How to Make a Grainy Video Clear

Grainy video can be a common problem, whether you create the video from scratch, convert it from other sources or simply watch a streaming source online. Grainy video can be caused by a wide variety of factors, from poor technique during production to low-quality settings when transcoding. For example, video captured on a phone at night will not look as good as video shot under professional lighting with an HD camera and later run through an editing suite. Nore options are available to improve grainy video for someone shooting an original composition than for someone watching a streaming video online. In all cases, you can improve the appearance of grainy video.

Poor lighting and low-quality cameras can cause grainy video.
Image Credit: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Step 1

If you are shooting an original video production, record with the proper lighting conditions. There is a technique and an art to lighting video production. If you struggle to see details clearly with your eyes, the camera will produce grainy video. The ideal lighting is natural daylight and your goal should always be to as closely approximate that as possible. Avoid fluorescent lights and instead use halogen or incandescent lights.

Step 2

Transcode the video to a higher resolution output, on a computer using dedicated software. Video that originates with a VHS or DVD source will be lower quality than HD. The resolution for HD video is 1920 x 1080, whereas the video resolution of VHS is 720 x 480. You may need to consult a software manual or a search engine, as the precise steps to adjust the output resolution of your transcoded video vary according to the software used.

Step 3

Edit the video using desktop video software to reduce the grain. Most desktop editing suites include filters that are designed to brighten the image and reduce noise. Look for a filter with a name such as "brighten" or "reduce noise" and apply it to see if that can reduce the grainy quality of your output. Some trial and error may be involved to find the ideal settings, as such filters can reduce clarity and color integrity in this process.

Step 4

Reduce the size of your playback window to one-quarter or smaller of your screen size. Grain will be far less apparent and the video clarity will be improved as you reduce the size of the playback window. Avoid full-screen playback, because that will most accentuate the grainy video. This may be your only option with streaming video online, or if you have no access to the video source.

Things You'll Need

  • Additional lights

  • Transcoding software

  • Desktop video editing software