DSLR camera tips
Tips for Working with Manual Settings (thanks to Western Springs College for this information)
It is important to check and set your camera before you begin filming. Some manual settings you will need to check;
There are FOUR things to check before you use the camera!
Use 1080 x19020 25fps unless told otherwise - you can speed the frame rate up to 60fps if you want some slow motion - but check with your teacher first and give it a go including editing it to see how it looks.
Check the switch on the lens - if it is set to manual focus you can use the focus ring. DO NOT force it - if it's in AF (automatic focus) and you try to adjust it, you'll break it.
Make sure you focus your shots before you begin to shoot. Use the quick zoom button to zoom in and focus so the image is really sharp and then to zoom out to shoot
There is a very cool simulator to test out depth of field online. It could help you visualize how to use the cameras, and definitely worth checking out here.
When setting up your camera lighting settings , you've got to remember the magic exposure triangle:
With the info screen on (650D) and the disp screen on (550D) you should see the information about the triangle on the bottom of your screen so you can adjust them to the conditions you're shooting in. The Light meter will tell you if the light is right - the little arrow needs to be in the middle. Push the shutter down half way to check your light meter. You can also look at the histogram which will show you the distribution of light in your shot.
For a bit more actual information on setting the exposure triangle.
To get a film look, you want to have the shutter speed set at approximately twice the frame rate - you're shooting 25 FPS, so try and aim for 1/50.
Change it by using the scroll button on the front right of the camera. Here's a picture of what it looks like on the 650D
A slow shutter speed will have motion blur and a fast shutter speed will freeze action (useful to know for photography as well).
Video actually NEEDS some blur to smoothly transition from frame to frame, or you'll get a stuttering effect.
This can be used to effect - the opening of Saving Private Ryan.
Note: Obviously if you're wanting to slow your footage down, you'll want a HIGHER shutter speed, otherwise you'll be able to see the blur when you slow it down.
Aperture or F-Stop
If you want a shallow depth of field, you want a low number. If you want a longer depth of field, you want a higher number.
Change your aperture by holding down the AV button to the top right of the screen and using the scrolly thing on the front right of camera.
You need to think about this with your exposure, but you also need to think about it for your depth of field (how in or out of focus the background of shot is). There's a pretty good explanation of how you might want to use this for storytelling here.
The higher the F-stop number, the longer the depth of field, but the less light that is being let into the camera (smaller hole).
The lower the F-Stop number, the shallower the depth of field, but the more light that is being let into the camera (bigger hole).
Check out this guy as an example:
Prime Lens - 50mm
- They don't zoom
- Sharper image
- Better looking shallow depth of field (called bokeh - the aesthetic quality of the blur you get with the out of focus areas in an image)
- Let in more light, so in low-light conditions you won't have to boost the ISO (remember your ISO being too high will make your footage grainy)
These are the possible white balance settings - if you are at all unsure, select AWB (auto) or one of the ready made settings. Once you are confident - set custom white balance. NEVER assume that the last person has set the camera on automatic white balance. Always check that it is reset before you use the camera, or you might end up with odd coloured footage
How to set custom white balance
- While in video mode, take a photo of a white piece of paper / something white where you are going to be filming. (Press the button on the front right of camera to take the photo)
- Press the Menu button.
- Use the arrow keys to navigate to the screen which has Custom White Balance. Click on it.
- It will select the photo you've just taken. Agree you want to use this to set your white balance.
- Make sure you're using your new white balance - You've now told it what white IS, you need to tell it now to use it.
- Press the Q (Quick Menu) button, and make sure that custom white balance is selected.
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