what is Shutter Speed for Video EXPLAINED: How Frame Rates & Shutter Speed Work Together

what is Shutter Speed for Video EXPLAINED: How Frame Rates & Shutter Speed Work Together

today I’m gonna be explaining shutter speed for the video to you as quickly as possible. What is shutter speed? Well, to understand what shutter speed is, first we need to talk about what is video. Video is actually just a series of still images, also known as frames. And these frames are all put together and played back very quickly, so to your eyes they look like motion. In the case of this video, my camera is recording at 24 frames per second. So, 24 still images per second are being recorded and played back to you and it looks like I’m moving. Now that we know that video is just still images played back together, we can talk about shutter speed. Two words, you notice shutter and speed. Digital video cameras use something called an electronic shutter that opens and closes to let light onto each frame of your video. The shutter speed is how long that electronic shutter is open and each of those 24 frames is being exposed to light before the camera moves on to the next frame. In your camera, your shutter speed is measured by fractions of a second,1/25th of a second, 1/30th of a second, 1/50th of a second. 

The lower your shutter speed, the brighter things will look because you are letting more light into each frame. You’re probably thinking: okay, that’s great Matt, I want things to be bright in my videos, so I’ll keep my shutter speed low, awesome. Well, hold on. There is one other thing that you need to keep in mind. The lower that you set your shutter speed, not only will things get brighter, but you will also introduce more motion blur into each frame of your video because the electronic shutter is being held open longer. If your shutter speed is set to 1/25 of a second for a 24 frames per second video, then you’re gonna see a lot of motion blur when things move in your video. Alternatively,

if your shutter speed is set much higher, to 1/200th of a second, your image is gonna have basically no motion blur and be much darker. Keeping all that in mind, the general guidelines that most filmmakers follow are to keep their shutter speed at double their frame rate which results in a nice mix of motion blur and sharpness. So, if you were shooting at 24 frames per second, then I recommend setting your shutter speed to 1/50th of a second. Matt, isn’t 24 times two 48? Shouldn’t I will be selecting 1/48th of a second? Well, unfortunately, most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras only let you select 1/50th of a second, not 1/48th, but I wouldn’t worry about this, it is close enough.

Two more things and they were done. First, when I am shooting at higher frame rates, such as 60 frames per second, I try to shoot with my shutter speed at 1/125th of a second, which is roughly double 60 frames per second,but because there is so little motion blur at this high of a shutter speed, your video is not gonna look any different if you shoot at an even higher shutter speed. When I’m filming outdoors at 60 frames per second or higher in the bright Texas sun,1/125th shutter speed may still result in too bright of a video, so Ill turn up my shutter speed to 1/500th or 1/1000thor higher, whatever I need to set it to so my video is properly exposed. What about lower frame rates, like 24 or 30 frames per second, Matt? How do I keep my video from being overexposed while still keeping my shutter speed at double my frame rate? Well, in that case, I would recommend investing in a good variable ND filter.

Very last thing about shutter speed and this is a rule that you’re gonna wanna follow unless you really want to mess up your footage. Never lower your shutter speed slower than your frame rate. If you’re shooting at 24 frames per second, don’t drop your shutter speed below 1/25th of a second to 1/20th or 1/10th, etc. If you do this, you’re essentially going to break your footage and introduce all kinds of weird motion blur that as far as I know isn’t really fixable without re-shooting. And that’s shutter speed. Please let me know down in the comments what you think about this no fluff, camera basics as quickly as possible type of video.

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