[Tig] The noise within.

Peter Swinson peter_swinson at compuserve.com
Fri Aug 8 12:14:13 BST 2008

For those, like me, who believe that film grain is a large component of the
satisfying "Film Look" take a look at an article in the UK magazine New
Scientist, 21st June 2008, titled "the noise within".


I think it may require a subscription to read the whole article, but a good
pointer for any of you that may already subscribe. Or you could use that
old fashioned thing called the local library!

It refers to many instances where noise improves our senses ability to
detect minor real variations. I have often promoted the view that small
amounts of noise modulate tiny variations in shading that cannot "jump" the
brains nerve couplings (synaps) unless modulated to a larger level by an
added noise signal. In film that noise is grain!

The New Sctientist article makes reference to our visual and auditory
systems making use of this factor, known as Stocastic resonance.

I also love their description of such noise usefulness at a more mechanical
"During the second world war, aircrews who had to calculate mission routes
and bomb trajectories found that their instruments-mechanical computers 
packed with cogs and gears - performed better in the air than on the
ground. Realising the plane's vibrations were helping to make the
instruments' sticky moving parts move more freely, engineers began building
small vibrating motors into them to make them more accurate. This was one
of the earliest applications of dither, or the deliberate addition of

Seems we now want to get rid of all the "noise" just to pump more signal
down he narrrow pipe!  Has it ever been proposed taht as we remove
granularity prior to transmission, that a grain emulator be built into
display devices to try to reintroduce stocastic resonance?


Peter Swinson 

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