"Neat Video" noise reduction plugin at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old September 16th, 2009, 10:41 AM   #1
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"Neat Video" noise reduction plugin

I guess I'm late to find out about this plugin, but I came across Neat Video and just purchased it. I tried it on a small piece this morning. I haven't really read the manual or understand how to tweak anything, but here is some HDV footage where I used Neat Video on the left side.

I shot this on my XH-A1 with the gain up pretty high (don't recall if +6 or +12), and so there is a lot of noise behind the dancers on the wall, which falls off to black.

I did a left/right comparison of the show, and have to say I am very impressed with how it eliminated so much of the noise w/out significantly degrading the image:

http://www.mostlymagic.tv/neat_filter.mov

(clip is about 72 megs in size and is quicktime HDV)

EDIT: If you can't play HDV and see it in 1080, here is a 720 version in h264:

http://www.mostlymagic.tv/neat_720.mov

Here's an even better, more dramatic example: http://www.mostlymagic.tv/neat2.mov

Last edited by Jeff Nelson; September 16th, 2009 at 02:22 PM.
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Old September 16th, 2009, 01:15 PM   #2
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is so clean that you can't even see the video! I've tried on three different PC's and all I get is a box that says you need some special codec to watch it. It does play the sound though.
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Old September 16th, 2009, 01:46 PM   #3
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Well it's HDV right from my FCP timeline, so maybe it requires a codec not present on a PC? Don't know.

Here is a 720 version which is h264. Not as big/dramatic as the HDV one, and the 720 actually shows some banding on the Neat Video side that's not in the original, but I think you can still get the idea:

http://www.mostlymagic.tv/neat_720.mov
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Old September 16th, 2009, 01:50 PM   #4
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It is because he used a quicktime codec "hdv8" that is only available in FCP for mac.
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Old September 16th, 2009, 01:51 PM   #5
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New User of NeatVideo: totally impressed

EDIT: nice footage. I think it shows an effective application of NV.

Based on nearly unanimous and enthusiastic, if not wildly positive, reviews of NV, I also purchased it. I was not disappointed! A little care and attention in building a noise profile, combined even with conservative sharpening with NV that DOES NOT result in edge halos, can give a stunningly clean image.

For instance, some raw footage that I shot in a dimly lit video arcade was essentially unusable at +3dB gain, and completely unacceptable after raising gamma in post: the noise practically overwhelmed the image. I then applied NV and -- wow! -- I could "add" several stops of light in post (using MB Looks) to make the arcade look brightly lit...with no noise whatsoever. I was absolutely shocked at how well it worked.

One review that I read opined that NV is about as close to a miracle plug-in as one is going to find. I can't disagree.

$0.02,
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Old September 16th, 2009, 01:52 PM   #6
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Well, I've got the latest version of quicktime pro on all three machines so it should have the latest codecs. I think it's more a FCP mac to PC thing.

THe 720p version works but you're right, it's difficult to see the difference.
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Old September 16th, 2009, 02:07 PM   #7
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Here's another

Hopefully this one is a little more evident, it's 720 h264. Look at the wall behind the dancers. On the right side, original footage, the noise is dancing as much as the dancers. On the left, the Neat Video filter, it's a lot better. And look at the stage floor, noise WAY down:

http://www.mostlymagic.tv/neat2.mov

I'm sure once I start to understand the various options, that I can make this even better. This took me like 10 seconds to put on the filter and make a crude adjustment, which I don't even know if it's the right adjustment. I can see a lot of uses for this filter in low light situations where it gets grainy.
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Old September 16th, 2009, 02:20 PM   #8
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I love how you split that, looks real nice!
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Old September 16th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #9
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Thanks, you can really see the difference in this last clip.
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Old September 16th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #10
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Yeah looks really good
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Old September 18th, 2009, 05:49 AM   #11
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I agree, and at the risk of sounding like an AD for neat, it will work with progressive as well as interlaced vision, and has a whole heap of presets, as well as user tweakable.

I use it a lot on night news shots of fires, to get rid of the noise.

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Old September 18th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #12
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I'm curious as to whether any of you use this on all of your clips, or just those shot in lowlight?
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Old September 18th, 2009, 07:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cascio View Post
I'm curious as to whether any of you use this on all of your clips, or just those shot in lowlight?
Yes, Paul, I have begun to use NV on all of my clips: indoor, outdoor, poor and good light. Not surprisingly, the noise reduction is most dramatic for low light shots where electronic noise is the most conspicuous.

I tried NV on footage of a brightly lit (full sun) tropical island, using a featureless sky as a canvas for modeling the electronic noise. The before and after images were not too striking. Still, noise in the bright (and properly exposed) blue sky was gone and the image had an overall 'clean' look with all of the original detail. It was more of an organic impression instead of the stunning difference I've seen in poorly lit shots when NV was applied. Does that make sense?

I tend to color grade a lot with MB Looks. I find that footage, poorly lit or otherwise, cleaned up with NV responds very well to grading in post, in fact better, than the raw footage with noise.

I've also played with the sharpening features of NV. According to the manual, applying sharpening to (raw) footage with noise can wreak havoc on the image quality, such as by introducing halos around edges and making everything look "video-like." But I found NV's sharpening, and the manual states as much, that noise removal BEFORE sharpening can give very attractive, accurate, and effective sharpening, i.e., no exaggerations or visibly artificial looks.

So, I tried VERY conservative sharpening values on my shots, both poorly and well lit, and found the resulting footage to look very clean and naturally sharp. I shoot with a preset in the A1 that has sharpening reduced almost to zero (i.e., SHP = -4), and so I don't feel bad about adding some sharpening in post if I feel like it.

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Old September 18th, 2009, 07:37 AM   #14
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Thanks Steven. How does NV effect render time?
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Old September 18th, 2009, 08:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cascio View Post
Thanks Steven. How does NV effect render time?
It DRAMATICALLY increases it (I have a pretty modern rig with a stock Q9550 CPU). Previews are ridiculously slow, too (I edit on Vegas 8.0(c) and 8.1). Any review of NV, in fact the manual itself, will tell you this because the noise reduction algorithm is very processor-intensive. So I went in with eyes open. Combined with MB Looks (also a massive render hog), NV on my clips make renders just crawl. The sterling result, however, is worth it for me. I'm just a hobbyist who makes videos no longer than about 15 minutes apiece, so the massive spike in render time is OK for my purposes.

Steve
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