Temporal Degrain Supplants Need for Hardware Noise Reducer; Adds Keying and Shape Functionality

FilmLight, a leading manufacturer of film scanning, colour grading and colour management technology, has developed a new software-based noise and grain reduction tool, integrated into its Baselight colour grading systems. The software relinquishes the need for hardware noise reducers while providing significantly greater control and flexibility.
The new Temporal Degrain feature will be available in the latest release of Baselight v.3.2 which also includes extended functionality for image rotation and stabilization. Additionally, this release will enable support for full optical flow noise reducers, such as those featured in The Foundry’s Furnace.

Temporal Degrain is indicative of an industry trend where conventional hardware tools are being replaced by software offering improved performance and broader feature sets. “Just as software colour graders are supplanting hardware colouring systems, software noise reduction will replace the traditional and more limited hardware tools,” commented FilmLight Director Steve Chapman. “They offer a more flexible and creative solution.”

Temporal Degrain is based on an optimised, temporally-based degrain algorithm developed by the FilmLight engineers. The creative requirement is to have interactive response of the controls, similar to tuning in a radio station – over crank, roll back, or settle on a value. The algorithm is both fast enough to be “tuneable” enabling the operator to view changes and see the results onscreen and flexible enough to go anywhere inside a Baselight grading stack-that is before or after grading, and inside keys and shapes. This flexibility is not available in hardware noise reducers.

“This feature allows the operator to produce keys within the grading application. Similarly, noise reduction can be selectively applied, or withheld, from a specified area of the frame such as a person’s face,” Chapman explained. “The keying capabilities of hardware noise reducers are crude by comparison. This is much more of a creative tool.”

As a software tool, Temporal Degrain is resolution independent and can be applied to any imagery from SD to 4K. Baselight’s newly-added support for full flow optical noise reducers extends the system’s noise reduction capabilities further still. Such sophisticated algorithms can be used to reduce grain or noise in complex imagery, such as scenes involving fast moving objects. Baselight 3.2 supports this technology in a way that allows complex motion vectors to be reused for different levels of noise reduction and other motion-based effects.