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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Robbie Carman: So earlier Rich we talked about the exposure triangle and there were three parts to it. There was shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, and here we are going to talk a little bit more in-depth about aperture. Richard Harrington: Yeah, the very first thing I would do before I monkeyed with aperture is set my camera to the default shutter speed. Typically, what this is going to be is if you're shooting a 30th a second, it's going to be 160th. So 13 frames per second equals 160th. If you're shooting 24, it's going to be technically a 48th; you only have a 50th as an option. Robbie Carman: Yeah, and a lot of people refer to this as the 180 degree shutter rule where your shutter speed is going to be double that of your frame rate.
So if you're shooting, as Rich said, 30 frames a second, 160th for your shutter speed. Shoot in 24, 148th or as close as you can get to 150th. Richard Harrington: Yeah. So I've got that locked down already. I am looking at this here. Let me just get my shutter speed correct. I may have to jump out temporarily and I've got this set to a 50th because I am shooting at 24 frame per second. Robbie Carman: Great. Richard Harrington: And if you look at the shot here you will notice that it is pretty dark. Robbie Carman: Yeah, pretty dark. I can't really see anything. Richard Harrington: Yeah, and that's because, well, first off, I'm on ISO 3200 like, oh, well with that much sensitivity, should you be seeing it? Well, I've got my f-stop adjusted here all the way in this case to f/32.
So I am using a lens here that has a manual ring and I can start to click through this. And as I change that, you're going to notice that with each setting, it's showing more in. Robbie Carman: So as you're getting brighter just to be clear, you're actually opening up the lens going to a lower f-stop number. So you were at 32 and now you're at whatever it is, 10 or 12 or whatever it might be, as you go down to lower numbers, that's going to let more light into the camera. Richard Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: And that's a perfect place to start when you have an underexposed shot.
Letting a little bit more light in by adjusting aperture. Richard Harrington: And one of the things I want to point out here is in the overlays you are seeing on the camera there, it's saying 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, in some lenses they don't accurately communicate with the camera body. In this case, I am using a lens with a manual ring and it's giving me that control as I step through, but it's not handing off the correct data, because this lens doesn't actually have a computer chip to tell it. Robbie Carman: That's a really good point, Rich. Some lenses don't offer actually any aperture control on the actual lens, like this guy right here. No aperture control.
Instead what has to happen is that the aperture is adjusted on the camera itself, and it's going to be a little problematic if you're doing something where you need to change the aperture dynamically, because as you click, well, there is a click. A little vibration going on with the camera and stuff like that. Richard Harrington: I like the ability to just be able to adjust with one hand aperture and focus, with the same hand on the lens, which I'm usually holding there for some stability anyways. Robbie Carman: Right. And this lens, for example, like your lens has a manual aperture ring, so you can actually dial through those apertures and nice and smooth, and this particular one clicks a little bit, but you can actually get these lens declicked as well so they are nice and smooth as you are adjusting aperture.
Richard Harrington: I think one of the things to realize with aperture is that there is a lot of variety out there. For example, this is an expensive zoom lens, a 70 to 200 vibration reduction, lots of great things. What's nice about this lens is it has an f- stop of 2.8, which is really pretty fast for a big heavy zoom lens, and what's unique is as I adjust the zoom, the aperture does not change. On the other hand, this is a moderately priced lens; not a cheap lens, not the kit lens, and it goes from 28 to 300 millimeters.
Well, at 28 it's a 3.5 lens, at 3 millimeters it's a 5.6. Robbie Carman: Right. So you have variable aperture lens and that's actually really important thing to keep in play that because you might have a shot that you framed up and then you say zoom into something, all of a sudden it gets darker and you are going, why is it getting darker? That's because you have a variable aperture lens. Richard Harrington: Well, and here is why. Notice as we change the zoom level here, let's just unlock this, and we start to zoom that out, what you are going to see is a dramatic change in the length of the lens and that's going to change it's sensitivity to light. As opposed to a more expensive zoom lens here, as I'm changing the zoom lens.
Robbie Carman: All happening inside. Richard Harrington: Everything is happening inside and the lens isn't changing expanding or contracting. Robbie Carman: Absolutely. Richard Harrington: So that makes a huge difference. Now if we look at the shot here, one of things I recommend is I am going to back off the ISO just a little bit here to sort of a default setting, because 3200 is going to be too noisy. Robbie Carman: Pretty high. Yeah. Richard Harrington: So what I have to decide is if I'm here as let's say ISO 400, that's a little low for indoor shooting. So I'll bump that up, but let's rock that there, and as we change the aperture and it gets more sensitive, the depth of field gets shallower.
So notice in this case that the foreground candle could be in focus while the background is out. Robbie Carman: So you're really doing two things. As you are adjusting aperture you're letting more light into the camera, which is good for dark shots that you want to lighten up, but you are also adjusting the depth of field. The lower the number you are going to have more blurry backgrounds, stuff in the foreground is going to be more in focus. If you go to higher numbers, everything is going to be in focus. Richard Harrington: And what I recommend in that case is if you change aperture, take advantage, use the Zoom button on your camera, adjust the framing so you can see what it is that you want in focus.
Robbie Carman: Then adjust focus from there. Richard Harrington: Then check focus when you're zoomed in. Like notice there, see how we've got the candle in focus, those knobs on the front? Richard Harrington: Well, as I change my aperture there, notice how even the shot--yes, it got darker, but the candle behind it is-- Robbie Carman: Is now more in focus. Richard Harrington: More in focus. So you have to decide. Don't automatically go for the widest open lens, because it might be too shallow of a depth of field. So in this case, I am going to go in here and I am set to about 5-6 there, which is okay, and we've got good focus.
I've both the foreground and background object in focus. I am happy with that. Now that I've settled on the aperture then we are going to move on to ISO.
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