise reduction towards the end of the chain. I feel this not only provides a smoother workflow, but also gives better quality noise reduction as it handles the noise brought on by the grade.

    Be sure to check out the most recent fixed node insights from Pat and Joey, as they both discuss this topic. Hope that helps!

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