7 Rules For Shooting Video With A Photo Camera

1. Shoot at maximum quality

You can never have too much image quality. That’s why you should shoot at maximum available quality every time you record video with your camera. Most cameras offer you the option to shoot in FullHD mode, at 1920 x 1080 pixels.

If you use SD cards, you need at least a Class 6 card in order to keep data flowing to your card while you shoot. Higher data speeds are available with Class 10 or UHS 1 cards. In addition, you should always have a backup card somewhere in your camera case.

Standard frame rate for video in North America is 30 frames per second.

2. Frame horizontally

TVs and computer displays can’t be easily turned on the side. So you should shoot horizontally, all the time. It’s harder than you might think to get out of the vertical framing habit that you just might carry over from photography. Even if your video is only for posting online, it will be displayed horizontally. So whenever you shoot video, think cinema!

3. Keep an eye on white balance

When shooting photos, automatic white balance can get fooled by multiple light sources, resulting in a yellowish or bluish cast. Of course if the photo needs to be published, you can always adjust the color.

When colors are shifted in a video, it can be really difficult to restore natural colors in postproduction. As opposed to a photo, you’ll need to apply a correction to 30 different images for every second of video. It’s best to establish the right white balance setting from the start and stick with it. But don’t forget to change it when you change location.

4. Keep ISO down

You should use the lowest ISO setting. In low light situations, blacks can become very noisy if your camera chooses a high ISO rating.

Lower ISO settings will result in less “grain”, so it’s usually a smart choice to have a slightly underexposed image rather than boost light values and get a huge “grain” effect.

5. Try manual exposure

If your camera allows it, try to shoot video in manual mode. Exposure won’t change if you’re shooting in unpredictable conditions. Expose for what is relevant in the shot.

If you let the camera decide which exposure is right, it may choose the background rather than your subject, or the exposure could constantly change during your shot, which is probably even worse. Experiment.

6. Watch the autofocus, or disable it

Autofocus in video modes is not always fast, has a tendency to shift back and forth, and can be noisy when you’re recording sound. If you can, focus on your subject before pushing the record button, and turn off the autofocus. In order to keep your images sharp, you might need to use your own focusing system: your legs. Move around and stay at a fixed distance from your subject. Yes, it does take practice.

7. Shoot short clips

Have you ever searched a five minute clip back and forth to find the 15 seconds that you need? Capture short, one to two-minute clips and stop recording when nothing is happening on the screen. It will make it much easier to show relevant clips to your friends, and a lot faster to sort your images when you get to editing.

What about sound?

Built-in microphones in photo cameras will catch every sound around the camera while recording, even some that come from the camera’s functions. You may want to use a good external microphone to record quality audio, at least for interviews. On many occasions, it can be very useful to use a completely independent device as a backup recording.