Techniques for Capturing Motion in the Field
when shooting motion clips. There's a lot of different considerations you want to make. Whether it's lens choices, camera movements, angles, all of those other things shift. And so, if you're adding motion to your arsenal of creative works, then you're going to need to know these things to get really good motion clips and understand the basics of it. Most cameras that are DSLR these days have some sort of element in ability to capture motion in this particular case, the Canon five D mark for excellent four K quality footage, which is 4000 lines of resolution. It's an incredible quality emotion clip. You don't necessarily need to do that. I'm gonna talk you through as we go on this adventure. But ah, there is a lot of other considerations and they start with the gear that you have so moving on. I left this current set up that I have, which is a still set up, and I'm gonna get reconfigured for a motion set up. So first thing, I'm to Dio to do that. Let's take a look at my tripod. If you ...
noticed with a tripod that I had the motion head, which is a two point access for vertical and horizontal and obviously the swivel you really could only kind of clip you could really get with something like this is gonna be a stationary or static clip. You're gonna be able to do a pan, which is that nice, gradual movement left and right, You could what's gonna be very uneven? And you really, definitely can't dio pan ups and paying downs with this. So the first thing you do is fix this with a fluid head and that looks different, which means you also have to carry more gear. I take this off and put on my fluid head, which is super small, very, very light goes on to the same tripod, just like the other one of attachment fluid head and the fluid head allows me to get movements fluidly that I cannot otherwise get with my still set up. So show you how that works. I'm gonna crouched down here and essentially all works more or less the same. You're looking for stability. You're just putting this on here for stability and you tighten it down. One of the major differences between stills in motion is still has both vertical and a horizontal access. And for those of us that you are used to using our IPhones for motion clips, you probably use the vertical access a lot more often than a professional motion clip or filmmaker might gather, in which case they're only going to be using the horizontal access or left to right, and you'll notice how fluid this is. The longer handle gives you more leverage versus having to actually grip the head and go like this, which makes it more jerky. But this is a fluid head for nice fluid movements on a horizontal axis that allows you to get those pans down and those pans up. You notice I'm adjusting the knobs, and that is the key difference between those two and really the most distinguishing difference from a gear perspective between stills and motion. Now these knobs work differently because I don't have a vertical access. What we have here is friction, and we're controlling the amount of friction in the fluid movements I can let go or, if you notice, I put my hand here to stop it. If I loosen it, it just starts to tip, depending on the type of movement in the speed of the movement you want go really fast. You want to maybe have it a little more loose? If you want a nice, gradual movement, you might want to find that sweet spot kind of move it while you tighten it and then figure out exactly where you want to be to get that nice, smooth motion. Now, the nice part about shooting motion clips is your most likely gonna be in live move live view mode. So live view mode. We'll give you a real clear idea because you don't have to be right up against the camera how steady your fluid movement is. I won't lie. Practice makes perfect on this. The first time you go out and you try to use a fluid head, you're probably gonna be a little rigid with it. You have to kind of just get used to working it around like that and real practice. Another key element is depending on your focal length, and this really gets into lenses and any on your desired results. The longer the lens, the harder it's going to be to be smooth. So right now I'm at a 50 mil and this is kind of on the edge. You can still see that it might be a little bit jerky, so I might want to add a little more friction to that so that I have to fight it a little bit more and get a more still movement or more fluid movement. The faster you go more fluid, it'll be generally. But that's not always the desired effect. So if you're having trouble getting that, you might want to go a little wider with your focal length. Maybe go to a 16 to 35 in which case the little subtleties in the jarring nous of your motion will be much less noticeable. And you'll have a much smoother action on this. One of the things I recommend is not when you first start not trying to do both a horizontal and a vertical movement, meaning ah pan up and a pan left or right. At the same time, they're very hard to pull off, if not sometimes impossible, depending on the length cause. You'll find that you tend to zigzag. You might go one direction and then the other direction. It's very hard to get a nice, even angular slide that stays on the access point that you want. Generally, when you're doing a camera movement, you're probably just gonna want to go and stick to pan up and pan down or pan left in pan. Right? So I've got the 50 mil on. I want to go to a wider angle, want nice fluid movements and whether I'm panning left and right up and down. The actual technical term is tilting up and down. Um, but ultimately, it feels like a pan Mei So changes lens and go to the 16 of 35. I'm gonna keep it at 16. Probably leave the auto focus on right now. I won't use the image stabilizer. I don't need it since I'm on the fluid head. So now we're ready to go. Just like every other step motion you cannot retouch. Dust is easily an emotion clip, as you can on a still photograph. If it's in there, it's probably be in there. So making sure you're sensors clean thinking. Sure, your lenses clean is really important. If you have to retouch it and you end up getting into the pro area could be very expensive, very time consuming to mask that out. So you want to avoid that whenever possible? We've got the 16 of 35 on, and I'm gonna go to my live, you for motion clips, and it looks pretty beautiful. So one of the things I want to talk about is why and how you would use motion clips for your repertoire, your creative works. Why not just stick with stills? Well, there's a few different reasons if you're making a business of this and I'll talk a lot more about this on my business class, but you're making a business of it. It's a whole nother channel of revenue. You have an opportunity to sell stills for the stills, market emotion clips for the ever growing video motion clip licensing market. And so being in a location and having the opportunity to do both of those things in one place really doubles your chances of having a sale and making your career more profitable. So that's one compelling reason the other compelling reason is telling. The story in motion allows you to tell things in the three dimensional level house to tell that story in a three dimensional level and so you can add things like audio music, sound interviews. You can actually take all these experiences that you have. And rather than just be limited to a two dimensional photograph, you now have a three dimensional story that includes the audio movement, maybe even some of your stills, depending on how you edited it together. It also is a lot more fun toe. Add another creative element to what it is you're out there doing. I don't want to just come out here. You wanna be able to share this experience with people. And so motion really adds a lot to that. There's a lot of other rules and things to be considered for that not gonna get into those details right now. I really want to focus on the technical. Ah, and even though this camera does both stills and motion, you can certainly have other camera systems that focus on just stills or just motion. The most systems these days are a combination of both my canon camera. I'm using the five d mark four. I've got a 16 millimeter lens on. It's an F four, and you could see that the screen itself actually gets Ah, it's called almost like a letter boxing look so you can see your different, Um, you could see your different settings on here and your frame rate and things like that. So let's talk about those things when you're shooting emotion clip. You want to be in manual mode that allows you to choose and fix your shutter speed, and you want your shutter speed to be about 1/60 of a second. That is the most natural position that you could be. Unfortunately, you don't have a whole lot of movement in that unless you're willing to change the look and feel of your motion clips. So 60th of a second allows for good motion blur and sort of a standard look. And that's just a shutter speed. At this point, most of the control that you're gonna have and creating clips is going to be Onley in your F stop and or your eyes. So and so those were really the only two tools you can use. So, unlike stills, you really don't have that flexibility of shutter speed because you think about it. You're not gonna have a long exposure to get motion there, actually capturing motion in real time and so you're gonna have that fixed shutter speed and simply need to adjust to things instead of three. It does limit you, though, and that can be a challenge and takes a little while to get used to that. And it's also very easy to forget. It's one of the things that I'd say I made the most amount of the stakes when I transition from still stew Motion constantly kept forgetting about the shutter speed, and I leave it at 2/50 of a second and 2/ of a second. Is that very jumpy? Look, They used a lot in war scenes or action scenes where everything's very rigid. It's capturing all of the motion with very little motion blur. And that's what to 50th or 5/100 of a second looks like. My advice is, Try them. It's really good to become familiar with, um, see what 5/100 of a second look like? See what 1/60 of a second looks like. Go all the way down, see what sort of results you get with different settings and figure out what works for you and for different scenes. If you're trying to film something that maybe is a little more high energy. Maybe it's running outdoors and not just a scenic with, ah, wildflowers and breeze blowing through. But you're trying to get somebody trail running is very dynamic, and you want rocks and dust flying around. You might want that faster shutter speed. But either way, you're still gonna be stuck manipulating your f stop and your eyes, so to get the desired results. So 1/60 of a second and then from there you're gonna work on your I S O and your aperture in this case Ah, similar to stills. But even more importantly, I think with motion you would keep your eye eso as load in the native I So in this case, about I so 100 as possible, I probably wouldn't go over about three or 400. Generally speaking, if I'm trying to preserve the best possible quality if I'm not that worried about quality and I have an incredible evening or sunset and I really feel like I got to Gombe or I will go more, I'll go to 800. I'd rather have something than nothing but generally just like stills. I want to try and keep my aperture. I'm sorry. I want to keep my eye eso as low as possible while manipulating my aperture to get the results. Ah, that is the big struggle in general, because if you figure your shutter speed is 1/60 and your eyes so it's stuck somewhere between one and 400. For the most part, all of your ability to manipulate really has to happen at the F stop level. And that's why there's a whole range of options for motion that include prime lenses that are very, very fast and allow a lot of light to be captured, especially for those low light scenes to, uh, zoom lenses on the prime lenses. A fixed focal length lends to the zoom lenses that might be faster and sort of a four. You might want to be an F 2.8 or even faster if you can afford it. And ah, the other thing that you might need to do is limit the amount of light coming in. Since you no longer can use shutter speed or I s so you're only limited F stop. You might need to limit the amount of light using neutral density filters so you might want to go back, take a review over the course on filters and polarizer and learn about how you can reduce the amount of light. That way you can get shallower depth of field. The unfortunate part is you can't get more depth of field and go to F 22 unless you either introduce artificial light to your subject matter or you get lucky and you have plenty of white outside to shoot what you're looking at. Now take a moment to review the camera settings, since he's also differ quite a bit from stills. So going through the menu methodically is gonna be the best who had to do this. So the first thing we'll take a look at we already covered things like I eso and shutter speed are the picture style. So in general, whether I'm shooting stills or motion, I like my picture style to be in the neutral mode. Mutual is very low contrast, very low sharpness. Ah, in general, everything is mutual. It's not overly punchy. It's not like a processed J peg file would be. It's allowing me to make sure that highlights aren't getting blown out in a way for filming motion clips. It's it's kind of the closest thing you could get to, almost like a raw motion clip in your cameras, the neutral settings. The other thing to think about is you might want to use a user defined setting as well, and even go further back on things like contrast. And that is something that you really want to know how you're going to use these clips and put them together in the end. Because if you use a user to find or neutral setting, then you're counting on the fact that you're gonna color correct those clips later. That might mean more software more help from an outside party to be able to do that. If you don't want a color, correct, then you probably don't want to use neutral. You might want to use a standard setting like landscape or the standard settings, So typically I shoot neutral because I want a color correct afterwards, so I'm gonna say yes to that. The next thing I want to take a look at is the video system setting or NTSC or pal. I'm going to get in a huge amount of detail on this, but Essentially, NTSC is typically if you here in the United States shooting and that's where your end results are gonna go. PAL tends to be more of an international setting, so I'm gonna choose NTSC. So the next setting we're going to take a look at is our frame rate and our movie recording quality in general. So it's a whole different setting, and you might not see it right away on your menu. And that's because you typically have to actually be in the live. You are movie setting on the back of your camera and flipping the switch over and then hitting menu, which point it will pop up. So I'm gonna start with the first choice, which is M. O V or NP four. These are two different file formats, and movie tends to be a little bit more uniform, and P four is also pretty common. Ah, I use a movie's going to stick with them movies. It's something that be using a long time. It plays well, like a quick time player, a lot of other systems. The next thing on my menu is the movie record size. This is a really, really important one because this gets into the resolution and frame rate. Let's talk about with those mean for you. Resolution ultimately is quality. It's like whether you choose J Peg or raw. In this case, you're gonna be choosing the actual resolution. So 4000 lines of resolution or four K file. You often hear about four K television's. You never hear a three K television. Ah, but you might hear of terms like ultra HD or HD. All those things refer to different settings. Typically, if you want the highest quality possible on an SLR camera, four K is really becoming the standard. But one thing to note about motion clips, unlike a still, is that if you're at that high setting, you're going to really be going too hard drive and memory card very, very quickly. So it's a cost that you're definitely gonna have, and it's a consideration. When in the field. Do you have enough memory cards with you? And can you sustain yourself for the life of that trip or for that hike, whatever it is that you're trying to do so it is an added cost, but hopefully you're adding in your channel of revenue if you're making a career out of this. And so those costs of space and hard driver being offset by the new opportunity of being able to sell your motion clips So you have four E four k. You might see F h D, which is full HD and so on. And then you'll see another number next to the resolution. And those are your frame rates. Frame rate is the frames per second, or how many frames it's shooting every second. Normal playback is typically 23.98 or 23 9786 I believe, is the technical technical term. But 23 98 or you might see 30. Uh, I'm sorry 2023 90 or 24 frames per second, which is the traditional way that motion pictures had been made for many, many, many years. At 24 FPs. That's always often referred to as the standard ah, way of doing it. You may see the next one up, which is more for Web or even television, and 29 97 or 30 frames per second. There very, very subtle differences. They have very technical reasons. Why may choose one or another. Some people say the 24 frames per second looks a little different. It really is a matter of preference as well as knowing where your end result is going to go to. Above that, you start getting into the ability to play things back slower or slow motion. So let's say you go. You're shooting your clip at 30 frames per second and then you go to 60 frames per second. You've doubled it, which means when you play it back, you have the option of now cutting the playback time in half so effectively. Everything that was moving quickly will now move at half the rate. That's pretty much how frame rate works. The thing is, if you get higher depending on the camera, you often have to sacrifice resolution and quality higher the frame rate. A lot of times the quality goes down. You have to figure out the balance that what you want and what works for you creatively composition for motion clips is similar on a lot of levels. A lot of this stuff and if not all of what you shoot is a still photographer will work Wells emotion clip, but even further than that. A lot of things will work as a motion clip that will not work, is it? Still they get you from point A to point B. Perhaps in your story it might be a detail that's not terribly interesting, maybe a leaf blowing in the wind. But it's that little extra details that layer deeper of storytelling that motion allows you to get to. I'm gonna actually shoot a couple clips right now and show you how I approach it, as well as some of the actual settings that help me make a good composition and make sure that I got a good file, good exposure and that my image is nice and level, which is very, very important with motion clips. Because if you have to crop something just like a still photo, you're cropping out your resolution. So the first thing I'm gonna do and show you how I turn on all my settings by hitting info you'll notice that if you hit info, you could have just a blank screen with a box in the middle. And that box is your focus area, which on this camera's touchscreens that you can move it around if I hit in foot. Once you get your aperture, you get your shutter. Speed your eyes so you have your running time, how much you have left. And so on the next time you hit info, you get a bunch of other little details such as your resolution frame rate, the quality you're setting your white balance and focus settings, etcetera. And then the third time you turn it on. This is really where I like to be the full Monty. So to speak, right you've got your hissed a gram which I swear by the hissed a gram Because you cannot judge your exposure values simply by looking at the back of your camera. You don't do it on stills. You don't want to do it on motion here either. So I'm gonna take a look at the History Ram. I want to make sure I got a nice little mountain in the middle. I want away too far to one end of the other and you'll notice is I go towards the sky. It starts to peak is I go towards the ground. It starts to level out because I'm exposed right now for these plants and think elements in the foreground. The other thing you're gonna notice is a red line going across the middle. Whether your camera has this or not, it's something you're gonna want to figure out whether it's on your tripod head or maybe an external level or box. But essentially, it's making sure that horizon line is straight and that your shot is level. The shot isn't level, and you're panning left and right were tilting up and down. You're gonna have a crooked. You have a crooked movement, and you don't want that. You want to have a nice, smooth movement. You want your horizon to suddenly start tipping down one way or the other. You want to be nice and straight when you pan left and pan right. It's that level super helpful, and you'll notice right away that I'm not level with this setting. Now there's different tripods. You can certainly have a stills, only tripod. That might be a little easier to adjust the legs, but the truth is, it's not that hard to simply just tuck the leg and a little bit more until you get level and then just trying to work it in to get that nice, bright green line there in the middle. So the green line, I'll kind of flash it. And now you get a good idea that your level now if you're not doing huge camera movements being so level doesn't matter as much as long as the horizon look straight. It really only shows up exceptionally well that your crooked when you're doing nice, big long pans along the horizon line that the viewer will understand that so compositionally it's generally the same. So if I'm shooting a landscape, I want the wildflowers in the foreground. I've got the mountain, this valley I've got great clouds and sky right now. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna just panned my camera a little bit over. But instead of shooting everything in a single frame, I'm gonna go and do it tilt up. Or, as I called it earlier, the pan up and I'm gonna try to be nice and steady, and I'm gonna focus in here, get a nice focal length, and I got enough light out here where I've got a pretty good, infinite level of focus. I'm not worried about this foreground falling out of focus, but that's something to think about. You focus on here and lower light, and you might not be in focus when you get up to the top of the shot. When you tilt all the way up, it might be out of focus, so you might need to do what's called a pull focus rack Focus, or make sure that you just basically adjust your focus and easier way to do this is to not actually look at the camera. One of my tricks is to stand up a little bit, figure out my focal length, right? Are my focus spot right here. I might want to zoom in or, you know, have ah. They have a lot of different adapters and pieces that you can use to zoom in on your screen to make sure it's focused. A lot of times I used distance to focus my motion. I don't even bother looking. I'll see how far away I am. Take a quick measurement or after a long time of doing it, you can pretty much guess exactly how far it is within an inch or two. So I'm gonna say OK, here I am and I've got an infinity setting here on the top of my lens. So instead, I'll just kind of look at the back is a reference in pan up. And as I'm panning up, I'm gonna look at my lens and just move to that infinity setting and switch. So the mistake I made was elected in auto focus. So the second I started moving, it started adjusting the auto focus. Some cameras do that. Some cameras don't. My last one would not adjust the auto focus automatically. This one will, so I wanna be able to control it. So I'm gonna go back to that setting. I'm going to do it again. I'm gonna pan up this time I'm gonna control it so that it goes into focus Infinity for the mountain when I wanted to. Two simple is that a lot of times you'll find that being crouch your body position will really impact the stability of your shot in your composition. And so, in this case, I'm just painting up and I might do two or three of these. Make sure they're smooth. I might try different rates, you know? Do I want to go fast? Probably not. Might want a nice smooth shot. Typically, when I'm shooting motion clips, I try to bank as many shots as I can. I'll try and get a pan left pan, right? Tilt up till down. I might try and get a static shot. I'll try and get a close up a detail, just like stills. You work the scene, start really, really wide. Get your wide shot with no movement. Get your wide shot with camera movements. Work your way in close up medium close up macrophage shooting stills, All those things, the same idea. You're gathering content. You're building that database of assets and bringing all of those things together.