Film Grain for Everyone!

With sites out there like Cinegrain, Gorilla Grain*, and Rgrain offering high quality film grain plates, there are a couple ways for digital-filmmakers to add that coveted, organic, grainy look to our projects. However, some of us more budget-bound auteurs are left wanting. Not any more!
Here you will find 3 different grain plates, all of which are based off of a free, above 4k scan of black and white film stock (from here), which was animated in after affects (based on the workflow found here), and finally exported as a 5 second, 23.976 fps, 1920 x 1080, (making each clip approx 700mb).

To download the files, just click the image of the file(s) you would like to download. You will need a Rapidshare account, but that is free and a great resource not only for this, but any kind of file sharing needs you may have.

The workflow for applying these to your footage is just the same as any other grain plate:
-Put the clip on top of your footage, in any NLE (Premier, Final Cut, etc.) that supports blending/compositing modes
-Change blending mode/composite mode to soft light or overlay (soft light recommended)
-Adjust opacity and apply multiple layers to your liking (if at all)

The MOST IMPORTANT part of applying film grain to a project for the web is in the way that it is exported (or more precisely, compressed), which can be a bit complicated and deserves an article of it’s own. Here is a substitute, at least for vimeo:
Adobe Media Encoder
Compressor 4
MPEG Streamclip
As you will notice, I did not post any links detailing exporting directly from any NLE’s; this is because I do not recommend doing that at all. For the most efficient, and best looking compression (especially when trying to preserve grain detail!), you are best served exporting a “lossless” version of your project from your NLE, and using a dedicated video compression/conversion software for the actual compression. This may sound like more work (because it is) but the gains in quality will show.

For those of you using the adobe creative suites (I’m using cs5.5), I have included a download for an Adobe Media Encoder-preset, which has been optimized for vimeo (HD) upload. As well as posting more grain plates, I will work on putting up other presets for AME and other platforms, but as (IMHO) Adobe is “where it’s at”, I figured this would be a good start.


* Gorilla Grain does offer a free “Medium- Dirty” sample grain plate.

40 thoughts on “Film Grain for Everyone!

  1. I am not able to download the files… I can only save the link, not the actual documents themselves. Can you please help me, or send them by mail? Thanks!

    • Hi Florian,

      I am actually uploading the files to Mediashare right now. I had to downgrade my Vimeo account from “Pro” to “regular”, and I am unable to host 1080 downloads with the free vimeo account (that is where the downloads are coming from currently). So, as soon as the files are uploaded to Mediashare, I will post the link here. Thank you for asking, and thank you more for being interested in the grain-files!

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  4. Hello, thanks for uploading these but I cannot use these. After downloading them, they don’t work in any editor or player- quicktime says This is not a Movie File. Doesn’t work in VLC, anything.

      • I am getting .mov files, they are 662.2MB for the 8mm, 662.1MB for the (I am on Mac OSX btw so file sizes are base 10) When opening in Quicktime 7 Pro I get The movie could not be opened. The file is not a movie file.

      • I’ve been moving (sort of) this last week, so I haven’t had a chance to download and try to recreate the problem, however, I’m currently downloading the file (35mm basic) to see what’s happening here. I should have it fixed soon.

      • Hey Silvertonesx24,

        I just tested a download that I started last night, and it worked without a hitch. The file size you should be getting (for 35mm Basic) is 751.9MB. I thought your file sizes sounded small, but I didn’t want to criticize before I “tested” it myself. I would suggest re-downloading both of them, because the 8mm size you gave me sounded small as well. I hope this was the only issue, but please let me know if anything else comes up.

      • Hey, it’s working now- thanks for the support- and thanks for the great grain!

    • Unfortunately, at this point in time, I cannot afford to “host” a file that large, but I’m picking up some side work, and my goal is to buy some more online storage. As soon as I’m able, I’ll be putting up longer plates. However, if you have After Effects, and download my project file for the grain, you can make a plate as long as your entire project (if desired). I hope this helps.

      • Thanks! I noticed that after I asked lol. I exported a 1min long clip which should be long enough too then loop as needed. Thanks again! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I’m sorry, I thought I replied to your comment a little while back… it must not have posted. The clips I have here for download, can be stacked end to end, in your timeline, until they reach the desired length. But if you would like to make a clip of any length yourself, I have also made the project used to render the clips available for download here-!download|320p2|1509552507||122037 .

  6. Hi thank you for sharing these great film grains, however I couldn’t download them because when I’ve reached rapidshare from your link and clicked download, it says Download parameters invalid – please try again later.
    Thank You!

    • Hey Leo. You’re welcome! A good starting point (in my opinion) is around 65-75% opacity, and a bit of Gaussian blur (applied to the grain) set to around 0.5 or so.

      I hope this helps!

  7. Thank you so much Sevendyblue person. Being an amateur film maker, it’s a rare moment to find yourself competing with the professionals without having to feel like a complete internet criminal. Thanks for liberating this grain for the rest of us, merry Christmas!

  8. Hi, thanks for this…!!! At this time i cant download the grains… its down the link =(( what can i do?

    Thaks for the help and for this grain.

  9. I’m at work right now, so I can’t test whether this link works, but try following this URL:!download|280p7|2750279903||751873

    I’m working on another method of sharing these files, because I have been getting a lot of download traffic, and sometimes hit my bandwidth cap…. SO hopefully the downloads will be going off without a hitch soon, but thank you for being patient in the meantime!


  10. Hi there! Thank you for sharing.

    Just a question… Probably there’s something wrong with what I’m doing. I’m working on PremiereCS6 and I followed the workflow you suggested (and that everyone suggests!) to apply the grains (trying both overlay and soft light). However what I’m noticing is that you can see no grain on the black video during the titles. Whenever in the film I have a splitscreen (with both black video and images) I see the grain applied just to the images, not to the black video. Of course I made sure that the grain plate is above all clips. So, what am I doing wrong?


    • Hey Rod. The good news is that you are not doing anything wrong, at least from what I gather in your comment. The problem is that there is no problem. Film grain is near invisible over black and/or very dark areas of an image, as well as the white and super-bright areas.
      A good way to demonstrate this, is to gain up the exposure of the footage you are applying the grain to; you will notice that the film grain in the darker areas will become more visible as the image brightens. This will happen to a certain point, and as you get closer to a white image the grain will become less visible once again.
      I hope this helps answer your question.

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  12. Hi!

    Thank you for sharing! Unforunatly the links are not working, rapidshare says “Download not available
    Download permission denied by uploader. (0b67c2f5)”

    Could you reenable the download or upload the files somewhere else? Thank you so much!

  13. Thank you very much for sharing.
    I used your grain plate in my last short film. I thought it was fair to quote your blog in the video description.
    Great blog, keep it up.

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