Entry Three -DSLR Video Techniques

The equipment – Canon 100D

In the last entry we looked at story-boarding and Pre-Production.  For that task we used the Canon 100D.  In this section we will be looking at how we can create and manipulate the footage using the settings on the camera to influence the Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO, and how we can white balance the camera to look the way we want.

Canon EOS 100D
Figure1 – Canon EOS 100D, 2016, canon.co.uk

The Canon EOS 100D has many positive benefits including a High-Quality Low-Noise photography with a highly compact take-everywhere DSLR.  The camera can shoot 18-megapixel photographs while also being fully capable to capture Full-HD video with the same camera.  This combined with it being quick to use with the ability to interchange lens with an optical view finder, touch screen, and responsive controls.

What is DSLR?

DSLR stands for Digital Single-lens Reflex camera.  What this really means is that the equipment is a digital camera that fuses together the optics and mechanisms of a single lens reflex camera with an imaging sensor.

The difference between a DSLR camera and photographic film camera is that the age old story of Digital V.S. Film.  Film could suffer from bad quality as you could never tell how the film would come out as film grain could make its way into the shot when the pictures/film is developed due to the chemicals used whereas as Digital Cameras have noise that can be detected and reduced if not wiped out in its entirety.

cameras
Figure2 – Film vs Digital, Michael Archambault, PetaPixel.com, 2015

The capacity of Digital over Film is also outstanding as you can store large amounts of photographs and film on small harddrives and memory drives, whereas old school film was limited in that regard.

With digital cameras and old point and shoot versions, the pictures and videos weren’t as good and sometimes they could be quite slow to operate.  The DSLR camera was the solution to this as the DSLR camera has fast response time while also using point and shoot.  DSLR cameras have built in mirrors so that you can see the image in the viewfinder but it also passes through a focusing screen and a condenser lens, and then reflects off a prism’s wall to reach your eye.  When you hit the shutter release the mirror flips up to get out of the way and once this happens the shutter opens and lets the light pass right through the lens to the imaging sensor.

Fisheye lens.
Figure3 – What is DSLR, Digital Trends, Thor Benson, 2013

Shutter Speed Experiment

For this task we were to shoot two scene back to back with varied Shutter Speeds to show how the DSLR Camera and video could show the differences.  The slower the shutter speed means that you’ll get an increase in motion blur.  If for instance the shutter speed isn’t at least twice the value of the frame rate you will find that you’ll have a massive increase to motion blur.  The United Kingdom tend to use PAL (Phase Alternating Line) colour encoding for analogue television.  This means that the standard frame rate will be 25FPS so the Shutter Speed should be at least of a value of 1/50th.  There are other colour encoding systems and digital ones like NTSC and SECAM, that use different frame rates, so you should always be prepared and know what your frame rate is and what the intended format is.

This first video was taken using a Shutter Speed of 1/50th of a second.  To do this we had Bochao Chen give us a demonstration.

This next video is done using Bochao in the exact same position doing his exact same tricks, but the exception here is that the footage is using a Lower shutter speed.  1/400th

Aperture and Focus Experiment

For this task we swapped out our lens for a 50MM one.  With this we were able to capture a more cinematic feel and the ability to focus on certain elements was a lot clearer.

We took several example shots to show how this could be used while filming to create something quite beautiful.

In the next shot we aligned everyone else in the group into frame so we could see how much we could adjust the focus point.

The best part about doing these sorts of tests, is it allows us to see how we can manipulate elements in a shot to tell their own story, drawing the audience’s eyes where we want them to go and focus on what we want them to.  Our last clip proves this point;

There are three kinds of focus on the Canon 100D.  The camera comes equipped with auto-focus, Auto Focus Tracking, and Manual Focus.  All of the videos above were created through the manual setting.  Auto focus is best for subjects that don’t move and auto focus tracking allows you to track where you want using the touch screen.

White Balance Tests

White Balance  is all about getting true colours to show in footage.  If you don’t have this you’re footage will more than lightly be tinted in a way that might not be acceptable in your project.  In Post Production you can change this but rather than spending the time to do so you can just get this right from the start and make sure that the white balance you are using is right for you.

Some films and games for instance have used tints and colours as overlays or through colour correction from video editors so if there is a certain look you want you can add it in Post Production if the option isn’t available on the camera.  There is also usually a manual white balance button for those with white balance cards.

 

References

Figure1 – Canon EOS 100D – EOS Digital SLR and Compact System Cameras – Canon UK. 2016. Canon EOS 100D – EOS Digital SLR and Compact System Cameras – Canon UK. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.canon.co.uk/for_home/product_finder/cameras/digital_slr/eos_100d/. [Accessed 31 October 2016].

Figure2 – PetaPixel. 2016. Film vs. Digital: A Comparison of the Advantages and Disadvantages. [ONLINE] Available at: http://petapixel.com/2015/05/26/film-vs-digital-a-comparison-of-the-advantages-and-disadvantages/. [Accessed 31 October 2016].

Figure3- Digital Trends. 2016. Photography 101: What is a DSLR? | Digital Trends. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/what-is-a-dslr/. [Accessed 31 October 2016].

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