Video for Photographers

From Photography to Videography...

Very few people have never shot video. But have they shot video with confidence?

Practiced stills photographers have control over every element of their shot: the colour space, recording format, exposure, ISO, focus, iris, focal depth, white balance, lighting and framing. But if you’re now making the move into video, do you know where to start? What are the most important settings to control manually? What’s likely to trip you up and make your video look amateurish? Here are a few pointers.

5 Top Tips

  1. Craft the Shot
    The first thing you need to do to get better video is to use a camera in manual mode. The reason is shutter speed. If you want your video to look natural and ‘cinematic’ you need to shoot at 1/50 if you are shooting a 25p or 1/100 if shooting at 50p. If you shoot with a faster shutter speed your video will look unnatural and jittery, too slow and all your motion will blur.
  2. Control the Light
    If you are filming on a bright beach and you want to shoot with shallow depth of field using a wide aperture you will need another way of reducing the light levels so your video isn’t overexposed. A Neutral Density filter mounted in front of the lens will help you get the right exposure at the right shutter speed.
  3. Motion Control
    If your camera has the option, variable frame rates are very useful. Shooting at faster frame rates and playing back at slower frame rates make motion look more majestic; slower frame rates played back at faster speeds speed up action making footage more exciting.
  4. Lensmanship
    The look of your video is very also very dependent on the lenses you use. ‘Fast’ lenses have a very wide aperture which means lovely shallow depth of field is possible. A good lens adds character to video. PS Don’t Zoom. Even if your lens can zoom, your eyes can’t and nothing says amateur video like a zoom!
  5. Get the Look
    Some cameras are much better than others at the cinema look. Cameras that can record 10-bit, LOG or RAW video files can produce footage which is much more flexible in the edit stage. It works on the same principle as shooting stills in RAW, as opposed to JPEG. It simply means you can make your footage much more filmic. Sure it uses more storage space, but the results speak for themselves. There is a reason why TV drama and films are nearly always shot ‘flat’ but with the free DaVinci Resolve software, you can re-colour your shots to create exactly the look you want.

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