Myth Busted: Should You Use a Shutter Speed That’s 2x Framerate for Video? Not So Fast…

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MC Contributor and Hybrid Photography Rock Star Will Crockett answers a reader question from our sister site, DiscoverMirrorless.com, and debunks one of the biggest myths there is about shooting video.

Will Writes…

One of our readers named Mike asked about one of the common “rules” you hear floating around the interwebs.  You know, the one that says that when you’re shooting video you need to use a shutter speed that’s 2 times the framerate.  (“Need”…  Ouch – I hate that word!)

Is that true?  Not so fast…  Watch the video above and read my response below to find out just what I think of the Shutter speed “Rule.”

There is no one perfect setting for all…

I have been swamped with folks asking (a few arguing too!) about the notion that you “must” use a shutter speed for video that is “two times the framerate”. I adjust my shutter speed in 1/3 increments from 1/40th sec to 1/250 all the time in the studio and know the results of making those changes, and I think my video is looking really good. :  )

I do think we need to choose the most appropriate shutter speed for the situation and the desired effect, but just like aperture settings – there is no one perfect setting for all.  It’s frustrating to see photographers move into a new medium and reach out for info that turns out to be wrong. But we are here to help change that.  We need to be as comfy shooting a “talking portrait” with video as we are with shooting a still portrait with photo.  Not a small task, but not one that’s out of reach either.  The video above shows me at various shutter speeds so you can really see what happens at different shutter speeds.

Most of the mirrorless cameras we suggest here on this site are used by pros or emerging pros, of folks that want the skill set of working pros.  All are welcomed! Most have different framerates to choose from.  Some have specific framerates attached to their resolution settings, like 1080p @30fps, 720p@60fps… but some offer lots of variations.  It’s all about capturing motion.

That’s the long and short of it.  YOU decide as an imagemaker how you want the motion to be created then choose the shutter speed that works.  If you choose to shoot at the popular “24p” setting, that means you will have a motion picture “look” to the movement, and if you choose a 60fps framerate you will have an ESPN type of “look” to your motion.  24p means there’s 24 jpegs shown in a sequence every second and 60p means there’s 60 jpegs shown in sequence each second.  The more jpegs show each second, the more defined your image will be.

Ok, that’s a start.  Now you decide how each jpeg “frame” of video will be created.  Do you want to use a longer shutter speed to add a little motion blur to your image?  Do you want the crisp clear definition of a high shutter speed? A photo of a dog running may look like a mess to you at 1/30th second, but the running dog shot at 1/4000th has no movement and may look too static to your eyes. You will choose a shutter speed that works for you right?  Maybe panning with the dog at 1/125th to blur the background while keeping the dog sharp enough is what you are thinking.  Well, we need to develop those skills for shooting video as well.  This is one area that photographers do well in – choosing the right settings for the mood of the image.  A lot of video pros don’t have that touch BTW and love to talk with me as a still shooter on how I “see” my images as I create them.

Whether you’re shooting stills or video, one thing remains the same…  You are creating images, and no matter if they’re static or if they’re moving, they are a product of your creative vision.  Making images is like playing a musical instrument, only in this case, you’re using a camera instead of a guitar.  To get the most out of your instrument, you need to practice and try new things with it.  Get to know it like you know the back of your hand, find out just what it can do and soon you’ll be making images like a virtuoso!

WC

My 2 Cents

Well done, Sir William!  ‘Nuff Said 🙂

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