Mixing Light Color Correction Podcast Series

Edge Sharpening & The Proper Denoising Workflow

December 13, 2015

In this installment of From The Mailbag we discuss how to isolate and sharpen edge details, and discuss a proper video noise reduction workflow

Day 13: 25 Insights in 25 Days Holiday Marathon

Episode 28: From The Mailbag

Restoring Edge Detail On Archival/Old Footage & Denoise Before Or After A Grade?

We’re just over halfway through the 2015 Holiday Insights Marathon and for your Sunday listening enjoyment, we have another installment of ‘From The Mailbag’.

After you’ve enjoyed checking out all the links in this week’s Tao Of Color’s Colorist Newslettertake a listen to our take on two great questions from members Tony & Joris who ask about edge/detail sharpening and what we think a proper denoising workflow should be.

Remember, if you have questions that you’d like to get an opinion on please use the contact form.

Your questions can be aesthetic, technical or even client related. We’d love to hear from you, and your question might make future episodes of From The MailBag.

Edge Sharpening To Restore Detail?

In our first question, member Tony asks:

I have some horrible old 8 mm film footage transferred digitally as best as can be done at a transfer company. (Well, in truth, they could have done better, but that’s another story.) Using Resolve 12 Studio, I can make a reasonable job of making it look better – even though it is still really rubbish.

However, at the back of my mind – remembering my earlier (largely forgotten out-of-practice) experiences with Photoshop – there are methods of getting high-frequency/low-frequency details (can’t remember which) where one can isolate outlines and sharpen just those.

Tony goes on to say he’s comfortable with pulling keys, blending modes, etc.

This is a great question!  Sometimes old footage is just that – old footage and there is only so much you can do unless you’re willing to go into a dedicated film restoration application like Revival.

With that said, we have some pretty good ideas including OFX plugins, mid-tone detail adjustments & image segmentation keys that can help Tony isolate edges and areas of details so that he can enhance them.

What’s The Proper Denoising Workflow?

Up next, we got a question from MixingLight member Joris who asks:

When do you de-noise footage if you’re working with ProRes Flat BMD Film directly in FCP X and using NeatVideo de-noiser? . My question is do you denoise directly on the flat footage, or is it better to get the luminance right first, and then denoise, or should I do it at the end, after grading and FX, etc?

I haven’t found clear articles about this subject anywhere and I do realize it depends on the footage… Thanks. I can’t use Resolve denoiser because I’m on Lite (Resolve).

First our apologies to Joris!  This question had actually been sitting in our MailBag inbox for quite some time, but slipped through the cracks!  Sorry about that!

This was an interesting discussion – both Pat & Dan tend to denoise at the start of the grade while Robbie does denoising in the middle or at the end of a grade. We talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each way and like a lot of things in color grading confirm it sort of depends on the footage and on the project!

As always, enjoy the MailBag and please use the comments below if you have more to add to the conversation or have other questions. 

-Team Mixing Light

Episode Notes

In Part 1 of this MailBag we reference an Insight that Dan did expanding upon a Lift Gamma Gain thread on selecting edge detail.  This technique can be used to sharpen instead of soften as is shown in the Insight.

In Part 2 we referenced several times the popular Neat Video noise reduction plug-in.  You can find the plug-in available for many different hosts at www.neatvideo.com

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