G5 and Video Shutter Speed Control

Discussion in 'Filmmaking' started by JoeV, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. JoeV

    JoeV Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 22, 2012
    Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
    Real Name:
    Joe Van Cleave
    If you're like me and have a micro-4/3 camera primarily optimized for stills, but still offers a pretty good quality video function, like the Lumix G5 that I use, you might be interested in knowing how to control the shutter speed of your video.

    Many of the cameras like the G5 yield video of high resolution but are not optimized to offer manual controls of the various video parameters while shooting, as would be the case in cameras more optimized for video, like the GH series. In the case of the G5 it's more like a point-and-shoot camera in the sense that it does not offer you direct control of f-stop or shutter speed while recording.

    As a background, I was viewing a recent tutorial video on DigitalRevTV, the Hong Kong-based camera review site, where they were giving tips on how to make moving subjects appear more natural on video, to avoid that high-shutter-speed strobing effect of moving subjects. Their recommendation was to use a shutter speed at twice the video frame rate, which in the case of the standard video I shoot (at 30 fps) would equate to 1/60s.

    The problem is that the G5 doesn't offer direct control of shutter speed using AF Lumix m-4/3 lenses, whether in P,A or S mode, while recording video.

    I tried a combination of things, while recording test video today, and here's what I found works.

    First, I used a manual focus film-camera lens, in this case a CV-made Vivitar Series V, 24mm f/2.8 lens in Minolta MD mount. In Aperture priority mode, with the ISO fixed at 160, the camera will select the appropriate shutter speed to properly expose the scene at your chosen aperture and ISO. Using a MF lens gives you manual control over both focus and aperture, two key features any serious videographer would appreciate.

    Second, I adjusted the lens aperture, while in Aperture priority mode, to render a shutter speed around 1/60s. Then, hitting the video record button causes the camera to commence recording video at that shutter speed - provided the scene's illumination doesn't change. The first test I tried required the lens be stopped down to f/16 to achieved my desired shutter speed of 1/60s, while the second test, aimed at a brightly lit white building, required f/22. Which leads to the third point.

    Third, should you desire a wider aperture for your video, for selective focus, the need for a neutral density filter is required, especially for brightly lit daylight settings, in order to force the camera to choose 1/60s.

    You might be aware that professional video cameras offer adjustable ND filters in-camera for just this reason.

    So there you have it. The results of the test video I shot showed dramatically improved results in the realistic appearance of moving subjects while being recorded at 1/60s shutter speed, and I also like the ability to manually pull focus as needed using these old lenses, which has been one of the great unintended features of the format since its inception, breathing new life into old glass, in this case using them as cine lenses.

    So how about you? What tips do you have for videography with non-GH series cameras?

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  2. BillW

    BillW Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 22, 2012
    Scranton, PA
    I'm just experimenting with a new G5 and appreciate the tips.

    I find that if I go from shooting stills to shooting video, the video is darker than the stills (under the exact same conditions and mode, etc.) Any reason for this? My expectation would be that the settings for stills would carry over to video, but it's not.

    Thanks for the input!
  3. dwrk

    dwrk Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 10, 2012
    JoeV, how about trying the "reduce flicker" setting to lock shutter speed...

    BillW, imho is due to high minimum shutter speed...i've not tested or search but my guess is 1/50...

    Edit update...is1/30 speed...