Shutter speed for video

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What shutter speed to use for a video ? This is a common question faced by many videographers shooting their first video on a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

Concept of shutter speed for video is a little different than for a photograph. In this article we sill see what is the significance of shutter speed for video , difference with photography and understand how to select best shutter speed for the purpose.

Audio is also an important factor for producing great videos , you can read our article to select the right microphone and get the best audio for your video.

What is shutter speed for Video ?

Shutter speed for video depends on two main things. One , the frame rate at which you are shooting the video and second the motion blur you expect for the scene.

In case of a video , the shutter does not actually open and close. The shutter always stays open and the sensor exposes for a certain period of time. This time depends on the shutter speed setting for video.

If you are shooting at slower frame rates then you need a slower shutter speed and vice versa. Also if you need more motion blur then you need slower shutter speed and if you want jarring , abrupt transition between frame to frame then you need a lower shutter speed.

Film motion picture cameras use a rotary disc shutter to achieve their exposure times, with shutter speed indicated as a shutter angle.

For film captured at 24 fps:

360° – 1/24 sec
180° – 1/48 sec
144° – 1/60 sec
90° – 1/96 sec
72° – 1/120 sec
45° – 1/198 sec
Video that is captured at 24 fps with a shutter angle of 180° (1/48 sec), exposes each frame for half of the amount of time.

Shutter speed for video
Shutter Speed for Video

This is the shutter speed which we are accustomed to or habituated to seeing in cinemas. Replicating this while shooting on DSLR makes the video look similar to a cinema camera.

While shooting on a DSLR getting as close as possible to this 180° is the key. DSLR film shooters need to use 1/50 sec shutter speed ( this is available from almost all DSLR manufacturers) for getting the cinematic look.

180 Degree rule for shutter speed for video

This rule gives an idea about the what shutter speed to use for video for a DSLR camera. 180 degree shutter speed rule basically states that if you are shooting at a particular framerate say “X” then your shutter speed should be 2 times “X”.

This means if you are shooting at 24 FPS then your shutter speed should be 1/ 48. Most cameras do not have 1/48 shutter speed option and hence you go with 1/50. Similarly if you are shooting at 30 framerate then you need to set your shutter speed to 1/60 and so on.

The film industry standard 180-degree rule explains how shutter speed and framerate relate to recording motion in video. The 180-degree rule says that your shutter speed should be doubled to replicate motion in real life. People often refer to “cinematic shutter speeds”, which is a standard that sets shutter speed at twice the frame rate or as close as possible.

A majority of digital cameras use a curtain shutter instead of a film-style rotary shutter. This means that a 180 deg shutter angle corresponds to shooting at twice the frame rate or technically, 1/[2xfps]. Shutter angle refers to the camera’s shutter speed relative the frame rate. Common 180deg shutter angles for DSLRs and digital cameras are 1/50th to 1/60th seconds at 24 fps or 1/60th to 30 fps.

The 180 degree rule for shutter speed is often confused with 180 degree rule in film making and these are completely different.

Can 180 deg shutter speed rule be broken ?

180 deg shutter speed rule gives us a pleasant , cinematic motion blur. The rule can however be broken in case of creative situations. This is especially done for creative effects and some particular situations while shooting videos.

For example , if we need a jagged , edgy , more realistic motion blur then we can use faster shutter speed. Saving Private Ryan uses faster shutter speeds to a great effect. Faster shutter speeds can also be essential when filming fast-action sports or fast-moving wildlife.

If we need a dreamy and more smooth motion blur then we have to select a slower shutter speed.

If your scene requires dramatic camera movements like tilting or panning, you should be aware of the shutter speeds and adjust them if necessary.

Best shutter speed for video

Best shutter speed for video depends on what look you want to achieve. Lets see some examples below for best shutter speed for video.

  1. For a natural cinematic look : For a frame rate of 24 FPS ideal shutter speed for video is 1/48 or 1/50 sec. For a frame rate of 30 FPS ideal shutter speed for video is 1/60 sec.
  2. To achieve a fast , more hard hitting , jagged look which gives feeling of a handheld camera one should use 1/125 or 1/250 sec for a 24 FPS frame rate. For 30 FPS a shutter speed of 1/250 is recommended.
  3. To get more blurred , dreamy look you can use a slower shutter speed . For 24 or 30 FPS a shutter speed of 1/15 or 1/30 will give you a motion blur effect in your videos.

Below videos explains this concept in detail with different examples of both slow and fast shutter speed looks.

Shutter speed for video

Shutter speed for video cheat sheet

Type of look24 FPS30 FPS
Standard cinematic look 1/50 sec1/60 sec
Jagged , rough , fast action look1/125 , 1/250 sec1/250 sec
Dreamy , smooth , blurry look1/15 , 1/30 sec1/15 , 1/30 sec
Best Shutter speed for video

Shutter speed for photography

In case of photography selection of shutter speed is fairly simple and is directly related to the type of motion you want to shoot and exposure that you want.

For fast motion or for freezing the action , you need fast shutter speed and for blurry motion or smooth silky waterfalls and seascapes you need slow shutter speed.

For higher exposure you need to keep shutter open for longer time , while for less exposure you need to close the shutter quickly.

You can learn a lot more about shutter itself and shutter speed for photography in these articles below.




Final words : Shutter speed for video

The 180 degree rule in film or the 180 degree shutter speed rule governs the value of shutter speed for video.

Using shutter speed of 1/50 sec for 24 FPS and 1/60 for 30FPS gives the natural cinematic motion blur and film look. Faster or slower shutter speeds can be used to create more creative efefcts.