Tips and Tricks 008: Is there an ideal shutter speed to use in video?

Is there an ideal shutter speed to use when shooting video? We have previously discussed this topic, but we keep getting the same question so let’s go over this again.

The quick answer is yes, there is, and you really need to pay attention to that. A simple good rule of thumb is to use “twice the frame rate”. So, if you are shooting at 30 frames per second then you should be using 1/60th (of a second) for your shutter speed. The catch (for photographers at least) is that then you “lose” one of the elements of your “exposure triangle” having only ISO and Aperture to play with. We have less freedom in terms of camera settings when it comes to exposure.

Could we use a faster shutter speed? Yes. Let’s say we are shooting at 60 frames per second, so we set the shutter at 1/125th of a second. We could shoot at 1/160th or 1/250th or even faster as long as we have a lot of light. Faster shutter speeds would actually get us better options if we are planning to pull frames, as they would be sharper, but the movement would not look natural, it would be “choppier.

Now, the faster the frame rate, the better it is for slow motion. If you’re shooting at 1/30, which sometimes you have to do because you do not have enough light, the movement will not be as smooth as if you are shooting at a faster shutter speed. From time to time we have to sacrifice shutter speed in order to use a smaller aperture and increase depth of field. A classic example is when shooting an interview with barely enough light to produce a depth of field “safe enough” (around f/5.6) for the person to move naturally without risking the subject coming in and out of focus.

Generally speaking, when it comes to shutter speed and video, we “set it and forget it.” Questions about this? Add them below.

Shutter Speed for Video_001

If you want more, here’s a somewhat related article on “burst rates” for stills.