Free film grain overlays

Download 20+ Completely Free Film Grain Overlays

If a scene in your film calls for a vintage look, you don’t have to search for celluloid film and an ancient camera to capture it. In our digital time, film grain overlays come to help. Blended with your footage, it gives your video that old-time look in no time. Inserting memory flashback scenes has become so much easier, for example. Focus on the right props and use your regular camera. Film grain overlays in post will do the rest. Let’s see how to get it done and where to find good quality free film grain overlays. Jump right to the place of your interest.

What is film grain?

Film grain is the physical texture from small metallic particles found on the process photo celluloid. The particles can vary in size. Film noise is another term which is associated with analog film grain.

In the digital world, film grain overlays are motion graphics, which you can lay over video clips and add a range of various looks: lens flares, film noise, smoke, fog. Filmmakers and enthusiast video makers enjoy using film grain overlays in their digital video projects for a couple of reasons. For one, digital film grain overlays are less expensive than the physical gear (film and camera). Film grain overlays are also easy to use in the major video editing apps.

How to use film grain overlays

Using film grain overlays is easy and straight-forward. In both Premiere Pro and FCPX you will go through the same steps.

  1. Import your footage into the app.
  2. Import the film grain overlays you’d like to use in your project.
  3. Position your clip into the timeline.
  4. Position the film grain overlay on top of your footage.
  5. Select your film grain overlay.
  6. In the Effects tab, go to Opacity and toggle Blend Modes.
  7. Select Overlay and you film grain will now be transparent on top of your clip.
  8. Copy the film grain clip and paste along your timeline.

When it comes to After Effects, import your film grain overlay and drag it over your motion graphic. Then, inside your timeline go to the dropdown menu which starts with Normal. Inside that menu select Overlay. Adjust the overlay level as you find fit.

Download free film grain overlays

Without further ado, let’s download the best free film grain overlays. Check the trailers before hitting that “download” button. Here we go.

Five free film grain overlays from Shutterstock

You can download 5 free film grain overlays on Shutterstock’s blog. The overlays include: 8mm Coarse Grain, 16mm Coarse Grain, 35mm Coarse Grain, 35mm Fine Grain, Distortion Scratches. No signup is needed.

Free 35mm film grain overlay from Vegasaur

Download this free 35mm film grain overlay. Share the word about the free download and get the download link on their site. Download these free film overlays here.

Free 35mm film grain overlay from Holygrain

Get this film overlay for free after signing up on the site. The free overlay is here.

Free film grain overlay from GrainZilla

Download this 35mm film grain for free from GrainZilla. You will need to add the asset to your cart (at zero dollars) and go through checkout to download it for free.

Free 8mm film grain overlay from Film Looks

This film grain overlay is free after you add it to the cart and go through checkout. The free film grain effect is a digital scan of authentic Super 8mm film.

Free film grain overlay from MTS

Here is a beautiful collection of experiments including film grain overlays. Check this collection out.

Free film grain overlay from Motion Array

Download this film grain video and use it as your grain overlay.

Free 8mm film grain overlay

Get this free 8mm film grain overlay from this filmmaker.

Free 4K film grain from Exploring Filmmaker

You can get this free sample film grain overlay by adding it to cart and going through their checkout. That’s how to use it after downloading.

Free grain overlays from RP Stock

Download 10 free film grain overlays in 4K on this site. You will need to register to get to the free download.

Red Cinema film grain

Download this free overlay from under this Youtube video.

2 Free Film Grain Overlays on PremiumBeat

PremiumBeat has a neat tutorial about how to create retro horror titles in After Effects. This tutorial – see below – has a downloadable free project file. When you download the project file, you will find 2 high-quality film grain overlays in the Footage folder. Use it as you see fit.

Here are two more websites, where you will be able to download two more free film grain overlays. You will need to register to get to the free download links:

Why do video editors use film overlays?

Why would one need film grain overlays in their videos? As a video or film editor, you may want to use film grain overlays due to several reasons. See below:

  • Aesthetic purposes: Film grain overlays gives your video a vintage, cinematic look.
  • Emulating the look of film: You want film grains in your video to imitate the aesthetic qualities of film stock, including its unique grain patterns, tonal range and colors.
  • Masking digital imperfections: Digital video is not perfect. So you use film grain overlays to hide artifacts and digital noise in low light or high ISO footage.
  • Adding texture: You use film overlays to enhance the overall look of the footage, especially if it’s a green-screen shot or has a flat, sterile look.
  • Correcting color: This one is another good use case if you want to balance out the color in footage, especially if the source video was shot on different cameras with different color balances.

Need more video assets? Download free LUTs and SFX from our curated free video asset collections.

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