A very popular use for Sony mirrorless cameras is to use it for recording video. What are the settings that you need to know when recording video with a Sony mirrorless camera? In this video, author Richard Harrington walks you through how to adjust the movie record settings on a Sony mirrorless camera.
- Shooting video on a Sony camera is a great way to capture high quality video and Sony actually has a long legacy of shooting video. Now, the thing is, is it can be a little bit more challenging than if you're use to using a traditional video camera, but you will find a lot of available training in the online library to learn more. I invite you to check out the series called DSLR Video Tips, it'll help you go deeper. Now, all of the Sony cameras do have the ability to capture high quality video, most of them will support regular 1080p video and some of the newer cameras are actually capable of shooting 4K directly in the camera, so depending upon the age of your camera, you may find different features available.
All right, let's talk about some of the key options here. One of the first things to check is that you are in Movie Recording mode, while it's possible to shoot video in one of the other modes, you'll get the best performance in a Movie Recording mode, so make sure you get that set. This way, when we press the Movie button on the back of the camera, it's going to actually start and stop recording, you should see a dedicated button. You also have the ability to map the regular shutter button to start and stop the video recording inside your menus.
All right, let's go ahead and walk through some of these options here. In Manual mode, I want to adjust my settings. First up, I'm taking a look here at the overall shutter speed, if you have a slower shutter speed, more light is let into the camera, however, the action starts to look really blurry. On the other hand, if we go with a very fast shutter speed, less light comes into the camera, but we see a bit smoother motion.
Typically speaking, you're going to go with something around a 60th of a second, now in this case, the levels are a little bit dark, looking at the shot, it seems a bit underexposed. Now, I have a few choices here, depending upon my lens, I may be able to adjust the aperture. In this case, I'm using a manual lens, so it has a dedicated aperture ring, as I go to a smaller aperture, which is the bigger number, in this case, F16, less light is coming in the camera, if I open that up, in this case, all the way to 1.6, it's very shallow depth of field, but lots of light comes in.
Let's split the difference to start here and we'll go to F5.6, but the shot's a bit dark, so I'm going to press and choose the ISO settings here and increase the sensitivity of the camera's sensor, as I open that up you see more light comes in. All right, let's check a few more settings, we'll press the Menu button here and take a look at the second tab. In this case, this is all of the video recording modes, you'll notice that I've been working in Manual Exposure mode, but if you choose this, you can actually use other shooting modes, such as Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, or Program Auto mode.
If you're not shooting in Manual mode, Program Auto mode is one of the more flexible ones, for best results, stick with the Manual mode, 'cause that will let you lock in the shutter speed and the aperture. Now ideally, I'll set the aperture for creative control and the shutter speed for technical reasons. Generally speaking, you're going to use a shutter speed of about a 50th or a 60th of a second, simple way of thinking of it is take your frame rate, like 24 or 25, multiply it by two and then take one of that value.
So if shooting 30 frames per second, double it by two, that'd be 1/60th, shooting 60 frames per second, 1/120th, it's a way to remember the correct shutter speed for natural looking motion. Now, another setting that you may need to locate is actually under the Setup menu and you'll see here NTSC or PAL. Now, changing this will completely change how the camera records, in my case, I'm going to leave it set to NTSC, Now the map you see onscreen should help you know what setting to choose, generally, this is going to be dictated by region, the NTSC standard tends to be widely used in North America and parts of Japan, the rest of the world tends to use the PAL setting, but it does vary by country.
Now, I'm going to leave this set to NTSC, 'cause that matches my standard, but you may want to check this, when you change this setting, what happens is, is it will actually adjust what frame rates are available. So for example, if shooting in NTSC, you'll see options like 24 frames per second, 30 frames per second and 60 frames per second, if shooting for PAL, you'll see 24, 25 and 50. Okay, another option to take a look here is back under our General Settings. Let's go back to the Video tab and you'll see that we have the option here for the file format, which gives us different flavors of recording, we have two for HD and one for 4K, if I choose this, it's going to switch to a 4K recording mode, otherwise, it'll record in high definition.
The option to record 4K may vary by camera, you also can adjust the Record setting and you'll see here the ability to adjust the frame rate as well as the Data setting. Notice for example, that there are different sizes available, so different options for frame rate, put the 120's if you want high frame rate or stick with something like 30 or 24 for standard, you'll also see the megabits per second and this affects how much data is recorded, so I'll stick here with 30p at 50 for a nice, high quality file.
If we go over to our next tab here, you'll see some additional options and this will deal with other things here, such as adjusting the shutter speed, we can affect other options here for power, the ability to control whether or not it focuses before starting and other settings here for zoom, et cetera. Now, we'll talk a little bit more about some of these options, but one that I recommend is Zebra, this will help show you the shot is getting too bright, so now, if the shot gets really bright, you'll start to see zebra bars indicating areas that are overexposed, you'll notice some of those zebra bars appearing in the highlights.
Okay, we've got things set just about correctly, let's move on to talking about actually capturing those video files to a memory card.
- Reducing camera shake
- Using Autofocus and auto shooting modes
- Changing IOS
- Focusing manually
- Shooting in Continuous (Burst) mode
- Switching metering modes for better exposure control
- Shooting panoramas
- Cleaning your image sensor
- Recording video
- Sharing photos wirelessly