higher ISO noise as an aesthetic


Hi guys, it's been a while and I can see these boards are not very active.
I have liked the look of the Panasonic Varicam LT at 1000-1600 ISO using V-709 Scene File and was considering using higher ISO to get some noise as an aesthetic.
No I am not doing ANY editing or post-production. I am handing off REC.709 baked-in color video files to be edited. So no I am not denoising and adding film-grain in post.

Yes I plan on doing some tests to have that noise give an appearance of grain in-camera, and also using a few codecs (AVC-LongG50/AVC-LongG25 as well as AVCIntraLT) as my client is not super picky about the already lower quality codec they are requesting for 1080p/REC.709 baked-in (since they transcode all to 720/60p using MPEG2 422 50Mbps before editing), and also for using in-camera noise reduction for less RGB color noise but still texture.
with a Super-35 sized sensor I had read that BASE ISO of 5000 give a nice grain, then using BASE ISO 5000 and boost it up while using all ND filters indoor on sit-down interviews.

Last edited:


Well-known member
Are there cameras that let you shoot at (really) high ISO’s and still look good? Yes. But I’ve never thought that the noise introduced by shooting at high ISO/gain looked like film grain or was a desirable aesthetic.

I guess ultimately it can come down to the “art” argument and it’s whatever you and/or your client likes. Personally, I still try to shoot as clean as possible and let them monkey with it in post, especially if they’re wanting to do things that may simulate a “degraded“ image(not that some film grain can’t look good).


This week we did some 1920x1080 HD camera tests with Varicam LT and high ISOs with different internal codecs.
not enough noise at ISO 4000 so
Base ISO 5000 and then 5000, 6400, 8000 had some really nice noise in lower mid shadows and shadows.
I tried out different codecs
Apple Pro Res LT
AVC Long GOP G50
AVC Long GOP G25

you could see a little macroblocking in solid grey and black areas using those 3 codecs.
in general in the shadows I think with noise reduction it may look more like film grain. I turned on and off the NR (Noise Reduction) but it didn't do anything.
I look up the manual now and see why.
very specific caveats:
for ISO5000
Switches the noise reduction effect in the range of ISO5000 to ISO12800
This will be in the range between ISO2500 and ISO6400 when [MAIN CODEC] is set to [AVC-Intra2K-LT]/[AVC-Intra-LT], and [MAIN PIXEL] is set to [2048x1080 CROP]/[1920x1080 CROP]
The range is withing [HIGH] in the [GAIN MODE] setting when the [MODE] setting in [EI] is set to [dB]

I was not using 1920x1080 normal...._NOT_ cropped.