Remove Digital Noise From Your Footage and Video Clips with Neat Video
Neat Image is a plug in or standalone product that allows you to control, reduce and eliminate grain or digital noise from your images. Wedding photographers find this particularly useful as they tend to shoot a lot in low light situations.
Even with today’s more advanced DSLR’s, there is still a big need to keep images noise free. For example, stock photo agencies insist on having the cleanest images possible for their clients so it is imperative to either shoot clean or use software such as Neat Image to clean them up.
The same applies to video.
Neat Video is a similar program from the same company that now allows you to clean visible noise or grain from your digital video files and this is something I have wanted for a while. In Neat Video’s own words:
“Neat Video incorporates the most advanced noise reduction algorithms in the industry and takes into account specific characteristics of particular video capturing devices – video camera, camcorder, computer TV-tuner, etc., – making the filtration customized and more accurate…
In addition, Neat Video can make video look sharper without any degradation of quality. The combination of the sharpening and noise filter makes such an effect possible.”
After filming a wedding in very low light conditions recently, I got hold of Neat Video to see how it stood up to Neat Image, which I have used for years.
I was surprised at how easy Neat Video was to use once installed in my editing software.
I use Sony Vegas Pro 11 and have used this software since version 8. There is just something about it that I find simple to use but at the same time, it has a ton of creativity and features that suit me down to the ground. For audio it is fantastic too.
To install Neat Video, all you need to do is follow their quick and simple instructions. They provide you with an installer program that automatically makes the software available in Sony Vegas Pro or whatever software you have bought this for (see below for availability, features and requirements).
Once you have added your “noisy” video clip to the timeline, you need to make sure that the clip is selected or highlighted and then go to TOOLS – VIDEO – MEDIA FX:
Find the installed Neat Video icon and either double click or click and then press “add” to add it to the timeline. You will then see the Neat Video dialogue box:
Press configure and that will open up the Neat Video Interface. Before doing this, please make sure that your video is on a clip or frame that has an area of uniform noise. It must be an area without any significant detail such as a wall. This allows Neat Video to make a decent noise profile without getting “confused” by other detail that should be there.
See the green box in the image below? That is the area I have chosen for this tutorial…it contains noise artefacts and very little detail.
Here is a larger crop to show you the amount of noise in the shot. It is taken from a clip using the Sony PMW EX1 with a gain of 12db:
Once the area above is selected, the quickest route is to click “auto profile” and let Neat Video do its thing. Once profiled, go to the noise filter settings tab and voila! You should now see a noise free image with all the detail of the original clip retained:
At this point you can tweak and play with the settings and sharpness but I find Neat Video does a pretty good job on its own. Once happy with the results, you just output the footage as normal and you can really see the difference in noise as the footage plays when rendered.
You can buy Neat Video for:
Home Edition: $49.90
Professional Edition: $99.90
Neat Video is available for the following editing suites:
- Premiere Pro (Win and Mac; 32-bit and 64-bit), Premiere Elements (Win and Mac)
- After Effects (Win and Mac; 32-bit and 64-bit)
- Final Cut Pro, Motion, Final Cut Express (Mac)
- OpenFX-compatible hosts: Fusion, Nuke (Win, Mac, Linux)
- Vegas Pro (32-bit and 64-bit), Sony Vegas Movie Studio
- Pinnacle Studio
- VirtualDub (can also be used in AviSynth scripts)
Neat Video Features
Noise Reduction and Smart Sharpening
- Advanced noise filter to reduce noise and grain in digital footage
- Temporal filtration to reduce more noise and better preserve true details
- Complete control over the noise filter to achieve the desired level of noise reduction
- Smart sharpening filter to make video look sharper without amplification of noise
- CUDA-accelerated filter to speed up processing using computation-capable GPU
Device Noise Profiles
- Custom noise profiles to make noise reduction device-specific and more accurate
- Auto Profile to build noise profiles for custom video-capturing devices
- Embedded preview for any selected area of a frame from video clip
- Preview of filtration results separately for each channel and frequency component
Some features are only available in the Home or Pro plug-in.
Neat Video Requirements (Sony Vegas)
Recommended hardware configuration:
- Core 2 Duo or Quad class machine or better, single or multi-processor
- 2048 MB RAM or more
System requirements for practical use of Neat Video depend on frame size and length of video clips because processing larger frames and longer clips takes proportionally more time. The processing speed is determined primarily by the processor number-crunching power and memory speed.
The Neat Video plug-in can process any RGB video clip supported by Sony Vegas.
The 64-bit Neat Video plug-in for Sony Vegas is compatible with the following 64-bit hosts:
- Sony Vegas Pro (64-bit) 10 / 9 / 8.1
The 32-bit Neat Video plug-in for Sony Vegas is compatible with the following 32-bit hosts:
- Sony Vegas Pro (32-bit) 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6
- Sony Vegas Movie Studio 11 / 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6
The plug-in may be compatible with newer versions of Sony Vegas as well.
Home Edition: $49.90
Professional Edition: $99.90