Film grain and light leaks

How to get a film look

Everyone shooting digital wants their stuff to look like film. (Why not shoot film then?!) There are several footage packages that allow you to overlay real or simulated film grain of differing weights and sizes, as well as dirt, scratches and light leaks, to give your edit that filmic appeal. Here are several options to choose from including a tutorial on how to use the footage in your edit.


Cinegrain is by far the most expensive and have an odd pricing structure based on your client’s budget but do offer hundreds of different film stocks from 35mm to super 8, different grain sizes, dirt and scratch levels and assorted film looks. Prices start at $299 for 50 clips at 1080 Pro Res and finish at $2999 for 425 clips in 4K, 2K and 1080. Cinegrain have free download if you sign up on their site.

How to apply film grain effects

Patrick Inhofer from Tao of Color has a 43 minute tutorial/review of the Cinegrain Indie package where he shows you how to apply them in FCP X and also in DaVinci Resolve. All you have to do is place the footage in the track above the clip you want to affect and then change the composite mode to ‘overlay’. Tweaking the contrast and brightness of the film grain clip will alter the overall effect. The entire video is worth sticking with, just to see how to apply external key nodes in Resolve. (35:26)

Simulated Film Grain

RGrain is exactly the same principle but in a much cheaper and much more limited selection created from simulated grain rather than scanned from real film. 8 loops for $70 in Pro Res 422. HDCAMTEAM have a full run down including several examples.

Crumblepop have started a kickstarter project to raise the capital needed to create their own version of real film scans but for much smaller costs. Their 35mm pack of 1080p downloads will cost $99. $75 if you pledge now on KS. Hopefully they will succeed!


Light Leaks has a collection of ultra cheap light leaks to add to your footage to create similar film stock carnage effects. $20 for 25p Pro Res downloads.

Anamorphic Lens Flares

FlashbangFX is working on a set of anamorphic lens flares and has even provided some 2k and 4k free downloads to whet your appetite.

Although the granddaddy of all post produced lens flares is probably Video Copilot’s Optical Flares – an After Effects plugin that lets you create and animate custom lens flare effects.

PLEASE NOTE FLASHBANG FX NO LONGER EXISTS – Check out this recent post for places to download free film grain and light leaks.

Free download of real 35mm film grain

Gorillagrain have several free downloads available from their site (you do have to ‘like’ them on facebook or submit your email) including a 1080p file of 35mm film grain as well as three Super 16mm film burns.

Vision Color also have a free 35mm film grain (Kodak Vision 3 5213 filmstock) file in 1080p/23.976 fps to download from their free stuff page.


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