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Basic guide to shooting video


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Where is the best place to learn? I don't even understand shutter speed when it comes to video, for example.




I've learned so many things from this guy, have  a look, there are so many video tutorial you can learn from.

He is a photographer and he talks about how to take photos and stuff, but you can apply the same principles to video too.

Or just search on google for the video tutorials on how to shoot video, I am sure there are tons of stuff there.

I hope it helped.

Good luck!

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Guest fe4a3f5e8381673ce80017d29a8375f1

Yes, Im quite experienced with stills, but not with video... :)


Sorry, I meant which camera do you have.

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Im using an Sony A7s


That's a whole lot of camera for someone that doesn't even understand shutter speed as it pertains to video.



 I don't even understand shutter speed when it comes to video, for example.



Shutter speed is simple.  First figure out the frame rate you are using 23.976fps, 30fps, 60fps etc.  Then set the denominator of the shutter speed to twice the fps and leave it there.  That's it.  So 23.976fps means shutter speed should be about 1/48.  A substantial deviation from that rule can be done for artistic reasons.  I wouldn't worry about that at this stage though.


Control exposure with ISO, ND filters, and aperture.  Really though you should get into the habit of controlling exposure with just a variable ND or seperate ND filters.  Aperture should be only used for controlling depth of field.  A lot of cameras have optimal ISOs for various situations.  For example a lot of people use the BMPCC at ISO 800 exclusively.  On my T3i I try to use ISO 80 most of the time.  Obviously as the sun sets if you don't have controlled lighting you will have to bump up ISO.


Dave Dugdale has a ton of interesting videos online.  And he also sells beginners guides for Canon Rebels.  Honestly if I was just starting out I would buy a cheap used Canon t3i kit, throw magic lantern on there, and experiment with that.  It has a compressed codec and tons of moire and aliasing but they are dirt cheap.  Once I had kind of a clue what I was doing I would look for an upgrade.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

A few helping points, since you understand photography, keep in mind the video is just taking 24/30 photographs each second. Each of these photos has its exposure that's determined by the aperture (lens opening), the shutter speed (the period of time the photo gets taken) and the ISO (sensor sensitivty), and the ND filters (sunglasses) in front of the lens. Just like in photos, using a fast shutter speed will freeze motion in each photo, giving a crisp stuttering look, while using a slower shutter will resukt in more motion blur in each frame, giving a more fluid filmlike motion to the video. Also of course using a higher shutter decreases the exposure because each image is exposed very quickly and vice versa. The aperture has the same effect as in photographs to each frame, wider aperture = more exposure/light and shallower depth of field. ISO is also the same as in photographs to each frame, higher ISO, higher exposure and higher noise levels/lower image quality.

When you want to set exposure for example in a bright sunshiny day, if you want to maintain a shallow dof you open your aperture, and if you also want a fluid motion, you set the lowest shutter speed, and you set the ISO to the lowest 100, ifbthe image is still overexposed, and you can't darken it by closing the lens or increasing shutter or lowering ISO, this is where ND filters come in, they're sunglasses for your lens to cut down the amount of light when you need to maintain a low shutter speed and shallow depth of field.

For choosing exposure, I set my Zebras pattern for 100+ and over expose to the point just before the zebras show up on the brightest highlights, this is called Exposure to the Right (ETTR), it means exposing as bright as possible without clipping the highlights, and bringing down the exposure in post, this gives higher image quality and markedly less noise. But it does mean it need to be corrected in post. And remember in video recovering clipped highlighs is nearly impossible vs the raw stills, so protect those highlights!

Remember frame rates are the number of photographs taken each second. The film standard that's been used in cinema for ages is 24p. It gives the filmic motion rendering of film cameras we're used to. 25p is suitable for PAL countries and 30p is suitable for NTSC ones, 30p gives a live-vidoey feel to the motion rather than filmic, best used for events/news/broadcast. For getting a slow motion effect you shoot at a high frame rate of higher than 60p, then play it back at 30p, this gives a 2x slow motiom effect, etc .

Always use manual exposure because unlike photography you don't want your camera to change exposure in the middle of a video take, same with white balance, and focus, set them all manualy for consistency and fine control.

Because video comes at lower-quality compressed formats compared to raw photographs, there are many workaround to get the highest dynamic range and quality possible for post manipulation, one of these is LOG picture profiles, which decrases the contrast significantly to avoid having baked-in crushed black level of clipped white. It increases the black and lowers the whites = less contrast = higher dynamic range = image that looks very flat and dull and not suitable for viewing without adding contrast and colour in editing. So use S-LOG 2 (picture profile no. 7 on the A7s) if you want the highest dynamic range and image quality possible and you are planning to colour correct the footage significantly. Use the normal contrasty-non flat profiles for good images straight off the card without kuch editing in post for fast jobs. It's also a standard in video to turn down the picture profile sharpness levels to the minimum as it gives an artificial over-sharpened image that doesn't look filmic. In brief just experiment with picture profiles, they make a huge difference in the video quality unlike raw stills.

Unlike photography there's audio involved in the project, and it more important than the video visuals. So make sure you invest a bit of your time and money learning how to get good audio. Buy an external cheap Zoom H1 recorder for a starter and sync the sound with the video in post. The 100$ H1 has better audio quality than any expensive video camera can give, if you're willing to spend the time to sync the audio.

After adjusting the suitable picture profile, you just set your framing, set expsoure to the right, adjust white balance in kelvins, adjust focus manually with the focus assist (peaking and magnification), and press record. And get the look you want later in post.
If you're going to move during the shot, make sure you use a handheld rig of some sort for stabilization or at least a lens with image stabilization, it works wonders for handheld video shooting and gets rid of the ugly shake. Also of course remember to keep adjusting your focus manually while moving!

Hope this helps at all.

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For someone starting out that is probably a bit much.  You can set your camera to 23.976 fps and a shutter speed of 1/48 and win an Academy Award.  I don't change the shutter speed on my camera from one month to the next.  The only thing that forces me to change shutter speed is a change in my fps.  So 30fps necessitates a shutter speed of 1/60.


And S-log is a big no, no for beginners.  Just set the camera to some neutral profile and try and get things right in the camera.  Shoot like you are shooting jpegs.  Just jpegs with a bit less contrast and saturation.  S-log and really flat picture profiles are for people that know how to grade.  That's advanced level stuff.


Sharpening depends on the camera.  I wouldn't robotically turn it way down.  Some cameras need a bit of sharpening before 8bit compression.   I don't know about the a7s.  Frankly that is more of a tweak.  I would just say don't go crazy with sharpening like people do in photography.  But if things are softer than you like bump it up a bit.


You can skip sound initially and just concentrate on the visuals.  There are plenty of movies on vimeo that have no dialog.  They just have music added in post.  Pick one of your favorite MP3s that goes with the movie and drop it on the timeline in your editor.  That's it for sound.


Start off real simple and master the basics.  Then add one small thing and master that.  Then another and another.  Don't try and do a bunch of creative shutter speeds, external sound, S-log, etc.  Just getting the camera set up with basic settings and holding it straight and steady will be work enough.  As was mentioned a shoulder rig, monopod, tripod and/or IS lenses are a big help.  I use a <$100 sturdy tripod a lot.  I don't do pans and tilts with it because it isn't smooth.  But you would be amazed what you can do with a cheap tripod, cheap monopod, and an IS lens.

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Thank you so much for all this. What is frustrating me a bit about the A7s is that I'd like a very good stabilised fast lens I can use for stills and video. Assuming I am shooting video in APS-C video mode most of the time, shall I just use one of the NEX lenses?

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Sadly there's no cheap subscription that adds Premiere Pro, like there is for Lightroom/Photoshop. So you have to go full price in the Creative Cloud, or use something else...


For grading (if you shoot s-log for example), you can try Davinci Resolve. It's free and very powerful. Lots of tutorials on Vimeo/Youtube. I think the newest version also has some basic editing options.

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