Photography Tips

From photography to video: Basic principles

From photography to video: Basic principles

Since a few years ago, video has taken force in our culture , becoming more and more, instead of a society dominated by images, dominated by video. This upward movement has made many photographers, the most adventurous and curious, bet on the moving image.

This is due to the facilities provided by the new SLR cameras, to be able to perform all kinds of jobs, be they photographs or videos, achieving professional qualities, without having to opt-out. So without further delay, if you are looking to move from photography to photography, follow this series and become a video professional.

From the photographs to the video: Basic principles

Basic rules of the video
Not everything in these cases will be learning, because the video, being a succession of still images, that create this effect of movement, is governed by the same parameters as the photograph ; focal length, aperture, ISO shutter speed and lighting. Only change the way you use it.

If you still do not control these parameters and you want to start there, the series of blogs of Learning photography , will be your ally to start getting to know your camera a bit more.

Once we have learned the parameters and how to use them for a better use and a correct exposure in our videos, we will start with the most basic rules of the cinema , it was the cinema that first dared with the moving image and, therefore, to theorize about this.

1. Rule of 180º of the shutter
This rule comes from the fact that in movie cameras have a shutter of about 180 ° or half circle , by which the film or coil passes to be immortalized. The point is that every time this shutter takes a turn a frame is taken . SLR cameras are also governed by this system.

So, so that the movement of your video is natural and does not get choppy or are robotic movements (since the video does nothing but fool the brain and make it think that it sees real movement, not pictures in a row) you need to position the speed of shutter twice the frames you want to get.

I know it’s messy (it’s hard for me to understand when I studied it), but you should only think that, if the shutter is half a circle, each time you go through the frame, you will not take a frame . Therefore, half of the frames that will go through the shutter will be immortalized.

That is, if we are running at 24fps then the shutter should be 24 × 2 = 1 / 48s . From here you can vary the speed depending on the number of frames you need. For example, to create slow motion effects, you need to shoot at 60fps , therefore, the best thing for this would be to position your shutter to 1 / 120s.

2. Rule of the angles or axis of action

The axis of action is the positioning of the planes used (and cameras) and the change from one to another. It is an imaginary line that joins the eyes of the characters who talk to each other. You can also mark the direction of movement of a character or a vehicle.

An example of how NOT to use the composition of different axes, is the jump axis, which makes the viewer can lose the orientation , or direction of the characters, making you lose part of the story and distracting from the important .

Short explanatory, to learn about the axis jump

How do we solve this? Well, following the 180º rule that basically consists of making a circle around your characters and from their eyes, create an imaginary line that makes the center of the circle. In order not to lose the axis, it will be necessary to position the camera shots, always on one side of the circle.

This, like all rules, once learned you can skip it , so you create the half circle without the need for an imaginary line between your characters or jumping the axis intentionally, making the viewer lose himself inside the film.

Film frames the glow where you can visualize a shaft jump

A very good example of this, is a Stanley Kubrick film, the Radiance , where he uses continuous jumps of axis, to make us feel disoriented , like the protagonist of the film.

Along with this rule, no other related grades , this time is the opposite, the separation between different planes, which c onsiste that if you recording two planes or different shots, must ensure that they are separated by at least 30 ° . Otherwise, the cut will be very similar and can be disconcerting for the spectators.

3. Formats, resolution and codecs
This part is the most technical of all and very messy, since they are data that usually a photographer usually does not take into account. I will try to summarize it as much as possible, but the best thing is to investigate and get more information, since each format and codec is a world.

Format
We will start with the format, which would be defined as the file that stores all the information, which allows you to visualize it with all your information. It could be what a .zip or .rar is, in files, a container that allows you to unzip and visualize it.

Resolution
Along with this, we find the resolution of our image, the number of pixels and, so to speak, the size of the frame . At this moment, the most used resolutions are, Full HD and 4K . Now, obviously, there are many other options and variations available.

Full HD (1920 x 1080) , would be like the 16: 9 aspect ratio standard right now in terms of image, as you have heard and seen, since most televisions and monitors have this resolution.

As for the 4K, it should be noted that it is the evolution resolution that I just talked about. People usually normally incorrectly identify it as 4K to the Ultra HD format (3840 x 2160), however this is the near evolution of monitors and televisions. If we talk about the real 4K format (4096 x 2160) we will be referring to a cinema standard with a slightly wider relationship.

My recommendation for a better use of these formats would be to record whenever possible in 4K , so if you need to cut or edit the image afterwards , it will not lose quality . The problem is its weight, and that is that it occupies much more than a video in Full HD. Another drawback is that there are few 4K players in the market, so jobs are almost never appreciated with their real resolution.

Codec
Along with the resolution, you will have to choose the compression of your video or codec . Normally in these cases you will use one with more or less compression. For example, if it is to upload your work to the Internet, you will need more compression, while if you want to continue editing the file, you will need minimal compression or none.

In order not to create confusion in excess, I will talk about the most widespread types of compression in the market. First of all we found the H264, the one used right now by most videographers, since it allows you to compress without losing just quality . Ideal to hang on the Internet and video platforms, it is suitable for a final export.

As for codecs with lower file compression , the one I use in my editions to switch from one program to another is the ProRes 444 XQ (Apple ProRes 4444 XQ for MAC), because it maintains the quality without any compression. The drawback is its high weight .

Although I repeat that this topic is very technical and each format codec and resolution is adapted to one type or another of work. But we will delve into this topic in future blogs of this series.

4. The sound, that great unknown
Konstantin Kuznetsov recording sound at Kazakhfilm Studios

This section may be where most people may feel more distanced from photography, but do not worry, because most videographers do not control this part very well and do not seem to care, being as important as the image, in the final score.

Neither I am an expert in this section, but I do know the basics to get good sound live, something very important so that everything makes sense and attractive. To capture it, we will need special microphones, depending on the type of video we are going to make.

If we are going to do an interview, the omnidirectional microphones will always be better (they capture the same sound for all its parts) such as the lapel or tie and the microphones in hand.

See Omni-directional microphone Boya
If you record a conversation, a concert, a short or a documentary where you follow the character, the best thing is a unidirectional microphone (it picks up more sound from the front) so you can direct the barrel and get good audio, even if the microphone is farther away.

See Unidirectional Microphone
You may also be interested: 5 microphones that your camera screams for

Another very important element, although it may seem a lie, are good helmets or headphones , with which you can listen to the sound that is captured, because without them, you will not be able to check if noise from other elements leaks or if the protagonist is well understood of the recording.

All this will be developed more carefully in future articles in the series “From photography to video”.

5. Focus on video
Another thing that changes, although we know how it works when you go from photography to video, is the focus and control of it. Depending normally on the camera and the lens you mount, the cameras have a more or less decent continuous focusing system . The more new, like CSCs, the better approach.

But if your camera is older, the autofocus may be unusable, since it usually does not follow the character in focus and if it does, it may be recalculated by the distance, rendering that plane useless, given that it will be a long time redirecting the focus and testing.

Something similar will happen if your lens does not have autofocus. So it will always be better in these cases, in which there is no advanced focus system, focus manually, since it will give you more control , being more reliable than leaving it on camera.

You may also be interested: Who said fear of manual focus?

The good thing is that when using manual focus in these cases, accessories have been developed for the cameras that allow much more precise and easy-to-control control . This is possible with the Follow Focus systems, which we find for all types of users.

From the most professional with electrical systems that give you greater speed.

See electronic Follow Focus

Up to Follow Focus for the new ones that get a fast and continuous approach, in a more comfortable way.

See Follow Focus SK-F01

With these first and simple tips, you will have enough to throw yourself into the ring and start recording , testing the knowledge acquired. And soon we will return with a new installment of this series from photography to video, getting into more specific topics, so you can continue learning and become a professional.

Do not forget to share your experiences and impressions with us on the blog or on our social networks.