Best DSLR Camera Settings for Video

– Hey, it’s Justin
Brown from Primal Video. With so many different DSLRs and mirrorless point and shoot
cameras available today, a lot of them will give you
pretty good results for video if you just leave them set to auto, but it’s not until you kick
your camera into manual mode where you can get full
control of your videos and really take them to the next level. Now, I’m sure there’s a
few of you that are just mentally switching off right now, thinking about the extra hassle and how’re you’re going to manage this creating videos by yourself and adding to your video
production process already. I assure you that it’s not hard and it’s definitely worth it. In fact, there’s just
eight simple settings you need to know to get awesome
results with your videos, whether you’re shooting
on a DSLR, mirrorless, or a point and shoot camera, or pretty much any camera
on the market today. In this video, we’re going to run through them all and how they work. (upbeat tune) So we’ll start off with the first one, which is video resolution, or
the quality of your videos. In my opinion, you
should be maxing this out and recording it the
best quality that you can for the camera that you are using. So, for most cameras these days, they should be at the
baseline recording at 1080p; the resolution that you’re recording at. Some of them will do 2k and 4k as well. I’m currently using a Panasonic
Gh4 and I’m recording in 4k. Now, there is some merit
in recording in 4k, Youtube does actually recognize 4k videos and it even puts a little 4k tag on it. And we don’t know exactly
how much this affects the ranking of the videos,
or if they’re featured more because they are
done in 4k, but for us in having the ability to
record in 4k, it’s a no-brainer on the chance that it’s
going to help our videos rank a little bit better as well. So, if the camera that you’re
using doesn’t support 4k, I’m definitely not saying
run out and buy a 4k camera. I’m saying make sure
that the camera setting- The record quality
settings are the maximum for the camera that you’re
using because you can always lower the quality if you needed to, for whatever reason in
your editing software. So while I really recommend recording in the best quality that you can on the camera that you’ve got, if you are using some insanely awesome
camera and it just means that your workload is
going to be so much more, so much more rendering
time, exporting time in order to get the content out, then lower the quality on
your camera if you need to. It’ll take the load off your editing, off your PC or MAC that
you’re using to edit on, it will make the whole process easier. So, max it out while you
can, but if you’ve got some crazy camera, then
probably lower it to 4k or maybe 1080 if your workflow needs it. So the next one is number two, which is bitrate, and it
really goes hand in hand with the first one which
is video resolution and in most cameras, the
settings are actually done in the exact same spot. So, what you’ll find in most cameras is you’ll pick the video
resolution and it will normally have a bitrate
assigned with that resolution, so your bitrate is the amount of data that’s captured per frame,
per second of your video. So, the higher the bitrate,
the higher the quality, but also the larger the file size. So, again, this is another one that I would suggest maxing
out wherever you can. If you’ve picked the
highest resolution capable on your camera and you’ve
picked the highest bitrate available on your camera,
then you’re gonna get the highest quality video through into your editing software,
which means you can upload then the highest quality video to Youtube or wherever you’re
running your videos out. So, as I said before, we’re
recording this video in 4k which is the resolution,
but we’re recording it at 100 megabits per second, so it’s the maximum quality for this camera. Now, the number, the megabits per second, between different makes
and models of cameras will definitely differ
and it’s always a case of the higher the number, the
higher the megabits per second, the higher the quality of the video image. So, while you’re camera may not do 100, or it may do 200 megabits per second, just try to pick the highest
that you can in your camera. It’s also really important not to compare apples for apples with cameras and say this camera is
better because it does 30 megabits per second and this one only does 18 megabits per second. It’ll come down to the kodak and the compression that’s applied to that bitrate, to that resolution that will determine the
quality of the video. General rule: just make
sure that they’re maxed out. The third setting we’re going to look at is the shutter speed. Now, this one will vary a little bit. So, based on the frames
per second that our video is recorded at, whether
it’s 25 frames per second in Australia or the UK
or whether it’s around 30 frames per second
if you’re in the U.S., you’ll want to set your
shutter speed accordingly. So, if you’re in the
U.S., your shutter speed you should set at a lower point,
will be 1/60th of a second. In Australia, that’s 1/50th of a second, based on the frame rates
25 frames per second or 30 frames per second. So, the reason for this is if
you go less than that number for the region that you’re filming in, then you’ll get motion
blur or a blurry image if there’s any movement in your shot. Going above this, you can
also introduce flickering in your video as well. So, in Australia, our
power cycles at 50 hertz, which means our lights are
gonna flicker at 50 hertz. So, if we match that 50 to the 50 shutter speed in our camera, then there is zero
chance of any flickering or strobing coming through in our videos. Likewise, in the states,
you’re running at 60 hertz. So that means the lights are
gonna flicker at 60 hertz, which means you need to
set your shutter speed to 60 or to 1/60th of
a second to match that. Now, you can also set your shutter speed to a
multiple of that number. So, in the U.S., you could
also run at 1/120th of a second because it’s double 60, or in Australia, around 100 frames per second
because it’s double 50. So, that way they’re still in sync. They’re still flickering or running at the same frequency so
that you won’t get any flickering through in
your recorded videos. So it’s really important that you set the right shutter speed for your area. So 50 or 60. Number four is the
aperture, or it’s also known as the f-stop and it’s the amount of light that’s let in through your camera lens to your camera’s sensor
for recording the video. So, the lower the number,
the more light’s coming in, which will also give you
a blurrier background. That’s the thing on Youtube these days, everyone wants the blurry background. So, in order to get that, you
need to have a lower number, which means that your camera
lens is letting in more light. So, for example, the camera
lens that I’m using here is a sigma 18 to 35, which
is an F1.8 aperture lens. I’m actually running
it on a speed booster. I don’t want to over-complicate
things, but it means that I’m able to get this down to an F1.2, Which means that the
background is pretty blurry, especially for the camera and the sensor in the camera that I’m using. So, without over-complicating
it all, the lower the number, the shallower the depth-of-field, which means that you can
get a blurry background. Now, what you don’t want to do here is leave this to auto,
because if it’s on auto, the moment a cloud comes over outside or the moment the lighting
changes in your scene, or even yourself moving
around in the shot, your camera will
automatically adjust for that. So it’s really important,
to get optimal results with your videos, that
you lock this setting down so that you’re in control o
fit, instead of your camera making the judgement call whether to brighten or darken the shot for you. Now if you’re not after
that blurry background look or if you want to darken off your shot, then just increase your
aperture to a higher number. So what I’m actually using on this camera here is called
a variable ND filter, or a neutral density filter. Essentially, it’s like
having a pair of sunglasses over the front of the camera lens. I have the ability, then,
to just turn it around and make the shot brighter or darker without having to adjust
the aperture in the lens. So I’ll still get that
blurry background look, but I can lean forward and
I can adjust the picture brighter or darker just by
turning the front of the lens. Now, these won’t work on every camera, but they’re great to have with you if your camera supports it. Number five is the ISO, now you can really think of this as your digital brightness. So, the lower the number,
the darker the image. The higher the number,
the brighter the image. So, in typical outdoor or really bright scenes or scenarios, you want
to be using a lower number to make the shot darker
so that it looks normal. Using a higher number outdoors will give you a really bright shot. So, right now my camera
is set to an ISO of 400. If I was gonna be taking
it outside, I’d probably be setting it to 200 or 100, and this is something that differs,
once again, between different cameras and different
makes and different models. Some cameras will allow you to go to a much lower
ISO, or a darker image. And others will go to a much higher, so it’s a good idea to work out the best settings for you based on
what your image looks like. In most cases, you wouldn’t
need to go over an ISO of 800, unless you’re in really, really dark scenarios or dark scenes. Some cameras will go way up, 5600, 3200, and they’ll still get a pretty good image. Others, the cheaper ones
with the smaller lenses, if you’re pushing your camera
up above 1600 ISO to 3200 ISO, you’re gonna get a terrible looking image, it’s gonna be really rainy, really noisy. So, it’s all about just knowing that the lower numbers are the darker, higher numbers are the brighter, and work out in and around
where your shot needs to be. So when you’re locking
down your ISO setting, it’s really important
that you look through your camera’s viewfinder or
through your camera’s display to actually see the image. Most cameras will have a
built-in exposure meter showing you if the overall
shot is too dark or too bright. But really, at the end of the day, it’s going to come down to
how you like the shot to look. So then it’s just a matter
of increasing or decreasing the ISO to get the brightness around about where you’d like it. Now, you can fine-tune your
brightness of your shot, going back to your aperture, or as I said, using a neutral density filter on the front of your lens. But really the key thing with
your ISOs to keep in mind is that you don’t want
to be going unnecessarily to a higher number or a
higher ISO setting because you will get a graner, noisier image. So, keep it as low as you can in order to get the shot that you’re after. Number six is audio levels and it’s really important to set this one
to manual wherever possible. The biggest issue with
leaving it on automatic is the moment that you
pause between a sentence or a paragraph, then your
camera will boost the volume because it’s not detecting
any audio through your microphones so it’ll boost it up in order to pick up any background noise in the scene that you’re recording in. The issue then is, when
you start talking again, the first word that you say is going to be way too loud, so it would distort, and it really doesn’t sound great and it’s pretty hard to fix
in your editing afterwards. So by manually setting
your audio input levels, there’s no chance of
your audio distorting. So plug in your microphones and, if your camera supports
it, bring up the audio bars so that you can actually see, visually, how loud the audio is. You don’t want it to go
into the red section, you always want it in the green
or the orange if possible. It’s actually better to have your volume slightly quieter because
it’s easier to boost it up in your editing than to have it too loud and distorting,
which is hard to recover and sounds terrible. Now, if your camera
doesn’t have the audio bars or the audio meters so you
can’t visually see how loud your audio is going into the camera, I would suggest recording
a quick clip and either playing it back and listening
to it with headphones to make sure it’s not
distorting or, even better, take it into your
editing software, turn on the audio wave forms,
and you will visually see the audio wave forms for that clip you’ve just recorded and make sure that they’re not clipping
or not flat on the top. If they’re maxing out or their flat-lining across the top, it means that your audio is too loud
and it’s distorting. So, then you can go back
and adjust it accordingly. Number seven is focus, you’ll
want to set your camera to manual focus wherever possible. Now, there are some examples of cameras that have really good auto
focus, the 70d and the 80d, but even if I was using
those, I personally would still use them on manual
focus wherever possible. And the reason is I just like to know that everything is exactly how I want it. I don’t want to find
out later in my editing that my camera was searching
and couldn’t find me or it kept adjusting the focus in and out, which just looks terrible in your videos. So, with any of these settings, you want to fix everything in the camera so that you don’t have to
fix it later in your editing. So, for me, manual focus is a big one. But then the obvious question is if you’re filming your videos yourself, how can you set the focus to manual to make sure that you are in focus? Well, there’s a couple of answers. The first one is if you’re
in a room like this, you could get someone to
stand in wherever possible and you could focus on
them, maybe mark out some markers on the floor,
maybe even note down the settings on your camera for the focus point for that set up. If there’s no one around,
then use a prop that will be in the location that you’ll
be standing or sitting. Bring in a light stand or
a pillow or whatever it is, and focus on that and then move it out of the way and then
get into your videos. Another option, and it’s
probably a better option, is that a lot of cameras
these days have wifi built in and allow you to control
your camera wirelessly using a phone or a
tablet, and that’s exactly how I’m recording right now. So, I said I’m using a Panasonic Gh4 which has wifi built in. I’m controlling everything
in this recording using my Samsung tablet, I can just tap to adjust the focus, I can
see that it’s recording. I can control everything
that I need to from this and just move it out of
shot while I’m recording and I know that I’m in
focus for the entire shoot. So, if your camera supports
wireless remote controlling, then that’s a great way to run everything, control everything, monitor
everything yourself. Now, really, that would
be a key point if I was picking a new camera to
go and buy right now, I would make sure that it had that feature because, for me, that’s a game changer. And number eight is the white balance, which is the color
temperature of your shot. You can really change the
look and feel of your shot by adjusting the white
balance, which is why it’s really important to lock it down. Last thing you want to
do is have your camera automatically adjusting
as a cloud goes over or something it senses
changes in your scene and the color temperature changes. So it’s really important
to set this one to manual so that you’ve got a consistent color or a consistent look
across your entire video. It would make it very difficult
to color-correct later when you’re editing if it was
changing throughout your shot. You’d color correct one part and then a bit further down, it could
look totally different. So, even if your white
balance is set wrong, even if all your footage
comes out with a blue tinge, at least you’ll be able to fix it all once in your editing by applying
one color correction effect. Now, most cameras will
give you built in presets for white balance, you’ll
have things like a sunny day, you’ll have incandescent lights, you’ll have fluorescent lights. You’ll have different presets
built in for your cameras, so find the one that suits
your filming location or some cameras will give you full control over white balance and will allow you to enter
the color temperature, which is measured in
Kelvin, into your camera. Now, if you’ve got no idea where to start with white balance, as I
said, start with the presets, cycle through those, and see which one you like the look of best. Some cameras will also give
you an automatic reading, so it’s whatever the camera
suggests, but lock that down so that it is not gonna change throughout your entire filming. Alright, so there’s the eight
settings you need to know in order to get awesome
results with your videos. Now that’s done, check out the link on screen now for more on DSLR lenses. I’ll see you next time. (music fades)

57 Replies to “Best DSLR Camera Settings for Video”

  1. Please help! I have gh4 sigma 18-34 with metabones. My question is which is the best color profile? Cine D or Cine V and how to color grade it? Thanks!

  2. I record with a Canon powershot 180 and its a point and shoot camera. I'm having problems with the lighting in my videos because its too bright and i have the flickering lights in my videos. This video is very informative and easily explains the content but my camera doesn't have shutter speed or aperture so i still don't kno how to fix this problem. Could u please help me?

  3. An excellent presentation that I would recommend unhesitatingly to anyone wanting to go beyond 'point and shoot' videoing.
    To really nitpick however, there is one (admittedly rather academic) error in your presentation. No, it's not 'codec' being misspelled 'Kodak' in the closed captions; (I assume you weren't responsible for that).
    It was the statement that Australian 50-Hertz mains supply produces lighting with a 50-Hertz flicker and American 60-Hertz mains results in 60-Hertz flicker.
    If this were so we would find such low flicker rates rather annoying, especially in the case of fluorescent lighting, which most would consider intolerable.
    The fact is, lights supplied with alternating current go on then off again TWICE every cycle. In other words, they flicker at a rate of 100 times every second in countries using 50-Hertz current (e.g. Australia, Kazakhstan), and 120 times per second in 60-Hertz countries (America, Venezuela -:)
    Don't feel too bad however, I met several 'fully qualified' electricians who were unaware of this.

  4. Another great video tutorial Justin! It won't be long now, and I'll be posting my first video…hope to see you there. Be well Justin!

  5. I'm planning on buying a Canon EOS 700D which will be an upgrade from my OnePlus 2.

    Since starting my channel on 8th April 2013 I've used my phone camera to record videos from iPod Touch 4th Generation, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and now OnePlus 2.

    I have a budget of £500 excluding accessories. The Canon EOS 700D is great for me as it records video in 1080P which all my video are uploaded at. It has a flip out screen and 3.5mm microphone in-put which I need as I'll be buying a RØDE VideoMic ​Go.

  6. Do you shot in s-log? Would be nice if you did a video on picture profiles for grading videos in post

  7. anyone wanna help me out? 1080p @ 24fps or 720p @ 60fps? I also want to do some slo-mo, but I want kinda-good quality video

  8. Thanks for making this video, it's super helpful. I'm debating whether to invest in a DSLR but have been put off by the learning curve – currently shooting everything on my phone!  These tips make it seem a lot less daunting 🙂

  9. Hi Justin – thanks for the great tips. I'm searching for a new camera, and I liked the "game changer" tip for having a wifi connection and being able to control the camera from your tablet or phone. I wanted something with auto focus because a couple of my latest videos have been out of focus, which as you know can't be recovered in post-production. That is now what I'm looking for. And I like the tip for the highest setting, but still something that your computer and editing software can handle. All the best, Cheers Rick

  10. Amazingly useful video. Thanks for sharing the things you've learned from your experience so that we can minimise mistakes/research – which although we'll encounter both, will be greatly reduced through the content of this video 👍

  11. Wow, this is a great tutorial Justin!  I will be watching and rewatching as I learn how to use my new camera.  Excellent.  Thanks!

  12. Does the Metabones Canon EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds Speed Booster engage lenses like the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 when it comes to autofocus, and other electronic functions? Or is the metabones just a passive adapter? Do you need to set your GH4 to "shoot w/o lens" when using this adapter?

  13. My priority list would be Autofocus > Aperture > Audio period. White balance is over rated. Also 4K videos are hard to edit so better avoid it for the next couple of years.

  14. Thank you so much. Most videos just throw complicated words around without explaining what they mean or how to get there.
    This was very nice and informative

  15. I love love love, how clean and to the point you are in your explanation, just great 👊🏻👽
    New subscribers here✌🏼🧔🏽
    This is the perfect list making before starting any new Content Creation Project, having the camera ready and bullet proof is a must, God only knows how much I've struggled to get all this right in the past. …Thanks a lot for the ease of your Information Collection 🧔🏽👍🏻

  16. Really like the editing and pace of your well-prepared uploads. IMO 80% of Youtube is GARBAGE. Two points. ISO/aperture is a lot more complicated than your suggestions. You are exactly right if all you are doing is instructional stand-ups. For anything else, one needs to know and understand a lot more about ND filters and optimizing the equipment for the shot you need to get. Secondly, without good audio, you have no shot. Don't be afraid of external, synchronized recordings, even if it's your phone on the desk 15 feet away that you need to sync later. That is better in a pinch than a washed out, noisy audio. You can't save the shot with bad audio without going to artificial solutions.

  17. Justin, really enjoyed the vid. Just a quick one (not sure of anyone else has commented yet) for the UK you mentioned that the s/s needs to be 50 or 100. So I take that the factor is multiples of 50. What happens if you at say 250, what would the image look like???

  18. Great video as very to the point, no waffle and very actionable. Thanks. Have subscribed as want more 🙂

  19. I have the Note 8 and it only allows me to watch this video in 1080. I'm on Wifi so it isn't a limitation of the network.

  20. Du bist ja witzig da steht best Settings for DSLR aber dir ist schon bewusst das nicht jede DSLR KAMERA 4K aufnehmen kann..

  21. Hi, I bought Elgato Hs but does not Canon 200D not connected to Elgato game capture or OBS any advice? please

  22. Wow! Really helpful. Suggest a static frame at the end with the eight points mentioned. It is like a quick recap.

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