Sign In

Denoise, Regrain And CC of ESB Grindhouse

Replies
118
Author
Time

5 months ago the day after Christmas ‘16, I released a single pass regrade of the Grindhouse that for me, greatly increased the enjoyability of the film. But the washed out stars and the green snow kept knagging at me like a fly. I kept thinking “How hard would it be to learn Adobe Premiere and do some shot by shot corrections?” I purchased a subscription to Adobe cloud and started tinkering with it. I learned how to make cuts and apply individual LUTS.

After fighting with doing some correction by hand, I got to thinking more and more about Dr. Dre’s color tool, so I finally got up the courage to ask him for a copy, and then went and watched Williarob’s tutorial on how to use it. Around this point, Williarob sent me the Prores files for the Grindhouse project so that I can make adjustments reel by reel and work from the original source. In order to use Dr. Dre’s tool, I needed to match frames of the Grindhouse reels to identical frames from another source. I had two sources to work from, Adywan’s 1080p 1997 SE version, and Harmy’s version. I specifically looked for places where both Harmy’s and Adywan’s were as close as possible for the first pass “reel” correction of each reel. As an example, the shot I chose for Reel1 was this one:


Just as an example of a late minute change, my coworker convinced me there was too much green in sections and this shot was one that got the benefit of the last minute change.

As you may know, I was originally drawn to this project because the Grindhouse had “white snow”. I didn’t want to do a color match anywhere near those snow shots. The Han/Rebel Soldiers shot seemed like a good candidate because both versions were similar and there was a lot of blue in the background of those shots. What came out to me, was quite striking and beautiful as well. Luke still has naturalish skin tones in the cave, but the snow/ice goes from light blue to deep blue in a natural and chilling way. I’m officially a convert… and I really believe that the snow color in this edition is fairly close to the original look.

After I had a reel by reel correction I noticed there were always these “cuts” that completely shifted in color. The more and more I discussed this project with Rogue1, the more I learned and discovered that the Grindhouse doesn’t come from a single contiguous print, but from at 3 prints intercut together. So I spent the next several weeks… almost completely by eye, adjusting the reels, making the shots smaller and smaller as time went by.

I threw the reels together and exported the first version of the recolored film. For the life of me, I could not get the audio to export. I must of tried 5 times before it finally dawned on me to ask… “Williarob does the Prores files have the audio in them.”

“No. Maybe you should just GOUT sync it.”

He sent me a tutorial that involved some other software and LOT of frame counting, but then it dawned on me… Isn’t Harmy’s GOUT synced? I threw Despecialized into the project and then started moving the reels around to match his frames. That immediately got me 95% GOUT synced… the last 5% was just a few shots here and there in the middle of the reels where the Grindhouse was missing a frame or two. I left some black frames at the reel changes… it leaves the project with an organic “film” feeling but honestly, those reel changes are well thought out scene changes. When there were missyncs in the middle of the reels I actually did duplicate a few frames and in Reel6, the Grindhouse actually had an extra frame that Despecialized did not. So, to the best of my ability this project is GOUT synced.

Somewhere along in this process, someone spotted that the LUT I had used for Reel1 and 2 created quite a bit of blue “noise”. I firmly believe this is due to “film grain/noise” of the reels aging differently. Williarob showed me some samples of what Neatvideo denoiser can do and suddenly I got VERY excited. It has options for cleaning specs and dirt as well as smoothing and denoising the image. Promising my wife I would starve for the next month I purchased a license of the plugin and put it to work.

Unfortunately the dirt busting part of it completely destroys lightsaber flashes, laser bolts and occasionally super fast movement on the screen. So in order to make this work for the project, I had to run the plugin TWICE, once for a version of the film cleaned, and one simply denoised. On top of this I found that some parts had to be denoised separately to look well and to THIS DAY I still kept finding colors to adjust. The final project has 8 video layers stacked on top of each other, and places (entire scenes) where there is lots of saber action or blaster fire, you can see that the specles and dirt comes back… once the Empire brings “peace” though, it gets pretty clean again.

The very top layer in my project is film grain. I found a nice “dirty” 35mm film grain online and learned how to “blend” it as an overlay. It turned out to be too dirty though, so I exported the grain as a TIFF folder and went through frame by frame and cleaned the scratches out in GIMP. I imported the newly cleaned 5 seconds of grain and then duplicated it to create 30 minute swaths. Most of the film has this layer at around 73% opacity, but there is one 30 minute area where it’s not applied. See if you can figure out where that is! 😃

This project was about learning something new, about working with a movie that was the first movie I ever saw at a movie theater, and about putting my money and time where my mouth is. It will always haunt me a bit that my first discussion with Harmy was me arguing with him about snow color. Now I can be on the other end of the stick, as a user of this forum I asked to preview this release said, “It’s of noticeably lesser quality than the Grindhouse and it has a yellow tint and lots of blown whites.” 😃 Perhaps so, but I’ll always be thankful for the experience, and thankful that Williarob kept encouraging me forward throughout the process, and hopefully, it’s good enough for you guys to enjoy until something even better comes along in the hopefully not too distant future.

Here is an early example video when I was using the demo version of the denoiser. You can see the serious difference between the outside portion not being denoised and the inside portion!
https://vimeo.com/209815129
Password: ThisIsNeat!

May the 4th be with you!

This post has been edited.

Author
Time

That sounds like a ton of work, very impressed. And thanks for sharing it, i am looking forward to checking it out!

Author
Time

I just got home from work and watched the example on my TV. HOLY CRAP! That’s a huge difference, and even more impressive that the Grindhouse can get so clean! I’m stoked for this release.

Author
Time

VERY nice Dreamaster…Most Impressive!

Author
Time

Looks great, nice work! I’m looking forward to it.

Author
Time

Oh my God, I’ve been dying for someone to take on exactly this project for ages, and now not only is someone doing it, but I only have to wait a couple days for it?! It’s a May the 4th miracle! I seriously can’t wait, your single-pass Grindhouse was already one of my absolute favorites. Denoised, I’m almost certain this’ll be my main ESB.

This post has been edited.

Author
Time

Dreamaster - the clip you posted looks really great, with miraculous denoising.

I am curious about this stage in the process: “The very top layer in my project is film grain. I found a nice “dirty” 35mm film grain online and learned how to “blend” it as an overlay.”

What is the advantage in applying this extra layer which wasn’t present in the actual scans? i.e. Why not denoise / remove scratches / colour correct only?

Bluto

Author
Time

Is this going to be a BD-50 situation since you started with the lossless version this time?

Author
Time

This looks really cool! Would it at all inconvenience you to release a denoised and a CC only version? I just hate digital grain removal, and this corrected version looks like it would be painful to miss out on. 😄

Army of Darkness: The Medieval Deadit / The Terminator - Color Regrade
SONIC RACES THROUGH THE GREEN FIELDS.
THE SUN RACES THROUGH A BLUE SKY FILLED WITH WHITE CLOUDS.
THE WAYS OF HIS HEART ARE MUCH LIKE THE SUN. SONIC RUNS AND RESTS; THE SUN RISES AND SETS.
DON’T GIVE UP ON THE SUN. DON’T MAKE THE SUN LAUGH AT YOU.

Author
Time

I, for one, am really pleased that this project is denoised. I’m much more of a grain agnostic than a lot of the folks here, and it’s been kind of disheartening to see every single 35mm project go the same “grain purist” route. I’m happy to finally see something more in line with my own preferences.

Author
Time

^That’s why I asked if he’d be able to release both, as I’m sure most everyone else will be happy with the denoised version. Even regrained, I would enjoy a non-DNR version much more.

Army of Darkness: The Medieval Deadit / The Terminator - Color Regrade
SONIC RACES THROUGH THE GREEN FIELDS.
THE SUN RACES THROUGH A BLUE SKY FILLED WITH WHITE CLOUDS.
THE WAYS OF HIS HEART ARE MUCH LIKE THE SUN. SONIC RUNS AND RESTS; THE SUN RISES AND SETS.
DON’T GIVE UP ON THE SUN. DON’T MAKE THE SUN LAUGH AT YOU.

Author
Time

joefavs said:

I, for one, am really pleased that this project is denoised. I’m much more of a grain agnostic than a lot of the folks here, and it’s been kind of disheartening to see every single 35mm project go the same “grain purist” route. I’m happy to finally see something more in line with my own preferences.

I think the reason for the pro grain route is not so much that the people here enjoy watching a really grainy film (though I expect some do), it has more to do with simple preservation. That’s how it was in theaters. In my projects, and I think Poita feels this way too, if I can give you a nice baseline digital version of a print, looking as close as I can make it to how it looked in Theaters on the day it was released, then you all can take that and make it your own. It’s really very easy to remove grain, denoise, sharpen, modify the colors and generally make it look how you think it should look. Just drop some plugins into your favorite editor and see what they can do. However, if I do all that for you, it is so much harder to undo those changes. Ask anyone who has worked on a project here - “is it easier to add DNR or to remove it?” And you’ll understand why this is the better way to do it.

In this case of course, you already have access to the original, dirty, grainy Grindhouse Edition to play with, and I’m very pleased to see that Dreamaster was able to something great with it. If this is not to your taste, then you are welcome to create your own version too. And “I don’t know how” isn’t really an excuse anymore. There are thousands of tutorials on the interwebs explaining how to use After Effects, Premiere, AVISynth, etc. Just jump right in and see what you can do. It’s not that hard. Heck, even I can do it!

http://www.thestarwarstrilogy.com

http://www.the007dossier.com

Author
Time

Oh, I totally get it, and I agree that it’s most important to make the unadulterated versions available; I’m just psyched to see something different in the pipeline. As for your point about everyone being free to make whatever they want with these materials, I’ve been thinking about taking a crack at a denoised SSE myself, and this might have pushed me over the edge.

This post has been edited.

Author
Time

If the source material was a lot cleaner, I would be tempted to release a non DNR’d version, but as you can see from the test video the color correction really damages the grain quite a bit (in actuality it’s making an underlying issue even more visible.)

There will only be one release. I will say, I kept lowering and lowering the amount of noise reduction in order to try and maximize natural looking skin (too much DNR turns faces into wax). Originally I had the grain layer’s opacity at 90% but that too kept getting backed off as the DNR percentage went down as well. So while it’s not 100% “natural grain” I really tried hard to strike a good balance to get that natural film look.

Still, guys lower your expectations a tad, LOL… I am NOT a perfectionist… there are still areas where the source fade’s in and out, Yoda goes from red to green in a 3 second period, and then there are a few places where I got a scene perfect, only to miss that same set piece later in the film and it’s a completely different base tone of color. 😃

Author
Time

joefavs said:

Oh, I totally get it, and I agree that it’s most important to make the unadulterated versions available; I’m just psyched to see something different in the pipeline. As for your point about everyone being free to make whatever they want with these materials, I’ve been thinking about taking a crack at a denoised SSE myself, and this might have pushed me over the edge.

Go for it! I’ve been hoping for a year that somebody would take a crack at the SSE because, like you, I prefer a more polished look.

This post has been edited.

http://www.thestarwarstrilogy.com

http://www.the007dossier.com

Author
Time

joefavs said:

Oh, I totally get it, and I agree that it’s most important to make the unadulterated versions available; I’m just psyched to see something different in the pipeline. As for your point about everyone being free to make whatever they want with these materials, I’ve been thinking about taking a crack at a denoised SSE myself, and this might have pushed me over the edge.

Please do. It would be great to see that one cleaned up a tad more. The source is already quite good, but grain can be troublesome, especially with encoding and being blown up on a bigger screen.

This post has been edited.

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration

Author
Time

Looks promising. However, when you tweak with colours, the black bars are affected. Maybe you should crop them out while you’re working on it and then add some real black ones. Just a thought.

Also, the aspect ratio looks a bit off to me. Doesn’t it?
Edit : now that I’ve compared with the actual Grindhouse, I see that you have more picture on top of the Solo frame. So you’re not in 2.35:1. You might be a little too much open-matte. And still wondering about some proportion issues: Leia looks thin to me.

This post has been edited.

Author
Time

In the Dreamastered version, everyone lost 20 pounds…

Author
Time

Lol. Is it off, though? I can’t tell on my phone.

Author
Time

Looking at the screenshots on my TV it looks like at worst, some of the black bars have been cut off at the top and bottom. That’s super easy to fix when converting to a disc, and playback on a PC would be just as easy. I can’t wait to watch this!

To the top