The Danger of High ISO

nowSo, you’re at a gig and there is barely any lighting. For a beginner, your instant reaction would be to go to your ISO settings and crank it up, but what you don’t know is, is that cranking up your ISO can ruin your footage?

WHAT IS ISO? ISO or International Standards Organization is the measurement of the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor. The higher the number, the more sensitive the sensor becomes to light. However, some sensors are only designed to detect a certain amount of light. Going above the recommended amount of ISO can lead to false or artificial light and noise. Nikon has a problem with their cameras when it comes to using high ISO numbers. In the Nikon cameras that I have seen and tested, if the ISO is too high the images begin to turn green. YUCK!!!

WHAT OTHER OPTIONS DO YOU HAVE IN LOW LIGHT? I covered a little bit of this topic in an earlier blog post, but I will mention it again. BEFORE you touch your ISO setting, I strongly suggest you lower your shutter speed no lower than 1/30th  (if you are shooting at 30 frames per second). Make sure your aperture is wide open to its lowest number.

WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU ALREADY HAVE GRAINY FOOTAGE FROM ISO? To be honest, if colors are blown out in your footage, it will be a difficult process to get those colors back to normal. I will share how to color correct properly in a video later. However, when it comes down to noise, there is an excellent plugin for your video editing software called “Neat Video.” It saved a lot of my footage when I used too much of the ISO gains.

Remember that onboard lighting is must for emergencies. Always ask your client ahead of time, how the lighting will be at the shoot and if you can, check it out for yourself! Good luck and have fun!

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