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Filmmaking Basics

Exposure Videos for Video, Filmmaking, and Photography

December 18, 2021

Article by Colette Nichol, Solo Filmmaker and Story Strategist

If you’d like to get perfect exposure in your videos then watch these exposure videos to find out how!

Are you ready to master manual exposure?

It’s not as hard as you think it is. But it is one of the most essential filmmaking basics out there.

Remember learning how to drive?

What about learning how to ride your bike?

Do you remember how many times you fell off that bike before you could actually get it going down the road without looking like a complete loser?

Lots of times. Lots and lots and lots of times. But you didn’t give up. Because, well, everybody knows how to ride a bike. So giving up is just lame.

Strangely it’s not the same with learning manual exposure.

Most people who have a causal photography practice don’t know how to use the manual exposure settings on their camera. Which means they have zero creative control. Well, almost zero.

But for solo filmmaking, learning those manual settings is an absolute must.

If you want to make moving picture art — which you do — then you’ve GOTTA master manual exposure.

Master the Most Basic Element of Filmmaking: Manual Camera Settings

How to Get Shallow Depth of Field

If you want to get beautifully blurred backgrounds when shooting a video, then this video will show you how to do that.

Even if you don’t get this right away, keep going! And keep trying. You can do this. I’ve seen over and over how it just takes a little practice for someone to finally “get” manual exposure.

What is exposure in video?

Exposure is when your image has a correct balance of highlights, mid-tones and shadows. If your image is skewed towards the highlights, that’s called over-exposed. Meanwhile, if you don’t have enough light and your image is super dark, that would be called under-exposed.

Ideally, you’re trying to expose your image so that it looks relatively true to life. When using lower-cost cameras, it’s important to ensure that you don’t have too much of a range of highlights and shadows when filming as this will be hard for most cameras to handle.

F-STOP

When exposing an image you’re balancing the f/stop (aperture) the shutter speed and the ISO. These three things are combined to create what’s called the exposure triangle.

The aperture (same as f/stop) is the diameter of the opening in the lens that allows light in. The lower the f-stop number the more light is entering the lens. The higher the f-stop number the LESS light enters the lens.

SHUTTER SPEED

Shutter speed refers to how quickly the opening in front of the camera sensor opens and closes to let light in. For video and filmmaking, you usually set your shutter to double the frame rate. So if you’re shooting at 24 frames per second, your shutter speed will likely be set to 1/48 or 1/50 depending on the camera.

ISO

Finally, ISO refers to the sensitivity of your sensor. It used to refer to the light sensitivity of the film stock, but most of us shoot digital these days. A high ISO number means your sensor will be more sensitive to light (and will expose brighter) and a low ISO number means your sensor will be less sensitive to light.

What is good exposure in video?

Good exposure in a video is when you create an image that looks relatively true to life. You’ve balanced the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to capture an image that has balanced highlights, mid-tones and shadows. Make sure you watch the video above to get an idea of how to achieve this.

And if you want to get better at filmmaking, take the archetype quiz below to learn more about the gear you need and steps you can take to become a filmmaker this year!


Discover Your Filmmaker Archetype


Did you enjoy this article?

Learn more about filmmaking! Take the FREE video training series that’ll help you improve your video quality or just get started making films. You don’t need fancy gear to get started with filmmaking. But these 7 tips will help you big time. CLICK HERE to get the FREE Film and Video Training Series.


About the Author

Hi! I’m Colette. I’m a solo filmmaker and story strategist based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada.

I LOVE to help aspiring filmmakers pursue their dreams and start making films. This blog is designed to help you start gaining the knowledge you need.

If you want more then get on the waitlist for my solo filmmaking program. It opens up 1-2x per year.

CLICK HERE to get on the solo filmmaking program waitlist.

I'm Colette, here to give you a filmmaking skillset boost! 

Welcome! I’m a story strategist, filmmaker, and teacher based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. My mission is to give you the tools and tactics you need to pursue your filmmaking dreams, so you can start making films this year! No more waiting for the right time.  Join the inbox party: take my free mini-course and start building your filmmaking skillset.

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ahoy there!