TMN009 – Shooting Video with DSLRs | F.U.F. with Carnese Jackson

TMN009-DSLR_Video

A lot of good extras this week! In general, we’re going to be talking some tips about shooting video with DSLR cameras, why neutral density filters can be helpful, proper settings for good video results, and more. We’ll discuss why setting  a routine and tracking your results can help a Ninja out. We’ll also talk briefly about using motion tracking in Adobe After Effects to heal problems….AND we have our inaugural #FollowUpFriday with our guest from Episode 6, Carnese Jackson. So be sure to click on the “Read More” to check out the show notes!

As promised, a link to an Instagram video shot from the galley of Jacie Sails (not for those prone to seasickness!) Better yet, just follow me on Instagram at @BradfordRogers …!


Ninja Tip(s): Establish a Routine & Monitor Your Results!

Routine

  • The enemy of The Multimedia Ninja is the lack of routine
  • A Ninja has to do a lot of tasks
  • Running about willy nilly results in:
    • Less focus
    • Less results
    • Stress

Monitor Your Results

  • When you don’t track your results/progress, things WILL slide
  • “What gets measured gets improved”

Motion Tracking, Color Correction, and Whatnot…

In this episode (including the Follow Up Friday segment with Carnese Jackson), we touched on motion tracking, and how I used motion tracking on Adobe After Effects to hide a wayward microphone. I have broken this out to a new post here: The Evolution of Macy’s Lapel: Motion Tracking, Color Correction

Shooting Compelling Video with DSLRs

Obviously, we discuss these in more detail in the podcast (you can just click on the link above to hear it…or better yet, subscribe for free!), but here’s a quick summary, along with some visual examples. If you don’t have iTunes on your mobile device, laptop, or desktop, click here for how to subscribe.

What are some compnents of “the film look?”

  • Shallow depth of field
  • Different frame rate than video (24 fps vs. 30 fps)
  • Different exposure/color response than video

Shutter Speed and Frame Rate

  • Filmmakers who are more concerned with a film look than worrying about broadcast tv standards generally choose 24 frames per second
  • The shutter speed on the DSLR should generally be 1/x, where “x” is the frame rate.
    • for 24 fps footage, the closest appropriate shutter speed is probably 1/50 sec.
    • for 30 fps footage, the closest appropriate shutter speed is probably 1/60 sec.

The relationship between f/stop (Iris, Aperture), Exposure, and Depth of Field

  • DSLR/SLR lenses generally specify on the lens what the lowest f/stop available is
  • a lower “f/stop” number means a larger opening (iris/Aperture) in the lens (f/1.8 is a larger opening than f/11)
  • a lower f/stop number (larger opening) gives a shallower depth of field (e.g., the subject in focus and the background blurred)
  • a lower f/stop number (larger opening) makes focus less forgiving of small errors
  • a lower f/stop number (larger opening) lets in more light

Takeaway: Getting “the film look”

  • 24 fps frame rate
  • 1/50 sec shutter speed
  • Shallow depth of field
    • lower f/stop (larger opening)…generally below f/2.8 will show a pronounced effect…note that your lens may not go that low!
    • “longer” lens (e.g., 100mm telephoto instead of 18mm wide angle

ND (Neutral Density) Filters

So here’s the rub: Say you have a nice f/1.8 lens you are cranking down the f/stop to the lowest setting to get a nice shallow depth of field for more of a “film look.” You’ve got the frame rate set to 24 fps, and you’ve set the shutter speed to 1/50th of a second, which is fairly slow compared to what you would use for still photography.

And you’re outdoors.

Chances are, all you will see on your LCD screen is white.

If you were doing still photography, all you’d need to do is speed up the shutter speed to something much faster like 1/1000th of a second, which would let in much less light. But you don’t want to do that for video unless you want your viewers to feel very jittery.

ND (Neutral Density) filters are filters you can attach to your lens to cut down the amount of light entering and let you use the f/stop and shutter speed you want.

Variable ND Filters

There are a variety of kinds of  ND filters available, but for filmmakers on a budget, a variable ND filter allows you to adjust how much light you are reducing. I happen to use the Tiffen 82mm Variable Neutral Density Filter…but NOTE: these filters are designed to fit specific lens sizes (I don’t mean focal lengths, I mean the actual diameter of the front of the lens where the filter screws on), so make sure you get the right size!

I actually got the filter size to fit my largest lens and bought some “step up” adapter rings so I could use it on my smaller lenses. One drawback is that on my “go to” 50mm (now I’m talking focal length) lens, which has a 52mm filter mount, the focus ring is right up under the step up adapter and is hard to adjust quickly…so I might want to get a 52mm ND filter specifically for that lens.

Vignetting

When you use a variable ND Filter at the extreme range (of light reduction), they can begin to show some darkening around the edges…which is usually undesirable.

Jacie Sails, Gulf of Mexico 2014.10.24

Jacie Sails on the Gulf of Mexico. Notice how the ND filter at full effect (maybe 8 stops reduction?) causes vignetting (darkening around the edges). This is an extreme setting, shooting directly into the glare with the iris wide open at f/1.8.

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One comment on “TMN009 – Shooting Video with DSLRs | F.U.F. with Carnese Jackson
  1. Ian Thomas says:

    Being a big fan of this podcast you can bet I was riveted to my seat at the debut of “Follow Up Friday!” Bradford covered a wide range of topics, none of which are in my chosen field but the lesson about developing a routine was most useful and something the monks have known for years. So grab your neutral density filters and enjoy.

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