19 Free Film Grain Overlays for Video Editors & Filmmakers

Video Effects 31/03/2021 6 min read

Although digital video is convenient, cheap to produce, and allows for much quicker creation of content — it’s also very clean. There’s no degradation of the image, and it can’t be scratched. Although this might seem like a good thing, a big chunk of the filmmaking community still stands by the old-fashioned film. But it’s expensive to buy, shoot with and develop film. So that’s where film grain comes in handy.

Using 8mm, 16mm and 35mm film has an imperfection and a warmth to it that is very different from the almost sterile digital video of today. And sometimes, you might need to show an old film effect if the narrative calls for it. Fortunately, digital film scans can be used as overlays to enhance your digital video and give it a vintage, cinematic feel that will add depth and character to the image.

There are plenty of film grain overlays available, both premium and free. Here we’ve listed our favorite 18 free film grain downloads, followed by some tips on how to incorporate them into your own video projects.

Part 1: 19 Amazing Film Grain Overlays to Download for Free

1. Free Film Overlay

This free stock film grain from Motion Array is a convenient download that can be imported directly into your video editor. Simply drop it over your footage on the timeline, set the blending mode to Overlay, and there you have it — instantly de-grade your footage to give it that old-fashioned film look.

2. 8mm Film Grain Pack

Download Now

A cool 8mm grain effect here with 4 different colors: wine, ash, moss, and tobacco. Throw it onto your footage to ramp up the style of your creative projects. This one is free to download if you have a Motion Array membership.

3. 8mm Film Overlay

This Super 8mm download is a wonderful 60s-style effect that will make your footage feel right at home with the Beatles and flared jeans.

Download 8mm Film Overlay by Austin Newman Now

4. 4K Film Grain

This loopable film grain is easy to apply to your entire video, just duplicate the file and play it back to back and continue the effect.

Download 4K Film Grain by Exploring Filmmaker Now

5. Free 4K Film Grain

Free 4K Film Grain

This lovely warm analog effect gets the best results when set to an overlay transparency effect. Simply drop the file on the timeline to get instant film grain on your footage.

Download Free 4K Film Grain by Spectrum Grades Now

6. 10 Free 4K Grain Overlays

This is a great bundle of grain overlays to create immediate film results. There are ten files in this pack so there’s bound to be something there that works for you.

Download 10 Free 4K Grain Overlays by RP Stock Now

7. 35mm Film Scan

35mm Film Scan

This is a fantastic resource for premium LUTs and effects, but scroll down to the bottom of the page to dig out some 4K film grain overlays based on 35mm film scans. Each clip is 10 seconds in duration and can be used in After Effects and Final Cut.

Download 35mm Film Scan by IWLTBAP Now

8. Super 8mm Film Template

This overlay template is a quick way to create Super 8mm footage with a vintage vibe. Great for giving modern video that dreamy, nostalgic feel.

Download Super 8mm Film Template by Player1505 Now

9. Free Super 8mm Film Grain

More Super 8mm film grain here, and it was too good not to include despite it only being available in 720p. Try applying it to other footage using the ‘Screen’ blending mode to give it a rich, authentic vibe.

Download Free Super 8mm Film Grain by Film Looks Now

10. Old Vintage Film Scratches

This is a pretty non-specific film effect but the dust and scratches are an effective way to instantly convert your footage into a vintage video.

Download Old Vintage Film Scratches by Videezy Now

11. 35mm Film Grain and Film Burns

35mm Film Grain and Film Burns

This site includes a couple of premium options, but the free 720p film grain and film burns will add layers of character to your work, and you can use them to create stylish transitions too.

Download 35mm Film Grain and Film Burns by Gorilla Grain Now

12. Red Cinema Grain

This subtle film grain is enough to add an extra level of richness to your footage, and you can download and start using it in just minutes directly from Edit With Light’s Google Drive link.

Download Red Cinema Grain by Edit With Light Now

13. Film Grain Overlays

Looking for 8mm, 16mm or 35mm? The choice is yours with these incredible free 4K film grain overlays. Why not download them all? Experiment with different blending modes to see what works best.

Download Film Grain Overlays by Resolver Tools Now

14. 35mm and Bad VHS

35mm and bad VHS grain

Grainzilla is offering 3 killer free downloads here – a 35mm grain overlay, a war film aesthetic and a very stylish beaten-up old VHS vibe. Perfect for your vintage video projects.

Download 35mm and Bad VHS by GrainZilla Now

15. 4K Film Overlays by Creative Film

A range of film scans here once again. Choose between 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm and apply it to your 4K footage to give it a warm, cinematic feel.

Download 4K Film Overlays by Creative Film Now

16. Grain Scan by David Torcivia

This is a beautiful, cinematic film grain from a seasoned colorist. Download it below but also check out his thoughts on grading with film grain in DaVinci Resolve.

Download Grain Scan by David Torcivia Now

17. Old Film Grain Overlay

This procedurally rendered old film grain isn’t the most realistic of options, but it still gives your footage a great vintage character.

Download Old Film Grain Overlay by Snowman Digital Now

18. 8mm Kodak

This 8mm Kodak grain is just the right subtle effect to add an extra layer of richness to your video.

Download 8mm Kodak by Harper Projector Now

19. Fuji 16mm by Pixel Tools

Fuji 16mm Film Grain Pack

This is a pack that contains 35mm, 16mm, and 8mm film grain, but the 35mm is a stand-out way of giving your footage a pulpy, cinematic look. Lay these files over your clips on the timeline and experiment with the blending modes to get the desired results.

Download Fuji 16mm by Pixel Tools Now

Part 2: How to Apply Film Grain to Your Video

So you’ve sifted through these options, picked a couple of favorites, and now you’re ready to use them in your video project. Great. How do we get started?

  1. Well, firstly, import the grain video file into Premiere Pro just like any other type of video.
  2. Drag the grain overlay on top of the footage you want to apply the effect to in the channel above.
  3. Select the grain clip and head to the Effects Control panel.
  4. In the Opacity tab, choose a blending mode from the drop-down menu. Have a play around with these until you find one you like. Generally, something like Screen works pretty well.
  5. See the results unfold in your preview window!

Digital video cameras have completely transformed the film and video industry. Previously, videos were recorded with rolls of film, which were expensive to manage and develop. Scratches, burns and moments of overexposure all showed up on the final video and were very difficult to manage and predict.

But there’s also a nostalgic charm to that kind of film. If there weren’t, there would not be such a huge part of the community providing free film grain overlays to make your content feel more worn. Every smartphone in the world now has the ability to record incredible, high-quality video footage, but film grain overlays can help restore something that felt a little lost along the way.