Video Review: Magic Bullet Denoiser 1.0

Earlier this week I read Scott Simmon’s review of Magic Bullet’s Denoiser plug-in. I was intrigued. Scott didn’t have anything other his adorable baby footage to test the plug-in. He also made mention of thinking you’d want to apply the denoiser before grading rather than after grading. Well…

I just happened to have wrapped color correcting a 6-minute horror film shot on a Canon 7D. Obviously there was a lot of low-light footage and some of it suffered from noise and h.264 artifacting. I spent a good deal of time in Apple Color isolating and blurring out the artifacts. I also have a few other denoise plug-ins that work in FCP most of the time. But there were a few shots that defied all my attempts at fixing them.

I decided to test two things:

  1. Could MB Denoiser fix the one angle that had driven me nuts and was never adequately ‘denoised’?
  2. Would I see a perceptible difference in applying the filter before grading rather than after grading?

The following video review is really two parts. Part 1 (the first 11 minutes) covers some of the unique features of MB Denoiser… as well as some of its bugs. Part 2 shows my workflow and results of “Denoise Before or After?” test.

Comments for this post are enabled and encouraged!

You’ll definitely want to click the “HD” and “Enlarge” buttons…

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  • Andy Clancy

    Great review Patrick, a nice tutorial as well!

  • Patrick Inhofer


    Thanks for the nice comments. Gotta say, I’ve wanted to cover this ground for a while. It was fun testing the workflow. Now we just need Red Giant to come out with v1.1.

  • Robbie Carman

    Have you used neat video? I’ve been really happy with it. But it takes for ever to render. Neat has the same issue with sample size which can be problematic

  • Patrick Inhofer


    I have not. I’ll have to give it a whirl at some point. Perhaps that sample frame bug is an issue with FCP?

  • Scott Simmons

    Great video Patrick. It’s nice to see comparisons on real productions though my child is sad that he’s no longer the only Denoiser star.

    On the pre and post grade application …. so far I’ve seen a lot of the same thing that apply pre and post is very similar in the results. So much so that I’ve stopped trying to compare and have been apply pre-grade the few other times I’ve used it. I did have one instance where I really didn’t see any noise but then pushed this crappy 7D shot really far and it got quite noisy. That was a good post-grade application of it.

    I wish most of all that Denoiser worked in Color too … or Resolve!

  • Patrick Inhofer


    Trust me. Your boy is still a star. And I’m sure in middle school his friends will be quite happy to point it out to him! :-)

    Yeah – the closest thing to a desnoiser in Color is the Grain Removal filter – which I’ve used successfully as a skin smoother. But I’m fine handling the denoise in the NLE pre-grade just so I don’t have to bother with it later… except for the loss of handles.

    RE: Pre / Post Grade Denoising – This was something I’ve wanted to test for ages, and you gave me a good excuse to do it. Good point about pushing the footage well beyond its breaking point and making it noisy, hence, post-grade application.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • John Novotny

    Awesome review. Thanks so much.

  • Patrick Inhofer


    My pleasure. Thanks!

  • JABrown

    Patrick, If I apply the denoise before I send to color (or reconform) it does not affect my shot once it’s in Color. How do I “bake” the noise reduction into my shot so it sticks once it’s in color?

  • Patrick Inhofer

    Correct. Color will not “see” the plug-in. You’ll need to apply the filter in FCP, render out the shot(s), and re-edit it back into the timeline before sending it to Color… ie, ‘baking-in’ the filter. Sorry I wasn’t clear about that.

  • Henry Navarro

    YES!!! Very nice. I’ve been looking for a tutorial like this for a long time. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve Googled “Magic Bullet Denoiser” and have never come across this vid. I finally typed in “how to sample when using Magic Bullet Denoiser” and this came up. Thanks again. I will be visiting this website more often. Do you ever answer questions from your readers?

  • Patrick Inhofer

    You’re welcome.

    I usually answer reader email as long as it’s not a missive, doesn’t ask 43 questions, and gives me all the details up front. When asked directly relating to an article or tutorial, I always prefer they be asked in the comments – since others will certainly have the same question and people can keep learning.

    But sometimes mail fall through the cracks if I’m particularly slammed with my day job.

  • Matt

    Thank you for your tutorial it’s a brilliant piece of software. had same problems with the sample frame error.

    thanks for the workaround

  • Patrick Inhofer


    You’re welcome.

    Red Giant recently released a bug fix. It’s supposed to fix the sample frame
    error (though I haven’t tested it yet). Be sure you’re working on the most
    recent version.

  • Trapdmv

    i trry to use this effect in final cut pro everytime i export it down to quicktime movie my final cut crashes and a error comes up that says mb denoiser failed to render someone help pleeeaaassseee

  • Patrick Inhofer

    First, Make sure you’ve downloaded the most recent version of MB Looks. At this point it should be 1.5.

    If that’s still not working contact Red Giant directly. They’re very helpful and will help you track down the problem.

    - patrick