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Old 06-06-2011, 03:11 PM   #1
italiano17771 italiano17771 is offline
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Default Why is grain heavier in darker scenes?

If this is in the wrong sub forum please move...

First, let me say I am not saying grain is good or bad...I am just curious why its not consistent. Did the director really want grain in some scenes and not in others??? Comments, opinions welcome.

This could be a stupid question, but I never really got a solid answer.

Also, why do some scenes have heavy grain and some do not...in the same movie!! For example, Public Enemies has extreme grain in some dark scenes and a clear crisp picture in other dark scenes.....also Green Zone is probably one of the most obvious movies that exhibits this. Some dark scenes are perfect...no grain whatsoever....20 seconds later there is a heavy layer of grain.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:17 PM   #2
42041 42041 is offline
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Short answer: it's harder to capture less light.
It may require the use of faster film stocks, which have larger, more light-sensitive grain, or push-processing the film to even faster speeds, which makes the image even grittier. Those scenes in The Green Zone are heavily pushed, and shot that way for aesthetic effect.

With movies shot with digital cameras, like Public Enemies, sensors have noise, and when you have very little light, the noise starts to overwhelm the image. For example, when you crank the sensitivity past ISO400 on your little digital camera, the image quality drops like a rock. Same with movies.
Public Enemies was also shot that way for aesthetic effect. They wanted to use minimal artificial lighting in those scenes.

Last edited by 42041; 06-06-2011 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:59 AM   #3
Trebar Trebar is offline
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Battlestar Galactica was also shot that way. The extra noise makes everything look grittier. Some scenes look better than others when shot that way. Predator is an example where scenes were shot without enough light. Even seeing this film in the theater some dark scenes look like it was shot at 1600 ISO.
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:47 AM   #4
Ray_Rogers Ray_Rogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by italiano17771 View Post
If this is in the wrong sub forum please move...

First, let me say I am not saying grain is good or bad...I am just curious why its not consistent. Did the director really want grain in some scenes and not in others??? Comments, opinions welcome.

This could be a stupid question, but I never really got a solid answer.

Also, why do some scenes have heavy grain and some do not...in the same movie!! For example, Public Enemies has extreme grain in some dark scenes and a clear crisp picture in other dark scenes.....also Green Zone is probably one of the most obvious movies that exhibits this. Some dark scenes are perfect...no grain whatsoever....20 seconds later there is a heavy layer of grain.
Public Enemies was shot as though it looked like very cheap looking video. Oh wait it was and they should've shot it on film. Yes it does look horrendeous to me.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trebar View Post
Battlestar Galactica was also shot that way. The extra noise makes everything look grittier. Some scenes look better than others when shot that way. Predator is an example where scenes were shot without enough light. Even seeing this film in the theater some dark scenes look like it was shot at 1600 ISO.

I think I read somewhere that a lot of the Predator footage was reframed via optical blow-ups, because they didn't get the exact shots they wanted during the shoot, or something or other. I could be wrong but that would explain the heavy grain.
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray_Rogers View Post
Public Enemies was shot as though it looked like very cheap looking video. Oh wait it was and they should've shot it on film. Yes it does look horrendeous to me.
Director's intent and all that.
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Old 06-07-2011, 05:04 PM   #7
tigtat77 tigtat77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by italiano17771 View Post

Also, why do some scenes have heavy grain and some do not...in the same movie!! For example, Public Enemies has extreme grain in some dark scenes and a clear crisp picture in other dark scenes.....also Green Zone is probably one of the most obvious movies that exhibits this. Some dark scenes are perfect...no grain whatsoever....20 seconds later there is a heavy layer of grain.
Tansformers was like that. The scene in the bedroom at night when Sam's parents catch Micaela with him has insane amounts of grain.
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:53 PM   #8
Sonny Chiba Sonny Chiba is offline
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Are we sure everyone isn't confusing "dark scenes being granier" for "my tv can't handle dark scenes well so it degrades picture quality." I kind of think it's the former. Aren't LCD's really bad at dealing with dark scenes in general?
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by italiano17771 View Post
Also, why do some scenes have heavy grain and some do not...in the same movie!! For example, Public Enemies has extreme grain in some dark scenes and a clear crisp picture in other dark scenes.....also Green Zone is probably one of the most obvious movies that exhibits this. Some dark scenes are perfect...no grain whatsoever....20 seconds later there is a heavy layer of grain.
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:24 AM   #10
rushmore309 rushmore309 is offline
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I love grain! But, Public Enemies looks like absolute crap to me. That ain't grain...it's noise.

I've got many of Michael Mann's films on blu-ray and none of them look as awful as that. Took me completely out of the film.

Not trying to start a war of words. Just my opinion.
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