7 Camera Settings to Double Check Before Shooting Video [ReelRebel Ep.#52]

7 Camera Settings to Double Check Before Shooting Video [ReelRebel Ep.#52]

As a filmmaker, when doing run and gun video production, there's often a good amount of chaos that can occur and many things to juggle all at the same time.  Attention to detail and a clear focus is critical so you can manage everything going on behind the camera and everything going on in front of the lens. So, while the following is a basic list for any videographer, it's good to review and stay on top of these 7 things before you focus on recording the content itself. With preparation, not only will you be on your way to creating some decent footage, you'll spend a lot less time in post-production too.

7 Essential Video Settings to Check Before Shooting:

Check these things off your list before hitting the record button on your camera.

1.) Resolution & Frame Rate: This is vitally important when shooting with multiple cameras each camera needs to have the exact same resolution and frame rate.  Making footage settings match each other will make it so much easier to edit.

2.) White Balance: Important to make sure color temperatures look natural.  This is crucial to remember when going inside then outside (or vice versa) because color temperature of light is different outdoors than indoors. Make the time to adjust your white balance properly with every set-up.

3.) Gain or ISO: Your Gain and ISO settings make sure your image is properly exposed. Higher ISO settings are for low light and lower ISO settings are for bright lights.  Higher ISO settings also equals more camera noise and lower ISO settings makes a cleaner image.

4.) Scene Profile (Picture Profile) Mode: The correct picture style can make or break your image.control over the image in post.  Looking for more control over the contrast and saturation to your image? Use a neutral setting. Looking to do less work in post? Try using a standard setting.

5.) Shutter Speed: A great rule of thumb is to double the frame rate you are shooting and that will be your shutter speed.  A good setting for 24p footage is 1/50th, a good setting for 60p footage is 125th, and so on.

6.) Aperture or F-Stop Settings: Knowing what F-Stop settings to go with really depends on the type of lens you are using. Knowing your lens’s maximum aperture will help you choose the best f-stop setting for the situation. A general rule of thumb is a lens will generate the sharpest image towards the middle of the glass..  So a setting like f5.6 may be good.  But to create more shallow depth of field f2.8 or lower may be better

7.) Focus: Nothing is worse than having great exposure settings only to pull up your footage and find a crucial shot was out of focus so use the focus assist in your camera.

Related Tutorials and Tips for Shooting Video


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View The Full Video Transcript:

Hey I'm Stephen Schweickart with this episode of the Reel Rebel and today we're taking it back—WAY back-- to the basics with 7 (echo) 7 things you need to check before hitting that record button!

You’re at a shoot, it ends up being a ‘run and gun’ operation, and there is A LOT going on. Your focus is critical so you can manage everything going on behind the camera and everything going on in front of the lens. You aren’t growing extra arms anytime soon, so, because you demanded it, I have 7 (echo) 7 things you need to check before pressing record.

1. Resolution & Frame Rate – Yes, I know—Common sense—just remember if you’re shooting with multiple cameras, each camera needs to have the exact same resolution and frame rate. Otherwise, your video is going to start looking bad REAL FAST and editing will be more difficult than you want it to be.

2. White Balance – You’re running and you’re gunning, going from one spot to the next, inside then outside, outside then in, and SURPRISE lighting conditions change. This will drastically impact the color of your image. You need to make the time to adjust your white balance properly with every set-up.

3. Gain or ISO – Keep in mind, your Gain and ISO settings make sure your image is properly exposed. The higher the Gain or ISO sightings the brighter the image, inside maybe--, and with lower settings—optimal for bright lights—you know the routine! Just remember, increasing the brightness increases the image’s noise, so BE CAREFUL!

4. Scene Profile – or Picture Profile Mode – The correct picture style can make or break your image. Looking for more control over the contrast and saturation to your image? Use a neutral setting. Looking to do less work in post? Try using a standard setting. WARNING, I’m a control freak and a neutral setting gives me that power.

5. Shutter Speed – Let me give you some simple math when filming—Double your frame rate and THAT will be close to what your shutter speed should be! I know, it’s rocket science-- I technically spent enough time in college to be a rocket scientists-- With everything in physics and film, this isn’t an exact science, but close. A good setting for 24p footage is 1/50th, a good setting for 60p footage is 125th, and so on.

6. Aperture or F-Stop Settings – Knowing what F-Stop settings to go with really depends on the type of lens you are using. Knowing your lens’s maximum aperture will help you choose the best f-stop setting for the situation. A general rule of thumb is a lens will generate the sharpest image towards the middle of the glass. A F-5.6 setting may produce a good image, but if you’re in low light, a setting like 2.8, or even 1.8 may be optimal. WARNING the lower the F-Stop setting is, the greater the shallow depth of field is. If you like Bokeh (points behind his back)… then, it ain’t so bad.

7 (echo) 7. Focus – Make sure your shot is in focus. Usually cameras have what is called a focus assist button. So use it! Nothing is worse than having great exposure settings only to pull up your footage and find a crucial shot was out of focus (And, if there IS something worse—save it for the comments section below).

Stay on top of these 7 (echo) 7 things and you will be on your way to creating some decent footage. Before I take off for my part-time gig at NASA, click the subscribe button below and share your thoughts in the comments section.

About the Author -
Carla Marshall is the Managing Editor of ReelSEO, and the Community Manager for the ReelSEO YouTube Channel. She is YouTube Certified, and specializes in video optimization and organic marketing. View All Posts By -

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