Photography and video tutor David Newton has been shooting stills and videos for many years - here he passes on his best advice for making videos with DSLRs
Photographer, filmmaker and imaging tutor David Newton was one of the guest speakers at The Video Mode’s recent two-day filmmaking workshop held at the world famous Pinewood Studios. We caught up with David after he had been tutoring the audience of The Video Mode and Amateur Photographer readers to ask for his top 5 tips for shooting videos with DSLRs…
Tip 1 – Shutter Speeds
Think about your shutter speed – your shutter speed should always be double your frame rate. So, if you’re filming at 24fps or 25fps your shutter speed should be 1/50th of a second or if you shoot at 60fps your shutter should be at 1/120th of a second. However, under certain conditions such as scenes lit with fluorescent bulbs, LEDs or tungsten light, or when filming a monitor or TV screen, you may see scanning lines in your footage. If this happens, the simplest solution is to change the shutter speed. You can go up or down, but when filming another screen, going down is usually the best option.
Tip 2 – Picture Styles
In an ideal world you want to set your Picture Style to neutral so that you get nice, flat tones and there’s no contrast or sharpening, no colour tone or saturation. This will give you the best ability to put clips together when editing so that you don’t get any weird colour shifts and the clips match together nicely.
Tip 3 – White Balance
Ideally you should stay away from Auto White Balance and pick one of the presets or the best practice would be to do a custom white balance with a grey card or a bit of white paper. This is because if the aperture or ISO is changed during shooting, the white balance setting may also change – this can make it harder to process your movie footage afterwards. With a preset or custom white balance setting, the white balance will not change if the aperture or ISO changes, thus helping to make your footage processing workflow more straightforward.
Tip 4 – Storyboarding
Think about storyboarding your video because if you just go out and shoot a whole load of clips you’ll really struggle to put them together into some kind of coherent story in the edit. You should at least plan out a shot list – say a wide-angle, a mid-view and a close-up shot – and follow that through for your story, which will mean that you get to tell the story fully and you don’t miss shots when you go out shooting.
Tip 5 – Clip Length
Think about keeping your clip length short. Whilst your camera can record 29 minutes and 59 seconds of footage absolutely don’t use that continuously, unless you are filming an interview. Even if you do film long clips, cut them down as your shots will probably end up being three or four seconds long per shots before you change to another shot in the edit. This is a creative decision but it is also because people have a short attention span. If you can keep the clip length short you’ll keep the pace of your video high, keep your viewer interested and, overall, your video is going to look better.
Find out more…
To watch David Newton’s 5 Top Tips for shooting video with DSLRs just click on the play button in the video window at the top of this article. You can also discover Canon Explorer Simeon Quarrie’s best tips for shooting video by clicking here and watch filmmaker Luke Massey’s top tips for working with DSLRs for shooting video by clicking here.