Although capturing the perfect photo is an art, many photographers these days are curious about the world of video. If you're thinking about exploring videography and adding motion to your storytelling tool kit, this guide is for you. We'll help you shift from snapping still shots to creating engaging videos, using the skills you already have.
Moving from photography to videography introduces a few key changes. First, unlike photography, which captures a single moment, videography is about the passage of time, showing change and progression. This flow offers a new way to tell stories, not just with static images, but with motion and the order of events. Additionally, while a photo speaks solely through visuals, video integrates audio. The sounds—whether it's dialogue, ambient noise, or music—add depth, setting the mood and amplifying emotion. So, as you shift from stills to motion, it's essential to think about what viewers see and hear.
One of the most noticeable shifts lies in camera settings. In photography, one might adjust shutter speed liberally to capture the desired exposure or effect, such as freezing a bird mid-flight or capturing the silky flow of water. Videography, however, demands more consistent settings, especially for shutter speed and frame rate. The famed 180-degree rule suggests that your shutter speed should be roughly double your frame rate for natural-looking motion. For example, if you’re shooting at 24 frames per second, a shutter speed of 1/48th or 1/50th of a second is recommended.
To achieve the “correct” shutter speed as determined by the 180-degree shutter rule you may need a Neutral Density (ND) filter to reduce the amount of light entering the lens.
Frame rates offer a variety of creative choices. A standard 24 fps might provide a cinematic look, while 60 fps can be smoother, often used for sports or action footage. Additionally, higher frame rates like 120 fps or 240 fps can be used for slow-motion sequences, allowing videographers to capture and replay moments with dramatic emphasis.
Stability is paramount in videography. While in photography, a slight shake might go unnoticed or even add to the aesthetic; in video, it can be jarring and disorienting for viewers. Handheld shots have their place, especially for styles that require a raw, urgent feel. However, for general purposes, tools like gimbals and tripods become essential. Gimbals, especially, have become increasingly popular for videographers on the move, providing fluid stabilization even in dynamic shooting scenarios. Tripods, on the other hand, offer a fixed, steady shot, perfect for interviews or static scenes.
Tripods are essential for static shots and pans.
Gimbals are great for smooth handheld shots, especially when moving.
Light plays a central role in both photography and videography, but the approach changes when dealing with motion. Photographers often rely on flash to illuminate a subject momentarily. Videographers, however, require continuous lighting. This means the light sources need to stay consistent and constant throughout a scene. Continuous lighting kits come in various types—from classic tungsten lights that produce a warm glow to more versatile LEDs that offer adjustable color temperature and intensity. One must also consider the movement of shadows and how different angles of light can affect the mood of a scene over time.
LED panels are often very portable and have adjustments for power and color temperature so you can dial in the right look.
Softboxes can help create a soft, diffuse light that is often very pleasing.
Possibly the most significant addition when transitioning to video is sound. Audio brings an added dimension to storytelling. While the camera’s internal microphone can capture sound, it often lacks clarity and can pick up unwanted noise. This is where external microphones come into play. From shotgun mics, which focus on sounds from a specific direction, to lavalier mics, which clip onto subjects to capture dialogue clearly, the choices are vast. Additionally, sound recording doesn’t end in the field. In post-production, sound editing and design play critical roles in refining audio quality, balancing levels, and even adding sound effects to enhance the narrative.
Audio recorders capture audio in higher resolution formats than your camera and provide more control.
Headphones are essential for monitoring sound.
Diving into the dynamic world of videography after mastering still photography is akin to unlocking a new realm of storytelling. Both mediums have their unique charm and challenges, but the transition from stills to motion opens up avenues for richer narratives and broader audience engagement. Remember, it's not about replacing one art form with another but expanding your creative tool kit.
As you embark on this journey, let your foundational photography skills guide you, while embracing the nuances of video with an open mind and heart. Now, over to you! Have you made the leap from photography to videography? Or perhaps you're considering it? Share your experiences, challenges, and tips in the Comments section, below.