[Tig] Noise Reduction: where in pipeline?

Sean McKee sean at screentimeimages.com
Thu Jun 9 04:46:07 BST 2011


True enough on the DSLRs, and even other higher end single chip cameras as well. Then you also get in to the quality of the debayering, for which we have written our own algorithms that we show provide more detail and better color recreation than even the tools provided by the camera manufacturers. We've been using it in-house , but the algorithm is available for licensing. We can make it a plugin for anything and use GPUs for real-time 4K processing. But debayering is a whole other topic. The A.R.T. system will handle anything. Here's a quote from James Mathers, President of the Digital Cinema Society...

Noise is the enemy of quality digital imagery, and .360 Digital Film Lab's new Advanced Restoration Tools, known as the "A.R.T." system, is very effective in the fight against noise.  When I first got a hold my RED camera I went to see how far I could push it in practical shooting situations.  I shot some available-light night exteriors that would have been quite beautiful except that with the original RED sensor, they ended up being pretty badly underexposed and very noisy.  
     .360 and their A.R.T. system came to the rescue and virtually eliminated the noise, returning the sky to a rich black without disturbing the overall nature of the shot.  If latitude can be described as the range between clipping on the high side, and the acceptable noise floor on the bottom, it can be said that this system expands latitude.  A.R.T allows you to stretch the underexposure you can get away with and still maintain quality results.
###

James Mathers, Cinematographer and President of the Digital Cinema Society

Best,

Sean McKee
Director
Restoration & New Technology
Point.360 Digital Film Labs
2777 Ontario Street
Burbank, CA 91504
818-569-4949

On Jun 8, 2011, at 8:26 PM, Tom Rovak wrote:

> Sounds like a great set up. I will look you up the next time out there, I would love to see your DI theater.
> Actually in todays world when any kind of scanning is in the process, separating that duty is fine with me. I have not scanned any film for a few years now and don’t miss it. All of my film originated jobs get scanned out of house. All I get is a drive. The scans are flat, and grain is not that big of an issue until I push it in every direction possible, that’s when a good software noise/grain reducer is needed. So to answer Rob’s question, I add NR during the color process, on a scene to scene basis. I am also finding that handling inherent noise from DSLR, is a bit different than film grain. Film grain seems tame compared to some DSLR noise I have seen. And you are right Sean it takes subtlety to get that reduced without going to far, to fast.
>  
> Best
> Tom
> I wasn't sure that was you Sean. The address threw me. Doing martial arts since I was 13 I learnd to defend myself aggressivly when attacked.
> I am not at liberty because I have an agreement with a manufacturer not to disclose anything about their new software until release. Sorry for the mystery. As I said I will talk about it more later. And I also agree grain and noise should be taken care of by an expert. I have been doing that as part of my job for over 25 years.
> Best
> Tom
> Tom Rovak – Sr. DI Colorist
> Commercials, Feature Films, Music Videos
> 
> Foundation Content - Chicago/Los Angeles
> 200 East Ohio Street
> Suite 200
> Chicago IL 60611
> (312)951-8734 Office
> (815)690-8323 Cell
> tomrovak at foundationcontent.com
> trovak at comcast.net
> Commercial Reels: www.youtube.com/user/tomrovak
> www.foundationcontent.com/talent/tom-rovak
> IMDB credits: www.imdb.com/name/nm1652946/
>  
> From: Sean McKee
> Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2011 9:59 PM
> To: trovak at comcast.net
> Cc: Craig Leffel ; tig
> Subject: Re: [Tig] Noise Reduction: where in pipeline?
>  
> I've no doubt you're an expert. Many colorists are. Out here in Cali, where there is a lot of restoration going on, there is more of a separation of duties, where the colorists color, and the image processing guys do their thing. I mean, our building is kind of the mecca of restoration and image processing, with all the restoration work that we do, and Reliance Mediaworks (formerly Lowry Digital) upstairs. And we're both using proprietary software that each facility develops in house. So now you see where my point of view is coming from. And yes, our grain/noise specialist was a colorist...
> 
> Sent from my iPad 2
> 
> On Jun 8, 2011, at 7:26 PM, trovak at comcast.net wrote:
> 
>> I wasn't sure that was you Sean. The address threw me. Doing martial arts since I was 13 I learnd to defend myself aggressivly when attacked.
>> I am not at liberty because I have an agreement with a manufacturer not to disclose anything about their new software until release. Sorry for the mystery. As I said I will talk about it more later.
>> And I also agree grain and noise should be taken care of by an expert. I have been doing that as part of my job for over 25 years.
>>  
>> Best
>> Tom
>> Tom Rovak – Sr. DI Colorist
>> Commercials, Feature Films, Music Videos
>> 
>> Foundation Content - Chicago/Los Angeles
>> 200 East Ohio Street
>> Suite 200
>> Chicago IL 60611
>> (312)951-8734 Office
>> (815)690-8323 Cell
>> tomrovak at foundationcontent.com
>> trovak at comcast.net
>> Commercial Reels: www.youtube.com/user/tomrovak
>> www.foundationcontent.com/talent/tom-rovak
>> IMDB credits: www.imdb.com/name/nm1652946/
>> 
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Sean McKee" <sean at screentimeimages.com>
>> To: "Tom Rovak" <trovak at comcast.net>
>> Cc: "Craig Leffel" <craig at optimus.com>, "<tig at colorist.org>" <tig at colorist.org>
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 9:25:55 PM
>> Subject: Re: [Tig] Noise Reduction: where in pipeline?
>> 
>> Kudos to you on the rates, which always was the upside of the Chicago ad agency/post business. Its so saturated in California, its tough to get those rates, even in a DI theater working at 4K with Dolby 3D and the worlds largest da-lite Affinty non-perf color reference grade screen at 23x13 feet, with a sound system installed and maintained by THX, that was designed to do the digital cinema mastering for the Star Wars prequels.
>> 
>> Sent from my iPad 2
>> 
>> On Jun 8, 2011, at 7:12 PM, "Tom Rovak" <trovak at comcast.net> wrote:
>> 
>> > By the way Sean, I charge thousands of dollars per hour, not hundreds, and my biggest problem is I don't have enough hours in the week to do it all. I would refer some clients to you, but if you don't "impose" on your clients the way I bully mine, they won't want to work there.
>> > 
>> > Best
>> > Tom
>> > Tom Rovak – Sr. DI Colorist
>> > Commercials, Feature Films, Music Videos
>> > 
>> > Foundation Content - Chicago/Los Angeles
>> > 200 East Ohio Street
>> > Suite 200
>> > Chicago IL 60611
>> > (312)951-8734 Office
>> > (815)690-8323 Cell
>> > tomrovak at foundationcontent.com
>> > trovak at comcast.net
>> > 
>> > Commercial Reels: www.youtube.com/user/tomrovak
>> >                           www.foundationcontent.com/talent/tom-rovak
>> > IMDB credits: www.imdb.com/name/nm1652946/
>> > 
>> > -----Original Message----- From: Craig Leffel
>> > Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2011 9:03 PM
>> > To: Tom Rovak
>> > Cc: Sean McKee ; tig at colorist.org
>> > Subject: Re: [Tig] Noise Reduction: where in pipeline?
>> > 
>> > Yeah Tom,
>> > Same Sean your thinking of.
>> > Oh yeah, I heard him. We're always the ones trying to get away with something like - charge our clients hundreds of dollars per hour for a cheap plugin....
>> > 
>> > Yep. Sounds just like us. He remembers, he was right here... In the Western Suburbs, right where all the business is.
>> > 
>> > How's things at Pointe 360 Sean?
>> > I hear they're doing well. They bought some friends of mine at EdenFx awhile ago...
>> > 
>> > Best.
>> > 
>> > Craig Leffel
>> > 
>> > Senior Colorist
>> > Optimus
>> > Chicago
>> > 
>> > <<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>> > This has been a Mobile Transmission
>> > <<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>> > 
>> > On Jun 8, 2011, at 8:46 PM, "Tom Rovak" <trovak at comcast.net> wrote:
>> > 
>> >> Sohonet http://www.sohonet.co.uk sponsors the TIG.
>> >> Support from Nucoda www.imagesystems.tv
>> >> The TIG thanks Michael Wilsker for support.
>> >> ====
>> >> 
>> >> Sean,
>> >> 
>> >> I don’t use plug ins or FCP. I don’t know you, you don’t know me, but you seem to have an unrealistic idea of what I do, who my boss is or who my clients are. I can also assume some pretty stupid things about you, but I will hold back. One question. Are you the Sean McKee that used to be in Schaumburg IL?
>> >> Also, since when hasn’t a colorist been a grain or noise specialist? Are the rest of you out there hearing this guy?
>> >> Tom
>> >> Tom Rovak – Sr. DI Colorist
>> >> Commercials, Feature Films, Music Videos
>> >> 
>> >> 
>> >> Foundation Content - Chicago/Los Angeles
>> >> 200 East Ohio Street
>> >> Suite 200
>> >> Chicago IL 60611
>> >> (312)951-8734 Office
>> >> (815)690-8323 Cell
>> >> tomrovak at foundationcontent.com
>> >> trovak at comcast.net
>> >> 
>> >> Commercial Reels: www.youtube.com/user/tomrovak
>> >> www.foundationcontent.com/talent/tom-rovak
>> >> IMDB credits: www.imdb.com/name/nm1652946/
>> >> From: Sean McKee
>> >> Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2011 7:08 PM
>> >> To: trovak at comcast.net
>> >> Cc: Rob Lingelbach ; mailto:tig at colorist.org
>> >> Subject: Re: [Tig] Noise Reduction: where in pipeline?
>> >> 
>> >> If you're not at liberty, you must be using one of those neat little $100 FCP NR plugins that are pretty darn good in the right hands, but your boss won't let you tell clients what it is, because then you can't justify the hundreds of dollars per hour you're charging... :o)
>> >> 
>> >> Anyhow, at Point.360 Digital Film Labs (formerly IVC), I led development on a new grain system we call A.R.T. (Advanced Restoration Tools). It was written as a spark (plugin) for Autodesk systems. We do a lot of restoration and image processing here, and have found that grain reduction IS an art and unique discipline to get the look the clients want, and we have a specialized guy with 20 years experience doing just that. So I agree with Tom that it is a creative tool. Having spoke with ARRI with regards to Relativity, they had resistance getting potential customers to buy in to the fact that the facility should have a dedicated grain artist. We have just that, and I personally feel that it takes a long time to develop the eyes to know exactly what algorithms are doing to the image, in it's most subtle form, and that this should be left to somebody specialized. We don't have the colorists or VFX guys do grain/noise at all, it is done by our specialist.
>> >> 
>> >> In direct response to the original post, we work several different ways, but as of late, scan 4K log, color, then process grain, then a color trim pass (since removing grain from a dark scene can make it 'seem' darker, although that level of black was always there under the high frequency noise if you compare on a scope). This is due to how the A.R.T. system works, which takes in to account to color of the scene. It also let's us apply settings per object in the scene, using object segmentation. It's really an amazing set of algorithms, besides grain and video noise from digital cinema cameras, I used the system to fix a clip for the WGN superstation in Chicago. They wanted to show a Christmas clip from a 1977 Bozo the clown show, and didn't have the master. They found a viewer with a VHS copy, recorded off TV    which was broadcast from 1 inch. It had all kinds of problems, noise, rolling lines, etc. Our system can be 'told' what it should remove, so it was amazingly effective at removing the rolling lines and dropouts, something that other systems can't do. An interview I did with WGN which shows some clips can be seen here:
>> >> 
>> >> 
>> >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yksfQDHC5QY
>> >> 
>> >> 
>> >> While Dean Richards, the interviewer, made a few mistakes (like we did not remove grain on Planet of the Apes or Von Ryan's Express - those were just dirt and color restorations), you can see the Bozo clip and a Tupac concert shot on S16, although a lot gets lost in the web compression. We have used this system on the restoration of 'Predator', AC/DC's 'Let There Be Rock' and many others. We are now trying to introduce the system to DPs for new titles. It was designed in response to clients' desire to eliminate the artifacts created by other 'black box' systems or proprietary tools by other facilities that severely damage the image when pushed to hard (and surprisingly, those facilities leave those artifacts in, huh?) The system can remove up to 100% of grain or noise without smearing, trails, temporal lag, etc. Although we do not impose an 'in-house look' to our projects, we encourage the clients to help establish the look they are seeking. This can only be done by working with an expert in the art of grain. Let the colorists focus on their art of painting with light.
>> >> 
>> >> Thanks,
>> >> 
>> >> Sean McKee
>> >> Director
>> >> Restoration & New Technology
>> >> Point.360 Digital Film Labs
>> >> 2777 Ontario Street
>> >> Burbank, CA 91504
>> >> 818-569-4949
>> >> 
>> >> On Jun 8, 2011, at 7:19 AM, trovak at comcast.net wrote:
>> >> 
>> >> 
>> >> Sohonet http://www.sohonet.co.uk sponsors the TIG.
>> >> Support from Nucoda www.imagesystems.tv
>> >> The TIG thanks Michael Wilsker for support.
>> >> ====
>> >> 
>> >> If your scanning and really need grain reduction, there are some great hardware based grain reducers still out there. But if it's software based, I think you use it when and where needed. Usually during correction. At this point I am not at liberty to talk more about what I am using, but as soon as I can I think it will certainly change a lot of minds and attitudes about noise/grain reduction. There has always been the theory that it is a fix not a creative tool.
>> >> More later.
>> >> 
>> >> Tom
>> >> ----- Original Message -----  From: "Rob Lingelbach" <rob at colorist.org>
>> >> To: "tig at colorist.org Group" <tig at colorist.org>
>> >> Sent: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 6:11:38 PM
>> >> Subject: [Tig] Noise Reduction: where in pipeline?
>> >> 
>> >> Sohonet http://www.sohonet.co.uk sponsors the TIG.
>> >> Support from Nucoda www.imagesystems.tv
>> >> ====
>> >> 
>> >> I'd like to know where in their image processing pipeline colorists are running noise reduction, and the reasoning behind this choice. My own understanding is that it's best to have NR apply before the grading, for various reasons.
>> >> 
>> >> Rob
>> >> 
>> >> --  Rob Lingelbach Colorist, Dolby Laboratories
>> >> rob at colorist.org http://rob.colorist.org
>> >> 
>> >> _______________________________________________
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>> >> _______________________________________________
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>> >> http://tig.colorist.org/wiki3
>> >> 
>> >> _______________________________________________
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>> >> http://tig.colorist.org/wiki3 
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>> > 



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