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Industry Tips: What is Native ISO?

Posted on Fri, Mar 3, 2017

    

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What is Native ISO?

 

Well, let’s start with what ISO stands for.

 

ISO is the acronym for International Organisation for Standardization. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

ISO is a camera’s way of brightening an image digitally, or the “Sensitivity” of the camera’s sensor. 

These ISO settings, when placed at a high number, will often cause “Noise” or “Grain” to your footage, like the images below. 

In most cases, the main goal is to keep your ISO at a low level, but what happens when you are told to keep your ISO settings native to the camera you are using? Will it still be grainy keeping the ISO settings at, lets say 850 (Canon C100’s Native ISO), when it could be lower? The answer is no.

 

Native ISO is the baseline setting your camera is set at to achieve the most detail out of your image. Going above or below this setting will digitally un-amplify or amplify the sensor’s sensitivity to the light it is capturing.

 

Keeping your ISO at the camera’s native is very important but you won’t always be able to do this, especially in run and gun situations when lighting is scarce. In these cases it is best to keep a happy medium with your shutter speed and ISO settings. Keeping your shutter speed fairly low will increase the amount of time your sensor reads the light coming into the lens, therefore brightening the image and allowing you to keep the ISO relatively low.

 

Be aware that setting your shutter speed at a low level is not an ideal way of brightening your image, you should always be looking for the best light around you in order to avoid compromising your video quality.

 

Having a low shutter speed will brighten your image at the cost of increased motion blur.  If you are planning to have a lot of movement in your shots, It is recommended that you keep your shutter speed at least double your frame rate, i.e 24fps(Frames Per Second) = 48 shutter speed (1/50 with most DSLRs). This will keep your footage looking natural and fluid.

 

You can find more on Frame rate and Shutter speed on Nofilmschool’s article below.

 

http://nofilmschool.com/2015/09/how-shutter-speeds-frame-rates-change-look-feel-of-film

 

Native ISO will vary depending on the camera you use, and is just another piece of information you will use as a guideline to help you get the best quality out of your productions. So do your research, and get out there and make some art!

 

Topics: native iso, ISO, camera techniques, video production, Digital Media, Digital Media Arts, industry tips

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