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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.
Richard Harrington: So we've been talking about shutter speed a lot, and people might be saying, why you still talking about shutter speed? To recap, you're going to take your frame rate, multiply it by two and put a one on top. So 30 frames per second becomes 30 times two or 60, or a 60th and that's a good rule. But I know you Rob, rules are meant to be-- Robbie Carman: Yeah, broken. I've been doing it since I was a little kid to my parent's chagrin. Yeah, I mean the thing about shutter speed and the 180 degree shutter rule, it's a good rule of thumb to get a sort of natural motion reproduction in a shot.
But it's a rule of thumb. It's not something that you have to stick to 100%. If you are just starting out shooting DSLR video, I would well, stick with the rule of thumb. You are going to get better results that way and be happy with your experience. But as you start working in very stringent situations, you can nudge that shutter speed a little bit to give you different results. And there is generally two ways that we go obviously; up or down from that standard shutter speed. So first, if we go down what's the effect going to be? Richard Harrington: Well, if we go to a slower shutter speed, more light is going to get in the camera.
In the case here, we're talking about a footage shot that is too dark. So this is desirable, but there is a little bit of a tradeoff. Robbie Carman: Yeah. Richard Harrington: You're going to get some motion blurring. So if you are doing handheld camera work, this is going to make it look more out of focus and smeary. This is where being on a tripod becomes critical, because you're going to want to have that stable platform and minimize camera vibration or shake. Robbie Carman: In this case, it's fine for something like a still life where we were trying to, to get it to be a little brighter. So if you slowed your shutter speed a little bit, you'll notice that the image actually gets a little brighter.
Now we're not seeing it here, because nothing is really moving, but if you had done that same thing, say outside shooting cars going down the street, the other thing that you would see is a little bit more motion blur, some smearing, as things were moving across the screen. Sometimes that's kind of a cool effect. Richard Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: You want to get those headlights really kind of blurring with each other. Other times it tends to sort of soften up the image and people kind of go, oh, that doesn't look so great. Richard Harrington: It looks good when shooting night time traffic. It doesn't look good when shooting a basketball game.
Robbie Carman: Exactly, exactly. Richard Harrington: So you're going to have to find that. The other way is if we take the shutter speed the opposite way and we make it faster, the image gets darker. Now this is also another way when doing bright outdoor shooting to control exposure. We'll explore that more later. I think the key to realize here is that unlike photography where you could have a really fast shutter, you're not going to go below a 30th in this case. Robbie Carman: No. Richard Harrington: Because I can't. I'm shooting 30 frames a second. Robbie Carman: You can't, and going back to increasing the shutter speed, one of the problems with it, again, it's fine on something like a still life here, not the exact effect we want, because we wanted this image to actually brighter, because we're talking about lightening images.
But if you were to go to a faster shutter speed and there were things moving in the shot, guess what's going to happen. People are going to sort of start having--objects are going to have a staccato type rhythm to them. Richard Harrington: It's going to start looking like stop motion. Robbie Carman: Yeah, and that might not be desirable. It could be an effect that you like, but most of the time that's not desirable. Richard Harrington: Yep. All right, so that pretty much breaks down the exposure triangle. Throughout this shooting you notice that we were using prime lenses. Prime lenses are the type of thing that are really worth investing in, because they are generally going to be faster than a zoom lens.
So if you're doing interviews or shooting concert or lowlight photography, there are some great things about prime lenses, really the performance at lowlight, but they don't zoom. So you are going to be moving more with your feet. I think another thing worth pointing out is that you can use older lenses. This is a 30-year-old prime lens that I got used at a camera shop and while it's on my Nikon body, I could pop this off and with a simple adapter ring. Robbie Carman: Yeah. Richard Harrington: Put it over on Rob's Canon body there. Robbie Carman: Just take this little adapter ring, pop it on, and I could use it on the Canon as well. Richard Harrington: The big thing there though is that you have to make sure that the prime lenses actually have controls on the outside-- rings that you can manipulate--because when you use those adapters, it's very difficult because the computer in the camera won't talk to the lens.
So you need those manual controls. Plus I like the manual controls anyways, because it gives me greater flexibility to make an adjustment right on the shot without having to jump into a memory system. I could just rack through and find it as opposed to sitting there going dial, dial, dial, dial, dial. Robbie Carman: Yeah, I know that's a great feature to have as well. Richard Harrington: Yup. So it's all about balance. Looking at an exposure triangle and remember that the three factors work together. You're going to use aperture to control the depth of field, typically an artistic adjustment that you're going to set first, and then you're going to use ISO to adjust the sensitivity.
Now both of those are going off of the assumption that your shutter speed was locked. If you still can't get the results you need when shooting in low light, you've got two choices: cheat a little bit and adjust the shutter speed or do the more professional thing and I know it's going to sound strange, add some light to the scene. Just a little bit of light can go a long way. While these cameras do work in better low light conditions, light is what gives you that artistic control and allows you to really create the type of look you want right in the camera.
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