One of the problems with camera technology today is that just because your camera can shoot at high ISO rates, it doesn’t mean you should. Unless you’re shooting with the new Sony a7S, any ISO rating above 6400 is likely to produce image noise, especially when paired with the heavy compression that AVCHD or H.264 files bring. Denoiser II is a tool that cleans up your video by removing grain and artifacts while still giving you detail.
This is the one program in the suite that I had difficulty with. Although Denoiser II definitely works, the changes were subtle and it really depends on how badly shot or damaged your clip is. On a noisy black shirt, I was able to smooth out some of the noise, but it wasn’t a silver bullet-like fix. If I went too extreme with de-noising, the image began to look too "Photoshopped." De-noising or de-graining images without affecting the image as a whole always has been a difficult (not to mention expensive) job. Programs like Cinnafilm’s Dark Energy have been successful, but that’s a $6,000 program.
Instant 4K lets you create 4K video (and other resolutions) out of your lower-resolution files by scaling pixels. The difficulty with scaling usually lies in the process of filling in the missing pixels, and Instant 4K does a decent job here. The process is fairly simple, and you could accomplish 4K upconverting in either Premiere Pro or After Effects (CS5 or later). I upscaled a 1920×1080 video file to Ultra HD (3840×2160) in Premiere Pro. Once the Instant 4K effect is applied to a clip, in your Effects controls, you can select your output size, which gives you choices, including full-aperture 4K (4096×2112) and 4K DCI (4096×2160). Just make sure you create a new custom sequence in your timeline with the new resolution. Depending on how fast your processor is, you can select Draft, Quick, Better or Best Filter. For my MacBook Pro, I found the Quick Mode to be the best selection and the render didn’t take an eternity. You can also make fine adjustments to sharpness, quality and anti-aliasing.
If you have old interlaced video sitting on your hard drive and want to give it more of a cinematic look, Frames will deinterlace it, giving you a smooth 24p look that contains little artifacting. Whether you’ve shot in 60i or PAL, Frames converts the footage pretty quickly (again, depending on your processor). Also, if you want a widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio, you can create your own "Cinemascope" bars in Frames, as well as shift your image up or down to fit your new frame. As with Instant 4K, you’re able to work within the NLE.
A LUT replicates what your finished image will look like in terms of color, lift, gamma, gain, etc. LUT Buddy lets you create Lookup Tables to share your color information with other software and devices, ranging from DaVinci Resolve and Adobe SpeedGrade to professional monitors. Using a GoPro shot with the Protune Raw gamma setting, I imported a SpeedGrade LUT that was created to correct GoPro’s flat, neutral look to a more Rec. 709 image in my Premiere Pro timeline. (It can also run in After Effects CC, CS6, CS5, CS4, CS3, Final Cut Pro 7 and Motion 4 and 3.)
SHOOTER SUITE 12.5 DOWNLOAD
Shooter Suite 12.5 retails for $399, which you can download at Red Giant’s website, www.redgiant.com. Each app also can be purchased individually (BulletProof, $199; PluralEyes, $199; Denoiser II, $99; Instant 4K, $99; Frames, $99, LUT Buddy, free with Shooter Suite or Color Suite). Unless you’re an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber who’s comfortable with Prelude and After Effects, go with the full Shooter Suite. BulletProof and PluralEyes are well worth $400, and if you’re a filmmaker who works with a multitude of cameras, formats and look profiles, the other apps within Shooter Suite 12.5 will only add to your filmmaking chops.