Cinnafilm’s Unrivaled Dark Energy Texture Technology for Film and Video

by planetmitch10 Comments

For those of you who have seen “Act of Valor” that was shot on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, you may have wondered how they got it to look so ‘filmic' – and those of you paying close attention over the past 2 years or so to what Shane Hurlbut has been talking about with the processing of the film, you would have probably heard him talking about “Dark Energy” – well, now you too can have Dark Energy on your own desktop!

Dark Energy is used for many purposes, but in the case of Canon EOS 5D Mark II footage, you can use it to remove any of the compression artifacting. It will now come as a plugin for After Effects.

Cinnafilm press release

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cinnafilm, Inc., a leader in advanced GPU-based post production image enhancement technology, announced today it will unveil its signature Dark Energy™ texture management as a plug-in for Adobe After Effects. Cinnafilm will be demonstrating the plug-in at the NVIDIA booth (SL9215), and HP booth (N5106) during The NAB Show 2012, April 16-19, in Las Vegas.

“Cinnafilm’s Dark Energy does something no other plug-in or de-noise software can do”

Cinnafilm partnered in 2009 with post-production image specialists Digital Film Central Inc. (DFC), of Vancouver, Canada, to develop groundbreaking de-grain, de-noise and dustbust software. ARRI Relativity was the first product released from that endeavor. Since then, Cinnafilm and DFC have worked to develop and enhance the software’s capabilities even further. Now branded as Dark Energy, the technology is currently in use at many of the world’s finest post production facilities. While Dark Energy has been used to restore many important films, it is equally at home optimizing images in the high-end digital filmmaking process. For example, Dark Energy was recently used to up-res, de-noise and texturize Relativity Media’s Navy SEAL action film, “Act of Valor,” the nation’s top grossing movie on Oscar weekend.

“Cinnafilm’s Dark Energy does something no other plug-in or de-noise software can do,” says “Act of Valor” cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, ASC. “Because we shot so much mixed media from shot to shot – including over 200 hours of HD and 20 hours of 35mm film – I needed consistency. The look would have to be the same delivered on the DCP (Digital Cinema Print) as well as the Fuji film prints. This was only possible through Dark Energy’s texture management system. Just imagine being able to strip all 5D compression noise off of the images and then add precise amounts of authentic film grain to every bit of DSLR footage, matching the warmth of the 35mm film shots. That is the ‘lightning in the bottle’ that is Dark Energy.”

Digital Film Central partner and CTO James Tocher says, “Dark Energy can remove the fingerprint of any particular camera and enable filmmakers to mix film, digital and video footage. Since it can remove noise while maintaining image detail, creative freedom expands beyond previously accepted limitations when working with digital files. ‘Act of Valor’ is a great example of this and heralds a new chapter in digital filmmaking.”

Lance Maurer, Cinnafilm’s founder and president, agrees: “Even the very best digital cameras have noise, especially when the exposure is pushed, and with new monitors extending their dynamic range capabilities, this problem is not going away. A technology that can intelligently de-noise images, maintain detail and add realistic film texture can change the game of filmmaking – we think Dark Energy is that game-changer.”

Maurer continues, “After working with Shane and the crew at Bandito Brothers on ‘Act of Valor,’ we recognized this was where filmmaking trends are going. I’m a fan of the hard work Adobe has put into its editing and image processing products, so it was a no-brainer to release the Dark Energy plug-in for After Effects first. More killer features and additional platforms are coming. Dark Energy for After Effects is just the beginning.”


Dark Energy for After Effects is available now at a pre-release price of $299. For general release, slated for July 4, 2012, the price will be $399. The plug-in includes both Dark Energy’s signature de-noise and film simulation modules for High Definition image sequences. For further information or to purchase, contact [email protected], or visit


p>About Cinnafilm Inc.

Cinnafilm Inc. is an Albuquerque, New Mexico-based engineering software firm dedicated to the development of powerful, reliable, and intuitive film and video production tools for creative professionals in the film, broadcast and post production markets. The company’s patent-pending Pixel Strings technology is the software engine designed to harness the full power of parallel processing specifically for high end, motion-based image optimization solutions. Additional information on Cinnafilm can be found at

About Digital Film Central Inc.

Digital Film Central (DFC) is one of Canada's leading digital intermediate and film mastering facilities. Its Detail-Specific Grain-Reduction service was acclaimed by film industry professionals as one of the finest de-noise and de-grain processes in the world. As Cinnafilm’s exclusive Dark Energy development partner, DFC brings its 15 years of image optimization expertise to the design of Cinnafilm’s Dark Energy. Digital Film Central is a privately held company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. Additional information on Digital Film Central can be found at

All trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.


Cinnafilm Inc.

Ernie Sanchez, 505-242-6626


[email protected]

via Cinnafilm’s Unrivaled Dark Energy Texture Technology for Film and Video Comes to the Plug-In Market with Release for Adobe After Effects | Business Wire.

(cover photo credit: snap from the Cinnafilm site)


  1. I’m not a huge fan of artificial grain, but would love to see it side by side with Neat Video for removing noise and compression artifacting.

  2. Really want to see examples. neat video is pretty amazing in itself. The fact this new plugin emulates film is huge, but other than the denoising I’m curious what else it actually does. Does it add real film grain based on film types? Does it offer some sort of color timing to get a rough grade? Does it offer any 180 shutter flicker compensation?

    Looking forward to learning more.

    1. Author

      Richard, what I understand is this is much more than de-noising… it removes compression artifacts some how… which is different than noise to many people… I, the untrained, still don’t totally understand what all this means, but I’m wanting to find out.

  3. Saw this at NAB its insane and blows away Neat or MB Denoiser. Unfortunately its PC only, no Mac support. Not sure how successful a plugin can be that only supports one of the two markets. I am a HUGE fan of this was so excited to see it released so I hope at some point they can support Macs.

  4. Correct – keep in mind this level of image processing technology requires significant compute power, only available on NVIDIA graphics cards through CUDA language. Porting to a PC, MAC version is not going to be easy, regardless of demand, but we are considering it. Also, there is no graceful solution right now for MAC with regards to these graphics cards, as only one card works in the towers; the fact is that PC is taking over the post production world, most high end post toolsets require high end graphics cards, and we are trying to provide a solution that can leverage this without breaking the bank (AE for windows is the right start). Regardless, first we have to flesh the product out with some really cool presets and such. Then there is the question of is it better to go OFX and then support Foundry, Scratch, etc? Food for thought is all… But we do listen to our customer base…

    Dark Energy is a TEXTURE toolset; not only can it remove noise (film grain, digital noise, compression noise) but it can emulate film grain and elegant texture in the image like nothing else – providing a much superior feel without having to ever worry about film out again (yes, we have done the tests). BTW, When we first brought this tech to market we sold it as ARRI Relativity, and it was so good Kodak bought it for labs in Europe to turn “16mm into 35mm” to satisfy European broadcast standards. This is no “denoiser”, but a new way of removing the bad and adding the good so that digital cinema can look beautiful. The other denoisers really cannot compare on any level with this in terms of speed, quality, retention of detail, and overall power. This is the same tech they use to restore classic films with (“Scarface” and “Gone With the Wind”). The only reason we can sell it at this price is because we are limiting it to HD, which in my humble opinion is a terrific medium as TV and film are becoming one.

    CEO, Cinnafilm

  5. Lance, it was great meeting you at NAB, and I’m excited about what this can do despite the fact I can’t yet use it. I do worry Apple has cashed in on iPods and has written off the Pro world, so it may be one day we’ll all find ourselves on PCs whether we like it or not. : )

    Wish you guys the best w/ the new venture!

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