Because of its higher contrast, noise is much more visible in HDR – a fact ignored by camera reviewers – and what may be acceptable in SDR might very well turn out to be unsatisfactory when mastering in PQ ST 2084. CVP shoots their B-roll with the Komodo set to ISO 250 for the cleanest image possible, so naturally we just had to try it out for ourselves. Recording at lower ISOs redistributes more of the sensor’s dynamic range below middle gray while decreasing noise, which is what we generally want when shooting interiors or moody, low-key scenes.
As you can see from the before and after shots of the waveform monitor in DaVinci Resolve, we didn’t go crazy with ETTR, just giving the sensor as much light as necessary.
Below is a screenshot of the shadows in the folds of the curtains with no noise reduction applied, enlarged 999%. This is one of the things we love most about the Komodo: there is no in-camera noise reduction and the noise doesn’t look over-processed and plastic-y like other RAW-ish codecs.
And here is the same frame with minimal noise reduction applied, a great result. Applying any more than minimal chroma noise reduction to a7s III ProRes RAW only made the noise clump together, making it look even worse.