Film Clutter mini tutorial

( If you’re not sure what film clutter is and how it’s used, then watch the Scratchtapes demo clips, for a better idea. )

This very simple technique for adding an overlay of film grain and clutter, can have an effect that ranges from the subtle, to the extreme. A lot depends on the source footage, but the method of compositing and how much you grade both layers, can have pretty wide ranging effects on the end result. You might be going for a very low fi look with lots of artifacts or you might just want to introduce a bit of real world grain and noise at a low level. Hopefully, you will be able to experiment a little and use this mini tutorial purely as a starting point.

I’ve used the NLE which is a component of Blender, known as the Video Sequence Editor. While some may find Blenders interface confusing ( since 2.5 it’s become a lot more approachable ), it is the only well featured post production software that I know of, which is cross platform and free to download. The project file can be opened and dissected by anyone. The principles are more or less the same if you’re using After Effects, Motion, FCP or any post software that features basic composite modes. I have also included a low resolution version of a clip, bundled with the Blender file.

The blend file and free clip can be downloaded at Google Docs here

While you can easily follow this mini tutorial with most NLE’s, if you want use the preset Blender file, then you will need to download the latest version of Blender 2.57 for your OS, from the Blender Foundation site here,

There are two clips in the timeline. The lower clip is just a colour strip, which you can replace by going to Add>Movie and dragging this new file into place.
The top most strip, is the Super 8 effect. This will be composited over the lower clip, by using one of the composite methods, which are selected in the right hand column, shown here.

That’s it! Keep changing the composite methods until you’ve got something you like. You can also make use of the colour correction tool located in the right hand pane, to adjust one or both clips to taste. I’ve circled in red, the elements you may need to change.

In FCP, AE, Premiere etc. simply stack the Super 8 clip on top of your own source footage and then change the composite method for the upper most clip to taste.

For adding light bleed, flare, flash frames at in and out points and for use as transitions, you might find this earlier tutorial useful.

Good luck.

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