Cameras come with pretty thick manuals and few people dare to read them, though they are often packed with great information. That said, there are a few features on your camera that you should get to know and get in the routine of checking before you start shooting. Just think of the word FACT.
F – Focus
A – Aperture
C – Color
T – Temperature
Focus is crucial or your video will come out blurry. If you’re camera has an auto focus feature, you might want to use that. However, it will probably take a minute for everything to come into focus so be patient. If you’re camera has zoom, you’ll need to make sure it’s not in zoom to accurately put something in focus. Once the subject is in focus, you can zoom in or out as much as you want. The focus will not be affected.
Aperture deals with the amount of light bouncing off a subject and the amount of light coming into the camera. Essentially, it’s how you make an image lighter or brighter. Though you can adjust for this in some editing programs, it’s always better to have the best quality video first instead of relying on fixing it later. If you don’t know how to adjust this, read the manual. Using the automatic setting for this feature isn’t always the best idea since the camera may not be adjusting the brightness for the area you care about. This can also be referred to as IRIS or Exposure on your camera’s settings.
Color Temperature can be adjusted by setting the white balance. Color temperature is often skewed by surrounding light, so it’s important to set it once you’ve set up the lights. There are three light options: sunlight, which is cool; Tungsten light, which creates a warmer hue; and Fluorescent, which tends to be more green. You can often adjust these in the camera as well and you’ll want to pick the lights that correspond to the type of lights you’re using. These lighting terms will become more important as you pick the lights you’ll be using to shoot video. As noted, to adjust for Color Temperature you’ll need to set the white balance. Some cameras do a good job at this, but it’s perfectly easy to set yourself. You’ll need to check your camera’s manual to see how it works on your individual camera, but essentially all you need to do it is to select the setting, hold up a white piece of paper and let the camera do the rest.
Like I said, cameras have tons of features and the more you use your camera and read the manual the more you’ll be able to do with it, but in the meantime if you set you these features on your camera before shooting you’ll get pretty decent results. It’s a FACT.
Read all previous parts to this ongoing series, Shooting Online Video:
Part 5 – Backgrounds
Part 4 – Lighting And Content
Part 3 – Picking A Camera
Part 2 – SD or HD
Part 1 – Just Do It!