Adobe Lightroom 3 Noise Reduction

I've always said that since Adobe Lightroom hit version 3, one of the things it does best is Noise Reduction. Don't fear shooting photos in high ISOs if you really need to, you might be able to save it. One thing Lightroom 3 does well is to edit even compressed JPEG files in a somewhat non-destructive way. Just as an example, here's a test from a really bad video sample shot at F/5.6 ISO 6400 from the 5D Mark II. First placed the video file into Sony Vegas at the proper framerate, then exported to an image sequence of TIFF Files. Once I had all the TIFF files, I imported them into Lightroom 3 and ran the amazing Noise filter.


Once I ran the Noise Filter and color corrected just a bit, I then exported from Lightroom as JPEG files and threw them back into Sony Vegas (same framerate). Don't mind the flickering in the video, this was shot at the worst possible conditions under poor lighting and the TV on. Lightroom is so simple to use because after developing one image, you can apply the same settings across all the images at one time - we're talking thousands of images being batched process. Great for photos, and definitely not the ideal way to de-noise video files, but for you photographers you can see how well Lightroom 3 works.

Before and After Applying Noise Filter in Photos (might be too much) - Click to view larger

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13 thoughts on “Adobe Lightroom 3 Noise Reduction

  1. Emm

    Post author

    @apostolos - You adjust as needed. There's even a tool to add 'grain' back into the photo which looks more organic. I've just updated the article with an image sample. Overly applied the noise filter, but you get the idea.

  2. Emm

    Post author

    @Serge - The flickering could be from the camera. I use Lightroom with many photos, especially when doing timelapse stuff. I edit the images, then batch crop the images to 16x9 so it fits perfectly and doesn't struggle in the video editor.

  3. Paul

    Magic Bullet's DeNoiser works great, but it likes to crash a lot. I will have to give this a shot at some point.

    This lightroom method might be about the same speed as a grain removal tool, those things take forever to render.

  4. I use light room all the time to covert to true black and white video clips. I find that all the other methods including the magic bullet looks fall flat compared to what you get by converting to TIFF and manipulating them in light room. I love the "CLARITY" slider it brings out so much finer detail without enhancing the noise.

    I don't think the flickering is do to light room, I never have gotten any flicker back on my sequences, you are enhancing only one image the hitting synchronize all, right?

  5. Emm

    Post author

    @snitzer - Could be a variety of things, I think mainly lighting. Of course I would never shoot at ISO 6400, I would at least have an LED video light with me. I was just pushing the noise reduction to the extreme to see what it could do.

  6. snitzer

    Is it flickering because you are editing individual images? Meaning they are doing a slightly different noise reduction on each image.

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @fabdex - The workflow isn't ideal, but I was just thinking how well it can edit images without being as destructive. Color grading, color correction, or even increasing resolution from 720 to 1080.

  8. I am a true Lightroom fan! For the last few years I have been heavy into video and photography being a DP, and recently I discovered how amazing Lightoom was earlier this year. I was using Photoshop to retouch all my Professional Prints for clients. That took hours upon hours upon hours. Once I got a chance to see what Lightroom was capable of, I didn't care what the price was, and I wasn't turning back. Last year at this time, I retouched 245 wedding pictures in Photoshop. Took me a little over a week to retouch them all. Two weeks ago I retouched 210 wedding photos in a little over a day! My photography workflow has increased tenfold. For anyone interested in Photography, Lightroom is the way to go! The most friendliest user interface Adobe has created.

    Now hopefully they will find a way to take what they were able to do with Noise Reduction in Lightroom, and incorporate it into Premiere Pro CS5 and 5.5 for us video editors!

  9. fabdex

    For video, Magic Bullet Denoiser does an amazing job without having to convert to an image sequence. But I think I'll give Lightroom a try for pictures. Thanks !

  10. Jani

    I've tried LR for video too, and eventho it kinda works I dare to say that better for your workflow and very good for the end result is AE plugin called Neat Video. Simple to use and very effective for even high noise and also will smooth out compression artefacts. Check it out at

    P.S. I'm not their PR guy, just a happy customer 🙂

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