Camera Movement Techniques

Camera Movement Techniques
This is the opening within the camera lens that controls the amount of
light entering the camera. The wider the aperture is open, the more light
the camera receives. The more you close the aperture, the less light the
camera receives.
Each lens has specific max aperture. The wider the aperture can go, the
more expensive the lens (typically). The aperture is printed on the lens.
This is the max (widest) aperture of the lens. For some of my Canon
lenses, this number is 1.8. The lower the number, the wider the aperture.
So as I adjust the aperture as I’m using the camera, the numbers will go
from 1.8 to 16 or something higher. The higher number indicates less
light entering the camera.
• Keep aperture between 2.8
- 6 for best results
• Set your aperture and leave
it, unless you absolutely need
to adjust
• Use a larger aperture (2 - 4)
for a shallow depth of field
• Use medium aperture (3 6) for filming people/faces
Have you seen video where the subject is in focus and everything else in
the background is out of focus? We like this because our eyes work in
similar fashion and cinema cameras provide this look for movies. We
call this “depth of field.” Aperture controls the depth of field we get in
the camera. The more light entering the camera through a wider
aperture (1.8) provides a smaller depth of field.
For example, if you take a video of someone with the aperture
completely open (1.8), then you could focus on the tip of their nose and
their eyes will be slight blurry because of the depth of field is narrow. If
you close the aperture (5.6), your depth of field then becomes larger,
thus the same shot focused on someone’s nose will also capture their
eyes in focus as well because your depth of field is now larger.
Shutter Speed
• Whatever your frame rate
is, double your shutter
speed: 60 fps - 1/125
shutter speed.
• Don’t worry about the
fraction (1/50). Always look
at the denominator.
• You can increase your
shutter speed to reduce
• Increase your shutter
speed if you want to reduce
motion blur
W H AT I S I T ?
The shutter exists behind the lens and is responsible for fast or blurred
motion. In most cases, you will always maintain the same shutter speed
depending upon your frame rate. The shutter speed will only increase or
decrease based on your frame rate.
Example: if your frame rate is 24fps then your shutter speed should be a
minimum of 1/50. Do not slow the shutter to 1/40. You can increase shutter
to 1/60 or a little higher if you need to darken your video.
Shutter speed is measured in fractions of seconds, when under a second,
such as the 1/50 above. This means the shutter will fire at 1/50 of a second.
If you increase the shutter to 1/60 of a second, then the shutter is firing at a
quicker rate, which means it has less exposure to light, thus making your
video darker. This is another technique for decreasing light in your camera,
although you won’t use this technique as often.
The image sensor (ISO) is the level of sensitivity of your camera to
available light. In particular, you use ISO to increase or decrease the
amount of light in your video or image. The lower the number, the less
sensitive the camera is to the light. A higher number increases sensitivity.
• Lock in aperture and
shutter speed, then use
your ISO setting to let more
light in or reduce light in the
For example, in daylight you wouldn’t increase the sensitivity from 100 ISO
because there’s enough available light. However, let’s say you go outside at
8pm and the sun has set, now you have very little light. You need to
increase the ISO to at least 1,000 to see anything.
• Aim for using ISO
between 100 and 1,000
Example: You want to film inside your office where there’s some natural
light but you’re also using your continuous lights. You set your aperture to
4.0 and leave it there. Your shutter speed is 1/50 because you’re filming at
24fps. But maybe it’s still a tad dark. Instead of turning your continuous
lights up more and blinding yourself, you could increase the ISO to let
more light into the camera.
• Try not to go beyond 3200
ISO, otherwise the image
quality will decrease and
become grainy
White Balance
TI P S :
• Use the appropriate white
balance preset for your
environment. If it still
doesn’t look right, then use
the Kelvin scale to fine tune.
• Watch for more orange or
blue tints - this means the
white balance isn’t correct
• Use color to create mood warmer tones can be
inviting and cooler tones
can be more corporate
This is the main setting that controls the color of your video. The white
balance is set based on main light source of your scene. If the camera’s
white balance isn’t set appropriately, then you will either get more orange
or blue in your shot.
Example: If you have tungsten lights in your office and you don’t adjust
your white balance for tungsten light, then you’ll probably have very orange
tinted video. If you have fluorescent lights, and you don’t adjust
appropriately, then you will have more blue tinted video.
Cameras come with preset white balance settings for environments like the
following: daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, etc. The Canon 5D
Mark IV also has a Kelvin scale, which is handy. With the Kelvin scale
option, you can adjust the temperature manually. This can be used if you
have two different light sources, such as daylight and tungsten, or if you just
want to adjust the color to your needs.
Frame Rate
The frame rate is the amount of frames per second that the camera
captures. Most cinema movies you watch are filmed in 24 frames per
second (fps). Most sports are filmed in 30fps. Why the difference? Well,
consider that sports are faster moving so we want more frames to capture
the action. When we bump down to 24 frames per second, it appears a bit
slower and more cinematic. I prefer 24fps because I like the style more.
Research suggests that our brains perceive reality at 40fps. Going above
this without slowing anything done makes a viewer feel uncomfortable
because it doesn’t feel like reality.
There are faster frame rates at 60, 120 and beyond. Many cameras can do
60 and 120fps. These frame rates are reserved for slow motion use. You
capture double or triple the amount of frames you need so you can slow
the footage down and there aren’t dropped frames. You couldn’t slow
24fps because it produces choppy video (not enough frames). However,
you can slow 60fps to 40% and be at 24fps but achieve smooth slow
• Keep your frame rate at 24
or 30 fps. Personal
recommendation is to
always use 24fps.
• Only use 60fps if you plan
to do slow motion. Do not
use this frame rate for
interviews or anyone talking
on camera.
• Use 30fps if you want to
reduce motion blur
Frame rate and shutter speed both determine motion blur. If you film
something fast moving, such as a speeding car, at 24fps and 1/50 shutter
speed then you will get some motion blur. However, many of us have
come to see this as normal because of the films we watch. If you want to
reduce motion blur, then you can increase your frame rate and your
shutter speed.
Setting your scene &
Good Lighting
Mixed Temperature Lighting
Poor Lighting
Assess the room you want to film within. What is the primary light source? If the majority of your light
is coming from a window, then you don’t want to put your back to the window otherwise you will have
a large silhouette.
If you have a window with adequate natural light, either sit facing it (3-5ft from the window) or use the
natural light to fill from one side and fill the other side with a continuous LED light set to daylight
temperature. If you don’t have a window, then you will need at least two continuous LED lights.
Always set up your continuous lights at a 25-30˚ left or right of the direction you’re facing. You need
two light sources, either natural light + 1 LED light or 2 LED lights, to properly light your subject and
not cast awkward shadows.
Balance your color. If you’re using natural light + 1 LED light, then set your LED light to daylight Kelvin
(4600-6500K) to balance color. If you’re using 2 LED lights, then set the temperature of each to match,
otherwise you will end up with strange color tones.
Have your camera set to the desired aperture and shutter speed you need. With your ISO, don’t go
beyond 1,000 if you’re setting up and using professional lights. At this point, if your subject and scene
are too dark then you need to increase the intensity of the LED light(s). Never use the light(s) at full
intensity - you shouldn’t need to do this. Then if you need to increase or decrease light in the camera, I
recommend adjusting the ISO up or down by 100 in either direction.
Use the following guidelines to position your subject for
on-camera talking or interviews.
• Stand or sit at least 2-3ft off the nearest wall
• If sitting, select a stool or low-profile chair. If you use a swivel stool or chair, be aware that the
subject is tempted to move side-to-side. Make it a point to sit still.
• If speaking directly into the camera, feel free to lean forward a bit to be more personable with
the audience.
• Avoid leaning back in all instances - this shows you’re scared of talking or less engaged
• Position the camera to be at eye-level so you aren’t looking down into the camera or looking
up into the camera.
Similar to positioning, composition is all about getting the subject positioned (composed)
within the frame of the shot. Now, composition is specific based on what you want to tell. In
this case, you will be composing the same way for most of your shots because you’re going to be
speaking into the camera - sharing information or demonstrating a procedure.
Use the following guidelines to compose your shot:
• Make sure there is nothing distracting in your shot, such as photos or objects on the wall that
take away from what you’re sharing
• Compose your subject from waistline to top-of-head (with a little bit of room) for shots
where you want to show and describe something
• Compose your subject from chest to top-of-head for shots where you’re speaking more
directly or more intimately with the audience, such as sharing about yourself or telling a story
• Do not show your light sources - compose your shot so windows and LED lights can’t be seen
This seems like a no-brainer, but let’s not forget about the importance of focus. There might be
a time when you accidentally start filming a segment but forget to set the focus appropriately.
With the Canon 5D Mark IV camera you can easily set the camera to lock focus on your subject,
such as locking onto your face.
Since this camera doesn’t have an articulating screen (to see yourself), the best way to set and
monitor focus on your own is by connecting to the camera via the Canon app and having a
tablet or smartphone nearby to be your monitor.
Before you start filming, make sure you lock focus to your subject. This camera has great
autofocus technology, so it shouldn’t stop focusing on your subject once you’ve locked in the
How to achieve better focus:
• Tap and hold to lock on autofocus to a face or object
• Also use wide autofocus or centered autofocus
• When shooting b-roll, use wide, centered or switch to manual
• When using manual, be careful to not focus too fast
video content
What & How Much To Share
Knowing what to share and how much to share in each video helps set a good pace for you and
the viewer. Yes, attention spans are much shorter these days, so we need to keep things
organized and concise.
Here are guidelines for what to share and how much to share:
• Start by sharing answers to the most popular questions you receive - such as, “will drinking
wine stain my teeth?” Tackle topics that people really want to know about.
• Aim for a maximum of 3 minutes per video. For most topical videos, I recommend aiming for
2 minutes in length. If you’re answering a question, make sure you put the answer at the
beginning and then go into further details. Some viewers want the 15 second answer. Some
want the full explanation. If you put the answer at the front, then you can satisfy everyone.
• Use visual props within your videos. If you’re talking about staining from wine, have a glass of
wine you can hold and use as a prop. Then you could use a mold and describe how it stains
teeth over time.
Preparing On-Camera Talks
Write down what you want to share. If it helps, write questions and then answer them with
talking points, which is the content you will share on-camera. This doesn’t need to be formal.
Write quick points to help you know what to include and what to exclude.
Read your talking points aloud. Doing so will help you identify any awkward wording or points
that don’t make sense. You won’t know until you hear yourself say it aloud. Make edits
according to what you hear.
Set up your camera in the area you’re going to film (don’t turn it on) and practice your talk or
interview. Bring your tablet, computer or paper with you for reference. Do not hold your tablet,
computer or paper. Put it on the ground or next to you on a table so you aren’t tempted to
always look at it. Rehearse a section at a time until you can share everything together. The key is
to keep everything natural and conversational. Perfection never happens. So don’t let that
hinder you.
Now begin lighting and composing your shot correctly.
Example Script
“Hey everybody, Dr. Will here. I get this question a lot: if I drink red wine on a regular basis will it stain
my teeth?
The short answer is yes. But why is that? Well, the enamel on our teeth isn’t perfectly smooth. There are
actually small cracks within your enamel. So the pigmentation from red wine will settle within the
Wine is an acidic beverage so it does cause enamel erosion, weakening the enamel and allowing stains to
occur. While this does happen, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a glass of red wine on a regular basis.
Here are 3 ways to lessen staining from wine:
First, brush and floss before pouring a glass of wine. This will remove plaque on your teeth, which stain
clings to.
Second, rinse your mouth afterward with water. Or as you drink wine also have a glass of water nearby.
Third, eat as you drink. Foods that aren’t high in sugar will help stimulate saliva flow and naturally
scrub away stains.
So, does red wine stain teeth? Yes it does. But you can take some crucial steps to minimize staining and
still enjoy wine.”
Capturing B-Roll
What To Capture
The most powerful b-roll footage is the kind that shows what is being described. If you’re
talking about teeth cleaning, then the b-roll footage needs to be of someone getting their teeth
cleaned. This is why you need to think ahead of time. If you can film your on-camera talk first,
then you will have a better sense of the b-roll footage you need to capture to supplement your
After you film your on-camera talk, review the video and write down a shot list for b-roll. For
example, if you mentioned brushing techniques, then make a shot list for getting those b-roll
shots. Here’s an example shot list for that situation:
• Hygienist & patient in a room
• Hygienist showing patient how to brush
• Patient getting a toothbrush
• Patient looking into mirror as they brush
• Hygienist instructing patient
• Close up of toothbrush
• Close up hand moving
• Close up of teeth
• Close up of hygienist teaching
Now you have a whole scene of b-roll footage to go with your on-camera talk and it pairs
wonderfully for what you’re discussing.
Camera Movement
Movement of the camera to the left or right along the
horizontal axis
Movement of the camera up or down along the vertical access
Movement of the camera body forward or backward
Those are three of the most important camera
movement techniques to know. You can certainly
combine them, such as a tilt pan or dolly pan. These
are important for capturing b-roll footage. To achieve
smooth camera movements, you can use your tripod
to pan or tilt. This is a great way to learn how to tilt
and pan, and when it’s appropriate to add camera
B-Roll Scenes
I like to think of b-roll in terms of scenes. When you enter a room to
capture footage, there’s an order in which you can capture footage that
will help you:
Get the shots that establish the setting. For this, use a wider angle lens or
zoom all the way out on your lens. Maybe the subject is a patient in the
chair. Enter the room, stand at the angle to the chair and tilt from top to
bottom to set the scene. Or pan side-to-side to set the scene as well.
move in for some tighter shots. These aren’t going to be as tight as your
next shot (detail shots) but will help bring the viewer closer to the subject.
For a patient in the chair, get a shot of him/her and the hygienist. Move
around to at least 3 different angles. This could be going to the other side
of the room or it could be filming over the shoulder of the hygienist.
now you’re moving in for the details. This could include close ups on the
instruments being used. Brushing of the patient’s teeth. The patient
smiling. The hygienist adjusting the light. Again, move around to get various
angles and don’t keep the camera at the same height. Go high and go low.
these are some extra movement shots for more dynamic video that can be
used, but aren’t absolutely crucial. These could include moving with the
hygienist as he/she picks up different instruments or following the patient
as they enter the room.
• Capture a minimum of 5
seconds at each angle you
select. It’s ALWAYS better to
capture more than too little.
• Watch your lighting. Each
room is going to be different
so make sure you check your
white balance. If you’re
worried, then set your white
balance to auto (AWB).
• Look for windows because
they can add too much light
to your shot, so avoid
shooting directly toward the
window. You can use the
window to your advantage
by allowing it to light your
subject from the sides or
• Check your focus. Make
sure the subject of your shot
is in focus. You don’t want the
patient to be taking up most
of the shot but your focus is
accidentally on the cabinet in
the background.
Most Common
Mistakes To Avoid
It’s easy to fire up the camera and forget about the white balance setting. You may not think about this when
you hit record but when you review the footage you will notice it’s either too orange (warm) or blue (cool).
Make sure you set the correct white balance or at least use auto white balance.
You might hit record and completely forget about the focus of the camera and then review your best take to
find out you weren’t even in focus. Make sure you set the camera to autofocus and if you’re filming yourself, use
the app to lock focus to your face.
It’s easy to cast shadows with your lighting. If you only have one continuous LED light on you, then behind on
the wall you will have a shadow. If you only light with natural light to the side, then you will have a shadow
across half of your face. You need to either fill those shadows with another LED light or face the window.
Most shotgun mics attached to a camera use their own power sources. It’s easy to turn the camera on but forget
to turn the mic on. Make sure everything is on before you start recording.
There are times when you can get on camera and film a perfect segment without much practice. This doesn’t
happen often. You waste an hour or more if you don’t write a short script and you don’t read it aloud first. Make
everything go smooth and make your message concise by writing/reading before you hit record. It will make
everything better.
If you capture footage around the office, the biggest mistake new videographers make is not capturing enough
footage. Make sure you capture at least 5 seconds of good footage per shot. Don’t rush yourself.
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