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Film Grain and Compression: Keeping Classic Movies Classic

February 7, 2024

(Based on the Article: Returning Greatness to Film Grain)

Film grain gives films a wonderful, nostalgic feeling, which is why many people have a strong desire to keep it in famous films. However, film grain is notoriously difficult to compress, making it challenging to put classic films on streaming services. So, what’s the solution?

Film grain is a random texture caused by particles of metallic silver in the film itself. Though found more in classic films, newer projects have often added grain to the final edit. Naturally, if grain can be added, it can also be removed. This is what solves the compression problem.

Removing the film grain from any movie is more efficient than compressing the content with grain included. This is because of the random nature of film grain. No frame has the same grain, and the size of these imperfections can vary widely. For this same reason, adding film grain back can also be difficult.

A new technology simplifies the process by mimicking the nature of film grain. AV1-Compatable Film Grain Coding uses existing codecs to recreate an authentic-looking film grain. Thanks to this tech, film can be compressed efficiently without sacrificing its aesthetic. This strategy is gaining popularity and will soon change the entire editing process for classic films.

Tag(s): Featured , News , Film

Russell Poole

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