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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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.
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:
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