As I reported back in October last year ISO is confusing and Alister Chapman has just verified this with a blog article on ISO.
For many years video camera operators only had a gain setting and due to relatively noisy cameras it was ingrained into you not to go above 0dB, so extra light was used indoors to achieve this goal.
People like to impress and think they are technically confident like a so called “Director” who told me to switch my Sony FS7 to Slog as thats the preferred setting…why…did he have a clue why he was asking me to do this…no, only that someone in his past had told him it was “better”.
So now we have a band of so called evangelist camera operators who talk about ISO rather than dBs because its “Cinematic speak”…”Oh I produce films not video”…sorry aren’t you using a video camera !!! I think the term “Digital Cinema” probably suits what we are trying to achieve these days…thank you David.
Remember when you use a film camera your ISO or ASA is fixed, usually at 125 ASA to give you less grain thats why in Cine EI mode on a Sony FS7 you can’t adjust the ISO when its in that mode. The Sony FS5 on the other hand has not got Cine EI, only Slog, but you can still play about with the ISO which you can’t do with a cine camera.
Unless your camera takes good old ASA speed rated film…you are still making a video. “Oh but its 24p”…hard cheese give me 50p anytime, in fact Nolab are just about to launch the digital film cartridge for all you film buffs.
Here we have the Nolab Super 8mm “film’ cartridge at the heart of the Nolab Digital Super 8 Cartridge is a tiny but powerful 5 megapixel image sensor similar to the one in your smartphone. Combined with a custom glass objective lens, the sensor focuses on a ground glass image plane pressed against the camera’s film gate. By using a 5 megapixel sensor we can capture 720p HD footage at the native Super 8 aspect ratio of 4:3.
Processors integrated into the image sensor are able to process and encode the footage in real time to a removable SD card. Optionally the same processors can apply one of two predefined Film Look color correction filters to the footage.
That sounds simple enough, To allow the Nolab cartridge’s image sensor to synchronize with the camera’s shutter, a unique sensor had to be developed. It’s this design that allows the cartridge to work properly in any camera at any frame rate up to 60 fps.
Back to ISO…If you work mainly as I do with rec 709 stick to dB and you won’t go wrong, 0dB is the world standard setting for the best, quietest pictures your video, cinematic camera can produce.
“Oh but my Sony FS5 is not so good in low light” fine you have 3 options…
1. Boost the gain
2. Add extra light
3. Use a lens with better low light capabilities like an f1.8 constant aperture lens.
Unfortunately because some of the cinematic rantings get through we get a second set of guidelines called ISO which in the words of Alister Chapman is indeed meaningless, so like lemmings we all listen to those ranting on about cinematic this and “must have 24p” that, we have a legacy of two crafts joining forces and confusing the hell out of each other.
If you want the “film” look then use film and stop this utter nonsense of pretending a video camera will produce film when it can’t, it may produce a cinematic look but thats not film.
Kodak are reintroducing Super 8mm film for all you film buffs the Kodak Super 8 Revival Initiative reaches far beyond the introduction of a new camera. The company has built a roadmap that includes a range of cameras, film development services, post production tools and more. “It is an ecosystem for film” said Jeff Clarke, Eastman Kodak Chief Executive Officer. “Following the 50th anniversary of Super 8, Kodak is providing new opportunities to enjoy and appreciate film as a medium.”
Film has generated huge buzz in Hollywood recently as the chosen medium for award-winning movie directors and blockbuster movies. Now the Kodak Super 8 Revival Initiative is being applauded by the industry’s top directors, many of whom got their start on Super 8 film.
Kodak “Shooting Analogue has never been so easy. When you purchase film you will be buying the film, processing and digital transfer. The lab will send you your developed film back and email you a password to retrieve your digital scans from the cloud so you can edit and share in any way you choose.”
Now we shall see the men from the boys, ASA ratings input into a light meter, no image stabilisation and about 3 minutes of film per cartridge and no sound track. The cost of buying and getting your Super 8mm film cartridge processed is expected to be between $50 to $75 US.
I have been fortunate to see and test over 25 camcorders over the last few years and have come to realise that sensor size dictates to a greater degree how noisy a camera will be so going by my rule of thumb…
3 Chip 1/3″ camcorders use NR circuits to try and mask chip noise, 1″ single chip camcorders are less noisy at 0dB and give a better shallow depth of field, 3 chip 2/3″ perform a lot better than 1/3″ and tend to be better in low light and super 35mm sensors tend to be able to boost the gain way beyond the smaller sensor cameras and have exceptional depth of field properties. The one thing that is the same with all these cameras is 0dB the same cannot be said about ISO ratings.
For more information on the new Kodak film service: http://www.kodak.com/ek/us/en/Consumer/Products/Super8/default.htm?CID=go&idhbx=super8
More reading from Alister Chapman go here : http://www.xdcam-user.com/2016/01/iso-fiasco/http://www.xdcam-user.com/2016/01/iso-fiasco/
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