Blackmagic Design is well known for its reasonably priced video post-production products, including interfaces and adapters. Recently they’ve also started making cameras, including the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Production Camera 4k, and Pocket Cinema Camera—all with high-end features and great price points.
Throughout the past month, we’ve tackled the exposure triangle—the critical way to get properly exposed photos and videos. Remember your camera and lens have three essential controls that affect how much light comes into the camera: the aperture or opening of the lens, the shutter speed (how long the shutter opens), and the ISO (the sensitivity of your sensor).
But a problem as tough as exposure can still be hard to crack. What happens when you can’t get more light into the camera and the shot is dark? How about when you want shallow depth of field and the shot is overexposed? Sometimes you have to look past the camera and make external changes to get the results you want.
Does your footage look too choppy? Are action scenes a streaky mess? It might be because your shutter speed isn’t set properly. The shutter in a camera is a lot like a pair of shutters on a window. It controls how much light comes through and hits the camera’s sensor.
This week, we continue to look at exposure. There are three critical pieces to achieving good exposure and creative control with your shots. Fortunately, shutter speed is the easiest to learn, with just a few simple rules.
How much light does your camera see? The aperture of your camera is its portal to the light in your scene (and without light, there are no pictures or video). Controlling the aperture is essential to getting the right amount of light on to your camera’s sensor to capture the best shots.
There’s another side to aperture as well. As you open the aperture wider, you can narrow the depth of field in your shot, blurring more of the frame outside of your immediate focus area. This is often a hallmark of the “DSLR video” look. Mastering aperture is critical to high-quality video and photos.
When it comes to capturing great images, exposure is critical. Under- or overexpose your shot and you lose precious details. But setting the proper exposure isn’t easy; your light may move behind a cloud, or change over time. When shooting video, exposure requires an almost scientific understanding of light.
Whether you call it a sports cam, action cam, crash cam, or toy cam, the GoPro 3 has taken the production world by storm. While it’s not a true DSLR camera, we find ourselves mixing it into our production jobs all the time. For time-lapse, point-of-view, underwater, and aerial photography, these cameras are great.
When reading video scopes for the first time, it can be tough to figure out what you’re actually looking at. But tools like waveform monitors and vectorscopes can help with the exposure and color in your shots—and are definitely worth the time spent learning how to use them.
The primary thing to keep in mind is that these tools are more accurate than your eyes in providing an objective, analytical snapshot of your video signal. This week we’ll explore
· Why scopes are essential in helping you achieve better shots
· How a histogram complements the information on a waveform monitor
· How to use a waveform monitor to judge exposure and contrast
· How to use a vectorscope to analyze hues and saturation in a shot
A common phrase among DSLR pros is that “everything looks good on the back of the camera LCD.” While intended as a joke, the phrase really means that it’s hard to judge aspects of your shot like critical focus, color, and exposure using the LCD on the back of a DSLR camera. As these LCDs are generally very small, it can also be difficult for on-set clients and team members (like a focus puller) to clearly see what the camera is actually shooting.
That’s where field monitors come in. Over the past few years, lightweight field monitors offering flexible connectivity, high-resolution large screens, and extensive features have become more affordable. This week, we’ll explore the benefits of using a field monitor, including