Is video more tolerant of higher ISOs?

Discussion in 'Filmmaking' started by Replytoken, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I normally shoot stills at ISO 800 or less unless I have absolutely no choice, or I am looking for a certain effect. I am not a fan of noise, but it is better to have a noisy image that is in focus than the alternative. As I am new to video and on a steep learning curve, I am wondering if 720p/30fps video more or less friendly to ISO settings above 200 than still images?

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    It depends on how video is implemented in hardware.

    Take the Canon DSLRs. They record video by doing something called "line skipping", which is what it sounds like. They simply select a gridded subset of pixels from the entire sensor, and use those to generate the output. The GH2, on the other hand, does a full downsample, using every photosite on the sensor to generate its image -- except in ETC mode, where it takes a crop.

    In the Canon approach, you get no high-ISO benefits. In the GH2 approach, you get huge high-ISO benefits (excl. ETC), as if you were resizing all your images to 1080p, which is a dramatic pixel reduction. This is why, when you look at the outputs, GH2 video is sharper and cleaner at almost any settings than Canon. On the GH2, you can comfortably drive the video at ISO 5000 without much pain, maybe just a kiss of NR in post but maybe not even that.

    You don't mention what specific camera you're interested in; I think all of the m43 cameras use downsampling for video but I'm not sure. Video comes much more naturally to the live-view sensors.
     
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  3. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Thank you for the detailed answer. It seems the more I learn, the less I know. Regarding bodies, I was primarily thinking about the E-PL2 and the GF3, neither of which are known for being good camera bodies for video. but, they are quite compact and easy to carry at almost all times.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  4. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Also, a video seems less noisy has the frames keep changing evening out the random noise. A single frame from a video will be noisier than the perception of the video itself.
     
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