How To Fix Grainy Video In Final Cut Pro

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I’m sure you’ve been on the receiving and editing side of grainy videos. I know they’re widespread, especially when you’re filming using an iPhone, under low light, an older camera, or a low-budget rig.

A grainy video is often caused by underexposed footage, damaged footage, sensor noise, digital compression, messed up camera settings, or struggles with lighting.

If this is something you’re trying to solve, I’ve got some helpful tips on using color correction to get the most out of your grainy clips while editing in Final Cut Pro. 

I’ll also look at noise reduction and all the nuances of working with it. 

Lastly, I’ve got a tip on how to make sure your project fits or properly plays on your phone, TV, or computer. 

Let’s improve the quality of your FCP videos right now and make it GRAIN, Raisin Hater!

Color Correcting Grainy footage

Here’s how to improve the grainy footage you filmed using any camera, including your iPhone.

  1. Go to your clip and zoom it into view by 200%.
  2. Go up to your Inspector window.
  3. Click on Color Inspector.
  4. Pick Color Board or Color Wheels.
  5. In Color Wheels, go up to View, and click on Video Scopes.
  6. In Video Scope, click Luma Wave.
  7. Adjust Luma Wave by tweaking the Shadows, Midtone and Highlights options.
  8. Done!

Noise Reduction Tool For Grainy Footage

Want to try smoothing out and blending colors in your clip? Here’s how!

  1. Bring up your Effects browser.
  2. Go to All Video & Audio.
  3. Once there, type in Noise Reduction.
  4. Use your Blade tool to select a piece of your clip so that Final Cut Pro doesn’t have to keep rendering the entire clip on your project.
  5. Drag the Noise Reduction on that piece of the clip.
  6. Next, go up to your Inspector window.
  7. Bring up your Effects browser again.
  8. Click on Noise Reduction.
  9. Move Noise Reduction up and bring Color Wheels below Noise Reduction.
  10. Tweak Noise Reduction first, followed by Color Wheels. 
  11. In Noise Reduction, Click on Amount.
  12. In Amount, click on High.
  13. Zoom into your clip to see how smooth it already looks.
  14. Go back to Noise Reduction and in Amount, tweak Sharpness if you want a stylized look.
  15. Done!

Fix Low-Quality Footage Caused By Playback

There could be a chance that the grainy, low-quality footage that you’re seeing is from your computer playback.

Here’s how to fix that!

  1. Go to View.
  2. Under View, scroll down to Quality.
  3. In Quality, click on Better Quality or Better Performance to improve the quality of your footage.
  4. Done!

Fixing Proxy Files 

You may have set up some proxy files at the beginning of your project, resulting in a grainy video. Proxy files are low-quality media that allow you to edit low-quality files.

If this is the case, fix proxy file issues in no time with these steps!

  1. Click on Project.
  2. Go up to File.
  3. In File, click on Transcode Media.
  4. In Transcode Media, click both Create optimized media and Create proxy media.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Go up to your Progress bar and check your Background Tasks.
  7. Switch back to Optimized Original Media.
  8. Go to Media Playback and save your project by moving from Proxy Only to Optimized Original for improved video quality.
  9. Done!

Final Tip On Output

Despite fixing your grainy video, it can still show up pretty bad depending on the device you’re playing it on. Are you going to play it on a TV, a phone, or a computer? What you want to do is export your project and test it on your device of choice for compatibility. 

I hope you learned a lot about fixing grainy videos with color correction, noise reduction, switching proxy files, and matching your video with the device of your choosing in this Final Cut Pro blog.

Hit me up if you’ve got any questions, Raisin Hater. Most of the Final Cut editing topics we cover are requested by you – so yours could be the next blog. 

Happy editing,


About Dylan Higginbotham

Hey there. I'm Dylan Higginbotham, and I'm pretty dang obsessed with Final Cut Pro X plugins. Subscribe below because I love giving away free plugins and contributing great content.

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