Sign In

Using Film Grain Effects in a Unique way: Prequel Trilogy + Rogue One into a New Prequel Trilogy

Author
Time
 (Edited)

I have been working on an Attack of the Clones edit that has been going very well, leading me to think of how it would fit in a larger, alternate form of the Prequels. This new version of the trilogy has not taken a complete shape in my mind quite yet, but here is what I have figured out so far:

Episode III’:
-Begins half way through the original film
-Will follow Darth Vader before A New Hope, and after his turn to the dark side
-Will likely be broken up by an intermission of sorts
-(Possibly) the opening to Rogue One will be in the first half (when Jen is a kid) with the second half being made up of a shorter version of R1

Episode II’:
-Ends half way through Episode III, likely split up by an intermission of sorts
-Is already cut down from Episode II
-Not a lot drastic to be done, just tighten it up significantly
-Ends possibly with the Opera scene, or maybe with Anakin’s fall

I like a lot of Episode II for some reason. In my opinion it is the best of the Prequels by far. This is probably due to my good use of the “scene finder” part of the DVD when I was a child, and skipping an hour in. The first hour of AotC is terrible, and much of the ending is bad as well, but there is a more interesting movie buried in the second hour of the film.

Much of what makes AotC unbearable is the horrible dialogue. George Lucas dialog is best when it is off screen, and cutting bad diologue immediately makes the first hour much more enjoyable. It has been said, “show, don’t tell.” George Lucas with his prequel trilogy tells a horrible story, but shows a good one. You just have to cut out a lot of the talking and let the story shine through.

On the Film Grain effect:
I have discovered a very easy way to make the prequel films look much better through the application of film grain. I have always thought that artificial film grain was stupid and a waste of time, until I started experimenting with using it for an alternative purpose. Rather than just use it to make the film look like it was shot on film when it wasn’t, I have used it as a very effective means of applying color correction (through correcting the grain effect and NOT the actual scene), and grit, to almost any scene in the prequels.

CGI shots that look like digital vomit can be transformed into dynamic real-looking(ish) shots that look and feel like classic Star Wars. It is amazing to me how little work it has taken me to fix so many of the problems with the digital effects. The cool shots at the opening of Episode II are made to look like they belong in a Star Wars film. All of the scenes with horrible obvious bluescreen backgrounds (see: Obi Wan talking to Mace Windu and Yoda in that giant cgi room, or Anakin and Padme frolicking in the field surrounded by waterfalls). It somehow tricks the eye into following specific points in the background as if they were real 3D environments.

Here are some screenshots, but much of the effect is seen when the background is in motion, so I will have to upload a clip.

The intermissions:
Rather than try to shoddily piece together the end of AotC with the opening to RotS (forgoeing a time skip that has resulted in Anakin’s hair getting way better and Obi Wans getting worse) I feel that an intermission could help to bridge the gap in a non-intrusive way. Perhaps I could play the end credits music over some concept art or something. Either way, both of the finished films would have a significant time-skip half way through, which needs to be addressed somehow.
As both of these films would be considerably longer than 2 hours a piece (Episode II’ comes from a 2:22 movie and 1:15 of another for a total of 3 hours and 17 minutes, to be cut down as much as possible but not likely shorter than 2 and a half hours; Episode III’ comes from 1:05 of III and the 2:13 length of Rogue One

If anyone has any ideas at all, I would greatly appreciate them.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Just a point, film grain is distracting and takes you out of the experience, regardless if it’s natural or artificial. Sure, the CGI backgrounds are obviously CGI, but why not make them a bit “blurry” (but not too much) to make them feel less fake?

The unfortunate reality of the Star Wars prequel and Disney trilogies is that they will always be around. Forever. They will never go away. It can never be undone.

I also prefer to be referred to as “TNT”, not “Freezing”.

Author
Time

FreezingTNT2 said:

Just a point, film grain is distracting and takes you out of the experience, regardless if it’s natural or artificial. Sure, the CGI backgrounds are obviously CGI, but why not make them a bit “blurry” (but not too much) to make them feel less fake?

Counterpoint: I disagree with this entirely. Film grain is not distracting and does not take me out of the experience. In fact, it tends to draw me in more.

Obviously it’s possible to go too far to the point where it is distracting, but in general, the lack of any type of film grain will distract me more than its presence.

a trolling bantha

Author
Time

I’d really really like to see some screenshots or clips.

Italian faneditor.

EDITS LIST:
CHOSEN ONE - A STAR WARS STORY (3-in-1 prequels).
Personal saga: I - SHADOW OF THE PAST. II - KEEPERS OF THE PEACE. III - RISE OF THE DARK SIDE. IV - THE SON OF SKYWALKER. VI - RETURN OF THE JEDI.
Just look for them in the forum, and PM me for links if interested.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

FreezingTNT2 said:

Just a point, film grain is distracting and takes you out of the experience, regardless if it’s natural or artificial. Sure, the CGI backgrounds are obviously CGI, but why not make them a bit “blurry” (but not too much) to make them feel less fake?

ChainsawAsh said:

FreezingTNT2 said:

Just a point, film grain is distracting and takes you out of the experience, regardless if it’s natural or artificial. Sure, the CGI backgrounds are obviously CGI, but why not make them a bit “blurry” (but not too much) to make them feel less fake?

Counterpoint: I disagree with this entirely. Film grain is not distracting and does not take me out of the experience. In fact, it tends to draw me in more.

Obviously it’s possible to go too far to the point where it is distracting, but in general, the lack of any type of film grain will distract me more than its presence.

I agree with both of you to some extent. I love the look of 4K77 with the sandiness of Tatooine’s footage, it really sucks you in. I also feel that anyone who decides to watch an Attack of the Clones edit and sees film grain on an obviously shot-on-digital movie will think it is stupid. My use of film grain aims not to trick the audience into thinking it is shot on film, it is more to enhance the visuals. I was struck by not only how much more gritty and moody some of the shots looked with film grain + color correction, but by how much better it sold the motion of CGI backgounds.

IlFanEditore said:

I’d really really like to see some screenshots or clips.

I will be sure to do so in the next couple of days. Apologies for not having anything ready to show off. It won’t be too much trouble to whip something up, I’ll probably just make a compilation of some of the edited scenes + the ones that look good with film grain.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

ChainsawAsh said:

FreezingTNT2 said:

Just a point, film grain is distracting and takes you out of the experience, regardless if it’s natural or artificial. Sure, the CGI backgrounds are obviously CGI, but why not make them a bit “blurry” (but not too much) to make them feel less fake?

Counterpoint: I disagree with this entirely. Film grain is not distracting and does not take me out of the experience. In fact, it tends to draw me in more.

Obviously it’s possible to go too far to the point where it is distracting, but in general, the lack of any type of film grain will distract me more than its presence.

This is what I’m trying to say: some classic films (e.g. the first Harry Potter) do have film grain, but not too much. If you use too much, then it will be distracting. I mean, I wouldn’t want to watch a film while having to stare at so much of these specks on an HD/4K TV. I’d prefer to “blur” the backgrounds a bit, while having the live-action and practical characters themselves not look fake and feel like they belong in the vision of the naked human eye.

The unfortunate reality of the Star Wars prequel and Disney trilogies is that they will always be around. Forever. They will never go away. It can never be undone.

I also prefer to be referred to as “TNT”, not “Freezing”.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Here are some mock-up screenshots. I am not entirely sure what is the best way to post images on this website

Edit: Thanks to ChainsawAsh they are now embedded in the OP

Author
Time

Wow!

Italian faneditor.

EDITS LIST:
CHOSEN ONE - A STAR WARS STORY (3-in-1 prequels).
Personal saga: I - SHADOW OF THE PAST. II - KEEPERS OF THE PEACE. III - RISE OF THE DARK SIDE. IV - THE SON OF SKYWALKER. VI - RETURN OF THE JEDI.
Just look for them in the forum, and PM me for links if interested.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Noise or grain helps to make up for the lack of detail on early cgi.

Author
Time

IlFanEditore said:

Wow!

Thank you. Just in case you, or anyone else, would be interested in how this is done, I’ve just found free film grain overlays from shutterstock and dropped them above the timeline in Premiere Pro. You have to set the opacity to Overlay, but then you can do whatever color grading (I stick mostly to temperature and tint changes, as well as exposure, and some other stuff for individual shots). Its good because it doesn’t wash out colors, in fact it does the opposite in some cases.

Author
Time

The shots look good, the grain is a good idea. If grading the grain works for you then go for it, but it limits your possibilities a bit. You can’t adjust shadows or highlights separately, you can’t adjust individual colors and you can’t adjust saturation.

Author
Time

ChainsawAsh said:

FreezingTNT2 said:

Just a point, film grain is distracting and takes you out of the experience, regardless if it’s natural or artificial. Sure, the CGI backgrounds are obviously CGI, but why not make them a bit “blurry” (but not too much) to make them feel less fake?

Counterpoint: I disagree with this entirely. Film grain is not distracting and does not take me out of the experience. In fact, it tends to draw me in more.

Obviously it’s possible to go too far to the point where it is distracting, but in general, the lack of any type of film grain will distract me more than its presence.

So you’re saying modern live-action movies look bland, even if there’s no dreadful color filters applied?

The unfortunate reality of the Star Wars prequel and Disney trilogies is that they will always be around. Forever. They will never go away. It can never be undone.

I also prefer to be referred to as “TNT”, not “Freezing”.

Author
Time

FreezingTNT2 said:

ChainsawAsh said:

FreezingTNT2 said:

Just a point, film grain is distracting and takes you out of the experience, regardless if it’s natural or artificial. Sure, the CGI backgrounds are obviously CGI, but why not make them a bit “blurry” (but not too much) to make them feel less fake?

Counterpoint: I disagree with this entirely. Film grain is not distracting and does not take me out of the experience. In fact, it tends to draw me in more.

Obviously it’s possible to go too far to the point where it is distracting, but in general, the lack of any type of film grain will distract me more than its presence.

So you’re saying modern live-action movies look bland, even if there’s no dreadful color filters applied?

Oh, absolutely.

There are exceptions where the director/cinematographer go “above and beyond” to make the look of their film stand out, but even then, things tend to look artificial and soulless to me.

a trolling bantha

Author
Time

Sir Ridley said:

The shots look good, the grain is a good idea. If grading the grain works for you then go for it, but it limits your possibilities a bit. You can’t adjust shadows or highlights separately, you can’t adjust individual colors and you can’t adjust saturation.

Adjustments can always be made to the source video in addition, I’ve just found that doing so always takes away some of what image is there, where grading the grain doesn’t as much.

Author
Time

marsthgodofwar said:

Sir Ridley said:

The shots look good, the grain is a good idea. If grading the grain works for you then go for it, but it limits your possibilities a bit. You can’t adjust shadows or highlights separately, you can’t adjust individual colors and you can’t adjust saturation.

Adjustments can always be made to the source video in addition, I’ve just found that doing so always takes away some of what image is there, where grading the grain doesn’t as much.

Are you adding grain in a diff program or something? Cause i add grain in after effects on an adjustment layer above the main files. So i can adjust the separate elements independently. You can also change its opacity and other stuff to the grain then. You could color grade the grain this way too if you wanted. Or noise. If i add grain through another video overlay or something, then it doesn’t look as good.

I personally like grain in movies but not all. It depends on the movie really. Avatar looks better with out imo, but Starwars looks better with some grain. At least that’s my thoughts. It shouldn’t be too noticeable, or a dirty grain unless you’re going for a grindhouse look.

I am curious. Is there a thread to discuss tech related questions. Methods etc? I use After Effects, Davinci Resolve and Handbrake for exp. I know i’ve had questions about settings and more.

Muclunkey!
https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/The-Prequel-Trilogy-Revised-Trailer/id/70831

Author
Time

TheAlaskanSandman said:

Are you adding grain in a diff program or something? Cause i add grain in after effects on an adjustment layer above the main files. So i can adjust the separate elements independently. You can also change its opacity and other stuff to the grain then. You could color grade the grain this way too if you wanted. Or noise. If i add grain through another video overlay or something, then it doesn’t look as good.

Sorry for the late reply, I’ve just been using Premiere Pro. I dunno much about doing effects.

Author
Time

Fascinating.
Now it would be interesting to see this in a video.