CineGrain: A Film Grain ‘Plug-In’ In Your Pocket

A Video Review and Tutorial

What is Cinegrain?

Product Website: www.CineGrain.com

If you want to add film grain or mimik certain types of film looks (Super 8mm, Silent Film, film flashes, lens flares) then the Cinegrain package of film footage may be right up your alley. It’s not a plug-in – but actual scanned film. Since it’s not a plug-in it’s very easy on the CPU. But – it is a little heavy on your wallet… which is why I dig in so deep and show several different ways of customizing the footage for your projects.

The Cinegrain package includes 1080p and 2k ProRes video clips ranging in length from a few frames (film splices) up to 45 seconds (film grain). Packages range from 50 clips to 400 clips clearly organized by category:

  • Film Grain: 35mm, 35mm Dirt Fixed, 16mm, 8mm
  • Dirt Scratches: Heavy dirt, light dirt, heavy scratches, light scratches
  • Heads & Tails: Leader, Tails, Countdowns, Title Cards
  • Optical Filters: Straw, Sunset, Grads, etc
  • Looks: Wookstock, Silent Film, Roswell, Full Gate with Keycode, etc
  • Flash Frames: Flash Frames, Light Leaks, Strobes, etc
  • Specialty Lens Flares: Telephoto, Wide Lens, Vintage, Rotating Lens, etc

A Plug-In In Your Pocket?

Yup. These are ProRes movies on a hard drive… a small hard drive that fits in your pocket.

And in the Tutorial section of this review I’ll be showing you how you can use this footage (in Final Cut 10 and DaVinci Resolve) to gain as much flexibility with this footage as most plug-ins… and with much quicker render times.

That’s why I call CineGrain, ‘A Plug-in In Your Pocket’; you can carry around with you, use it when you need and enjoy all the advantages of most film grain Plug-ins without the usual worrying if the plug-in is installed. Just hook up the drive, import your clips, and you’re good to go.

Using & Evaluating Cinegrain

I’ve recorded an extensive Video Review and Tutorial on Cinegrain. I’ll show you what they’re selling and then take you through how to use it in Final Cut 10 (using Overlay Modes and manipulating the Color Board to customize the ‘Look’ of the grain)… and then I’ll do the same thing in DaVinci Resolve (using the footage both with Composite Modes and as an External Key). At the end of the video I’ll let you know if I think this product is a good buy for the money.

Since this is a rather long Review / Tutorial, I’ve included a Chapter List (scroll down) in case you want to skip ahead to a specific section of this video.

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Full Disclosure

The product I’m reviewing was sent to me – at no cost – by Cinegrain for the purposes of this review. Other than my original request for review I’ve had so subsequent contact with them and received no other renumeration or special considerations for creating this review. All opinions and mistakes are mine and mine alone.

Enjoy!

The Video Review

Update: At 5:17 I state that the Dirt-Fixed 35mm footage is only available in the Professional package. This is incorrect. Many Dirt-Fixed clips are available in several of their packages.

Update 2: I’ve updated the video, watermarking the CineGrain footage. I expect to do a more graceful job of it in the future – but for now, understand that the big ol’ cinegrain.com text and gray box behind it does NOT appear on the footage when you buy it!

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Table of Contents

Play along by downloading these elements:

  • Sign Up to Receive free Cinegrain Footage:
    htpp://cinegrain.com

Start: Cinegrain: What Is It?

3:41 Types of Footage Provided by Cinegrain

5:17 The Different Packages Cinegrain Is Selling (Note: the Dirt Fixed versions of their 35mm grain is available in several packages besides the Professional Package)

6:22 Full Disclosure: Cinegrain sent me their footage at my request for this review

7:14 Download the Footage I’m using and follow along!

7:56 Cinegrain System Requirements

8:27 Begin: Using Cinegrain in FCPx

9:43 Prepping the Alexa Footage with Pomfort’s ‘Alexa Look2Video’ FCPx Plug-in

10:52 Examing FCPx’s Built-In ’8mm’ Effect

11:55 Plug-Ins vs Cinegrain

12:47 Cinegrain: How to Use It in FCPx

13:53 How to Customize ‘The Look’ of Cinegrain

16:39 FCPx Example #2 – 16mm_500T

18:46 Tinting Cinegrain using the FCPx Color Board

19:28 FCPx Example #3 – Heavy Dirt & Scratch

20:29 More on Manipulating Contrast & Color

21:08 Using Transforms on ‘Heavy Dirt & Scratch’

21:58 FCPx Example #4 – Cinegrain’s ‘Looks’

23:25 FCPx Wrap Up

24:04 Using Cinegrain in DaVinci Resolve

24:18 Resolve: The Initial Grade

25:58 Begin Method 1: Using Resolve’s Timeline

26:20 Adding Cinegrain to a Video Track

27:08 Customizing the Cinegrain Footage

28:36 Example #2: Woodstock Look

29:22 Begin Method 2: Using Cinegrain As An External Key

29:42 Setting up External Keys

30:53 Adding an External Key in the Node Tree

31:15 Doing an Overlay inside a Layer Node

35:26 Example #3: 35mm Grain as an External Key

35:58 Manipulating the External Key

37:06 Adjusting the ‘Under Image’

37:50 Cinegrain In Resolve Wrap Up

38:04 How much is Cinegrain?

38:58 Sidebar: System Requirements

39:31 Cinegrain Licensing: The Not-So-Fine Print

40:43 Why Budget-Based Licensing Doesn’t Work for Me

41:30 The Missing License

42:24 Final Recommendation

43:07 Goodbye & Visit the TaoOfColor.com

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