What camera settings should you use when shooting video? How do you avoid shaky footage? And how important is audio to a video, really? Here, we take you through the topics professional photographer and filmmaker Simeon Quarrie covered in parts 4 to 6 of his series of tutorials on filmmaking with a Canon EOS camera, which Canon recently released.
Click here for Part 1: What Every Beginner Must Know
4. How to expose for video?
Exposure settings were the theme of Filmmaking Tutorial 4, where Simeon Quarrie shared on how to determine what settings to use when shooting video with a DSLR camera.
First of all, use the image on the LCD screen on the back of the camera to check if exposure is adequate. The histogram display in Live View is especially convenient for this.
Shooting in Manual mode gives you the best control over the footage—it is Quarrie’s preferred mode. The shutter speed is the first thing he sets. Unlike still photography where you change the shutter speed settings with each shot you take, when shooting video, you should aim to keep the shutter speed consistent, generally at two times the frame rate. For instance, when shooting at a frame rate of 25 frames per second, shutter speed should be set at 1/50 second. Any shutter speed faster than that will result in an awkward, staccato effect. After setting the shutter speed, set the aperture. The wider the aperture (the smaller the f-number), the more light entering the lens, which makes the captured images brighter. Last of all, set the ISO speed.
Simeon then shares with us a useful tip for achieving a cinematic, shallow focus effect in bright sunlight. This is challenging to achieve because the amount of light often forces the use of a narrower aperture such as f/8, or even f/16, resulting in a deep focus effect. To counter this, he recommends using an ND (Neutral Density) filter to reduce the light entering the lens, so that you can shoot with a wider aperture.
Filmmaking Tutorial 4: How to expose for video?
5. Camera movement and stabilisation
In the 5th video tutorial, Simeon Quarrie talked about the importance of camerawork and camera stabilization.
To prevent motion blur and camera shake, we freeze our bodies when we photograph. However, this can be difficult when we are shooting movies handheld, especially for a long period of time.
To reduce unwanted shake when filming, it helps to use a lens with a built-in image stabilization mechanism, such as those with Canon’s IS technology. Cameras such as the EOS M5 come with 5-axis in-camera image stabilization, which is also active when you are shooting video.
If you are shooting from a fixed position, use a tripod or a monopod. A tripod is handy for taking panning or follow shots of a subject because it allows you to pan (move the camera horizontally) and tilt the camera. A video monopod allows you to move around quickly and also to pan or tilt. Meanwhile, a video camera slider is great shooting footage of a static objects, as it enables you to smoothly move the camera into, out of or to the left or right of a scene. For shooting while walking, using a gimbal system can help to keep the camera steady and reduce camera shake caused by movement.
When the subjects move within the frame, and when the camera itself moves, the resulting “moving visuals” makes the video more interesting.
Filmmaking Tutorial 5: Camera movement and stabilisation
6. The use of sound and music
In the 6th filmmaking video tutorial, Simeon Quarrie explained how sound has the power to stimulate audiences and capture their attention. It plays a major role in video that does not exist in photography. In fact, in video, visual and audio quality hold equal importance.
A camera’s internal microphone can pick up operating noise. For better audio quality, it is recommended to use an external microphone. There are two categories of such microphones—directional, and omnidirectional. Directional microphones pick up sound originating from a single direction, and are best for voice recording. Meanwhile, omnidirectional microphones pick up sounds from all angles at the same time, which make them ideal for recording ambient sounds such as the sounds of city life and of nature. Using such external microphones will help improve the quality of atmospheric sound and dialogue.
Music can shape how the audience interprets the scene. Background music can change the meaning of a visual, and adding sound effects into footage during the editing process can enhance the video. Together, these audio elements help to create atmosphere and drawing the viewer into the world of the story in the video.
Filmmaking Tutorial 6: The use of sound and music
There are altogether 10 tutorials by Simeon Quarrie on filmmaking. In the next article, we will learn more about how to select lenses and use them effectively, as well as techniques for editing video.
Filmmaking Tutorial 1: Why shoot video?
Filmmaking Tutorial 2: How to Craft a Story
Filmmaking Tutorial 3: The importance of Frame Rate and Resolution
Filmmaking Tutorial 4: How to expose for Video
Filmmaking Tutorial 5: Camera Movement and Stabilisation
Filmmaking Tutorial 6: The use of Sound and Music
Filmmaking Tutorial 7: Choosing Lenses
Filmmaking Tutorial 8: Staying in Focus
Filmmaking Tutorial 9: Editing Video
Filmmaking Tutorial 10: Conclusion
Here are some other SNAPSHOT articles on shooting video and movies:
Canon Singapore Announces Canon Log Firmware Upgrade for EOS 5D Mark IV
Introduction to EOS Movie Shooting for EOS 5D Mark IV Users (Part 1)
Introduction to EOS Movie Shooting for EOS 5D Mark IV Users (Part 2)
Convenient Movie Shooting Features on the EOS 80D
EOS 80D Test Shoot Review: Subject Tracking Performance during Movie Shooting
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