Film Grain in Resolve

February 28, 2020

One of the common requests I get from creative directors and ad agency producers is to make their film look  35mm or 16mm or simply to add film grain.


Whilst Resolve does have a Film Grain Open FX plugin which can be an easy fix for a fast turn around, another good way to emulate film and/or add grain is by following this method, using an external Matte. (courtesy of Lowepost). 


So here is the quick step by step guide, recently used to emulate the film look of my M&C Saatchi grades.


Note: To use an external Grain Matte, you will need to find a grain scan shot on a grey card to ensure a better blend mode and import it into Resolve as a Matte. Here is a 35mim grain scan available online for free.


Right click to select and import your Matte as such:


Once you have imported your Matte, head to your colour page, add a second serial node and apply a Look Up Table (LUT); in this case, we will use the Rec709 Kodak 2383 D65 


Balance your shot and add a bit of saturation for separation in the first node, then add another node to balance your mid tones, using your secondary correctors.


Once you are happy with the over all look, you will need to switch to timeline mode and add a corrector node, as well as a layer node





Then disconnect the source’s input from your layer node and add the grain by adding the external Matte.




You will need to connect the RGB output of the Matte to the RGB input of your node, as such:  

Then right click onto the composite mode and select overlay, and go to your Node Key tab to add or reduce the amount of grain (Key Output>Gain)




You can then add another node and go to your Blur/Sharpen tab and select Sharpen to control the grain detail (you can even select your RGB individually).

Again you can also control the amount of grain added using the Node Key tab (as picture above).




Alternatively, You can also invest in built in grain generators, like the FimConvert one, which will be similar to the Resolve Open FX one, allowing you to work within various set parameters.




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