Setting up the Camera | The YouTube Cinematography Guide

Setting up the Camera | The YouTube Cinematography Guide

Today I started a new series called The YouTube Cinematography Guide, where I’ll teach you how to make your shots stand out amongst the rest.

Shot on a6300 and BMCC with a Sigma 18-35 1.8 and Zeiss 50mm 1.7.

Music: Markvard – West Coast & Oshova – Amazing Day


There are five settings we need to adjust before you start shooting. ISO, Aperture, White Balance, Frame rate, and Shutter speed. You may have to change the first three every time you shoot.

ISO: ISO stands for International Standards Organization, and it is the industry scale for measuring the sensitivity to light. If you increase the ISO value of your camera, you are increasing your camera’s sensitivity to light. Therefore, if you’re outside on a bright sunny day, you may want to use a lower ISO value than if you were indoors at night. You have to be careful with ISO though. If you use an ISO value that’s too high, you’ll increase the amount of noise that appears in your image.

APERTURE: The aperture is a physical barrier built into the lens. Opening up the aperture decreases the aperture value. Closing the aperture increases the aperture value. Whenever you open the aperture, you are letting more light into the camera. This leaves you with a brighter image. When you close the aperture, you let less light into the camera, which leaves you with a darker image. When you open your aperture wider, you also decrease your depth of field. This just means that the wider your aperture gets, the less you will be able to focus on. The blurred background this low depth of field creates is called bokeh.

WHITE BALANCE: Setting the correct white balance will remove any unwanted color cast. Have you ever shot a photo at day that appeared to be too blue? That’s because your white balance was set too low. All light has a color temperature, measured in kelvin. Indoor tungsten light for example, is measured at 3200 kelvin. Daylight can be measured at a range of 5600 kelvin to 6500 kelvin, depending on the time of day.

FRAME RATE: The easiest way to explain the frame rate of a camera is essentially the number of times the camera displays a still frame in one second. Hollywood films are shot at a frame rate of 24 frames per second. Over the years, it has become a standard for both movies and commercials alike. I like to use 24 frames per second for everything, unless I’m shooting slow motion.

SHUTTER SPEED: The shutter speed is measured as a fraction – it is the amount of time that the shutter of the camera is open during one second. For video, the rule is to keep the shutter speed at double the frame rate. Therefore our shutter speed should be 1/48th of a second.

EXPOSURE: All of these settings together (minus the frame rate) will affect the brightness of the image, otherwise known as the exposure. The easiest way to check your exposure is by using a waveform. If I change my aperture for example, the waves on the waveform move left or right depending on if I close it or open it. Generally speaking, you want the majority of the waves on this graph to congregate in the middle of the graph in order to be properly exposed. If the waves are too far to the right, you may be overexposed. If they’re too far to the left, you may be underexposed. You can sometimes fix overexposure or underexposure in post production, but you should always try and aim to get it right in camera.

Hope this helps! Thanks for watching.
Music: VLOG No Copyright Music

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My Gear:

Sony a6300:
Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 (EF):
Cinevate Duzi 4 Slider:
Manfrotto 504HD:

My System:

Intel i7 8700:
Cryorig H7:
Asus Prime z370-A:
Fractical Meshify C:
Build Video:

I’m a tech nerd at heart, but I also love filmmaking. Being in front of a camera isn’t my strong suit yet, but I’m trying my best. Follow your passion. Fight for what you believe in. Never give up.


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