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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old May 31st, 2004, 11:58 AM   #1
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How do I determine shutter speeds for fast action?

I'm new to this stuff and wondering how do I properly select shutter speed for fast action filming, meaning when do I use 1/1000 vs. 1/15000?

I like to film my dogs catching their frisbees, drag racing and the kids diving in the pool. Is there a "formula" for selecting the right shutter speed with the GL2?
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Old May 31st, 2004, 01:45 PM   #2
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Hopefully I'm on the right track here, I'm a still photog making the change to video work.

Anything over 1/500 should be sufficient to still action. The faster shutter speeds will force a wider aperature and therefore a tighter depth of field. Depending on how far your zoomed out you DOF can get pretty small at lower aperatures (less than 5.6). If you're having issues keeping subjects in focus you may want to go with a slower shutter speed and a tighter aperature.


Now this is where I am a little grey: Ifyou plan on slowing a segment down in post you'll want to shoot it with as fast as you can get away with. Also, I see some people not recommending an aperature less than 5.6 for the GL2....why is that?
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Old May 31st, 2004, 02:45 PM   #3
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This matter is a common source of confusion, particularly for those of use who have spent time shooting still photography and even in motion picture film. Nomenclature is what trips us up.

The GL2, like nearly all of its competitors and relatives, shoots at only one frame rate: 30 frames per second. Using the Frisbee dog as an example, if the dog jumps 5 feet and lands in, say, 3 seconds you will have recorded 90 video frames of the action regardless of your shutter speed setting.

Shutter speed on video cameras is analogous to the sampling rate that the camera uses to 'read' the CCD imaging chips. The larger the number (expressed as fractions of a second) the more light is admitted in the sample. The smaller the number the more light you'll need to throw on the subject to maintain your aperture. As your shutter speed gets quite high you'll begin to get some odd and perhaps unwanted, effects. But remember, in no case will you ever be able to capture more (or less) than 30 frames per second.

There is no "right" answer to your question, Kyle. It really depends on the light conditions and the overall setting. I can, however, recommend that you try using Frame mode for capturing fast action. It basically captures both video fields simultaneously and may give you the best still frames. In general, it's best to have your subject move through the frame and to lock-down your camera's position if possible.

Beyond that, you'll just have to experiment to see what works best for your ultimate purposes. Shooting moving traffic is a pretty good way to test (and won't wear a dog out!).

Have fun!
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