Photography Tutorials

Best DSLR Video Settings


Make Movies with these DSLR Video Settings A lot of questions have come in recently about video. So for the next week and a bit we’re going to be looking at various aspects of creating videos. In this video we look at basic DSLR video settings.

Shooting video is becoming more and more popular whether we are doing it with our iPhones or our cameras. A recent surge in vlogging and daily updates on Snapchat means there is more video being shot than ever before.

Most DSLR cameras can now shoot video and they can offer extremely high quality video, especially when attached to a nice large aperture lens. This can go a long way to elevating your videos above others in this very noisy world. The controls can often seem complicated so getting the right settings for DSLR video can can seem daunting.

The first rule is unlike photography as we do not really want to use shutter speed to affect our exposure. The shutter speed must be set according to the frame rate we are using. A frame rate of 24 or 25 fps will mean we need a shutter speed of 1/50 second. You effectively need to double the frame rate. If you are shooting at 30fps then you will need 1/60 sec.  When shooting at 60fps you will want 1/125 and so on.

24fps is what is used to make movies and is often described as having a filmic look. 25fps and 30fps have a very similar look that is more like real life. Which of these you use will depends on where you live as they hark back to the frequency of the power line coming into your house, whether it is 50hz or 60hz. It gets overly technical but most of the world will be using 25fps where as the US, Canada and much of south america will use 30fps. This is effectively the difference between PAL and NTSC.

ISO settings for video will ideally be 160 or multiples of this i.e. 320, 640 or 1250. This is not a hard and fast rule but they seem to create less noise in videos than the other settings. In some circumstance auto ISO may work for you.

The aperture setting for video can then be used creatively to achieve the background blur you are looking for but often you will have stop down to get proper exposure. If you want a shallow depth of field in bright conditions then you will need to add a neutral density filter to cut down the light coming in.

Most consistent results will be achieved by using manual focus. Most films and tv shows are filmed with manual focus using a person to ‘pull focus’. Some new cameras like the 70 and 80D have more sophisticated autofocus systems that are very effective.

DSLR cameras do not currently capture RAW when shooting video. There is therefore little chance to change the colour, contrast, exposure and white balance as we do with stills. Getting your dslr video settings right at the point of shooting is therefore extremely important. Set your white balance according to the conditions and then set your picture style. The portrait setting picture style it good for taking footage straight out the camera but if you want to make changes in post-processing it is best to shoot the image a flat as possible. This means reducing the contrast, saturation and sharpness right down.

The settings I use produce a nice flat image that then gives me good control in post.

  • Sharpness down to zero
  • Contrast down to zero
  • Saturation down half way
  • Colour Tone leave as it is

On some cameras you can then save these settings as a preset to then have easy access to them next time you come to shoot video on your DSLR camera.

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