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Best ASA settings

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Gerardo Flores
Best ASA settings
on Jun 18, 2011 at 4:03:57 pm

Hey guys Im quite confused

When Im making a shoot for video it is some standard to work with the ASA?
I mean some post here recommend use 320 in red cameras and a friend told me 100 in canon 5D.

My questions is:
It is there any problem using a higher ASA in my footages???
I mean I know that if is low light im gonna get some noise there if
the scene has low light ...
but why not to use the whole range of ASA that my camera has to play?
Shall I shot always in 100 ASA ??? That mean that Im gonna need a light kit almost
in every inside footage...

And on the other hand what if I need to close the diaphragm to get a more focused backgrounds or to opened to have a deep field...

Please some advices.


learning after effects

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Rick Wise
Re: Best ASA settings
on Jun 18, 2011 at 5:07:14 pm

Your 5D can bet set to very high ASA values, and as a result you can shoot in very dim light. The trade off will be more noise and less saturation of colors.

Every video camera with variable ASA has a built-in "best" ASA. But one can usually push that number up or down a bit, sometimes quite a bit, before the images is hurt.

To figure out your "best" ASA for your 5D, and also the range to which you can push things, shoot tests. Simple as that. Do the work yourself instead of relying on the word of others. You will win twice over that way.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
part-time instructor lighting/camera
Academy of Art University/Film and Video (grad school)

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Gerardo Flores
Re: Best ASA settings
on Jun 18, 2011 at 7:19:37 pm

Hi Rick

I have done some testing already but i cant see any difference
Just NOISE reduction when Im using less ASA in dark environment

Thats why Im asking if there is any other detail where I must pay attention???

learning after effects

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Stevo Chang
Re: Best ASA settings
on Jun 30, 2011 at 1:05:57 am

Yeah -- it's a trade-off between noise/desaturation and low-light setting.

My standards tend to be -- on the 5D, I try to shoot no higher than 400ASA. But in low-light settings when i have to open my aperture wide open (which is often), i notice that there is still quite a bit of noise present.

The other factor contributing to noise is the CRI (Color Range Index) or quality of light. So if you use an Arri Fresnel or any studio-quality light for that matter, they tend to be a higher CRI (btwn 90-100) which is what you want to be shooting in. But a sodium-chloride street lamp, for instance has a much lower CRI (btwn 20-30) -- and I've noticed that my subjects in lower CRI-quality lights tend to be much noisier, let alone the color shift associated with those lights.

To trim down on the noise, I tend to de-noise it in After Effects, which helps to a certain degree.

But yes, generally speaking, you want to be shooting at a slower ASA with high CRI-quality lights.

Hope this helps?

Director | Writer | DP | VFX Sup |
Aspiring Carpenter | Unintentional 1-man Crew

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