Sue Bryce’s Video Basics: Shutter Speed

Moira West


Welcome to the third entry in our Video Basics series with photographer Sue Bryce. Last week, Sue covered frame rate settings, and this week we’re going to delve into shutter speed settings for video, and how they’re different from shooting still images on a DSLR.

Style: Documentary
Song: “A Cool Affair” by Black and Brown

Shutter speed for video

A good rule of thumb to find your shutter speed for video is to double your frame rate. So if you follow Sue’s recommendation of 24 fps, your best choice for shutter speed is 1/50th (since 1/48th isn’t an option) — which was why Sue selected it in the video above.

Go much lower than 1/50th and you’ll get streaky video. Go above it and you’ll get a stuttered video clip that won’t have a smooth, filmic look. Stick with 1/50th throughout shooting for a Goldilocks video clip — one that’s just right.

Managing your exposure

Because you’re not adjusting your shutter speed when your lighting changes, you need to find a different way to manage your exposure when you’re shooting with a wide aperture. A simple piece of gear can help block out excess light and while letting you keep your shutter speed at 1/50th.

A neutral density filter, like the Genus 72mm Sue suggests above, will let you shoot with your aperture wide open and still prevent overexposed video clips.

The rules for shutter speed are different when you’re shooting video, but that doesn’t make them difficult. Just follow Sue’s tips, and your video will look steady and properly exposed.

Feeling confident with frame rate and shutter speed? Then get ready for next week’s video where Sue will cover how to focus your camera for video.