How Auto ISO Can be a Valuable Tool for Filmmakers and Videographers - Trust Me Shops
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How Auto ISO Can be a Valuable Tool for Filmmakers and Videographers

How Auto ISO Can be a Valuable Tool for Filmmakers and Videographers

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ISO can be a sticky subject when it comes to video. It is used in photography when you have a great amount of control over your aperture, shutter, and exposure, and when you understand the lighting of your environment.

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ISO can be a sticky subject when it comes to video. It is used in photography when you have a great amount of control over your aperture, shutter, and exposure, and when you understand the lighting of your environment. But when used in video, if used too often, it can be more of an enemy than a friend to your footage. The most controversial setting is auto ISO, causing you to lose control over your ISO setting—and it can have mixed results. However, there are times when auto ISO can be your friend.

What ISO Is and What It Is Not

Technically, ISO stands for "International Organization for Standardization," the body that publishes global measurement standards. It originated to describe photo film stock ratings, when you'd have to choose your film speed based on the amount of light you'd be using and how you'd have liked it exposed. If you were shooting outdoors during the day, you'd choose ISO 100 or 200 film stock. If indoors, you might choose ISO 400 or 800 depending on the light, what lens you were using, and so on.
Similar to pre-chosen film stock, digital ISO doesn't technically involve exposure, since its functions take place post-shutter, post sensor, and it does not directly relate to how much light is let into the camera. It is basically a digital offset, or command, for what the sensor "prints" to the recorded image. In the old days when video was analog and sensors were small, the gain function served the purpose of amplifying the video signal electronically, rather than using exposure tools. With the arrival of DSLR technology, and now that digital cinema cameras are in the hands of industry professionals, the old film stock term stuck. So, if you have a previous understanding of gain, it should translate easily to understanding digital ISO.

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