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Old June 29th, 2005, 07:47 PM   #1
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Shutter Speed - Opinions

I just stumbled on this article and was wondering what you guys think.
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Old June 29th, 2005, 11:50 PM   #2
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I'd look elsewhere for more information on the subject. Many camcorder users, use the shutter, as a quick way to control the exposure.

Faster shutter speeds are useful for capturing fast moving objects, while slower shutter speeds are useful for creating a dreamy / blurry look.

The shutter on a camera is used to control how long each frame is exposed to light. It's usually measured in fractions of a second 1/30, 1/60, 1/100, 1/1000 etc.
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Old June 30th, 2005, 12:08 AM   #3
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Shutters are a wonderful tool. As the author suggested they can slow down the image of moving objects which is actually a very cool effect when shooting helicopter blades or bicycle wheels, etc.

As the author obviously doesn't know; the shutter can be used to cut the amount of light entering the lens as the previous response mentioned, soften the background of an interview making a softer overall look while adding separation from the interview subject and is also very useful if you have to shoot computer screens. You can choose a shutter speed that most closely matches the scan rate of the monitor to minimize the rolling black line that occurs without the shutter.

One word of caution, don't use a shutter speed of more than 100 when shooting under flourescent lights. I don't all the mechanics of this issue.... but I believe fluorescents rotate through a series of colors which appear as white to the naked eye. A high shutter speed may match that rate of rotation and record them. Made this mistake personally, but only ONCE. The person being interviewed did a slow color change like a chameleon. One second red, the next green, the next; etc.. It was totally unusable. And totally embarrassing.

I would suggest that you experiment alot with your shutter and learn all of it's many useful capabilites.

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Old June 30th, 2005, 08:09 AM   #4
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I do use various shutter speeds, Stephanie, but partly because I'm cheap !
I have a 5-yr-old Digital8 camcorder with remote-control tripod, polarizer, wide-angle adapter, etc. but no ND filter !

Most of all, I hate the heavy edge enhancement outline that appears around every sharp detail when my cam is in any mode except "Portrait".

"Portrait" AE Program is a combination of 3 settings:
a. Edge enhancement (sharpness) turned down for clean non-emphasized details. (no artifact outlines!)
b. Auto-shutter, which selects a shutter speed between 1/100th and 1/500th depending on available light, to allow a wider iris aperture, hence a shallower depth-of-field (as an ND filter would do).
c. Color saturation up a little bit.

The effective resolution of my cheap'ol cam is so low, I like to give it a chance by reducing motion-blurr to a certain degree. So I don't mind an outdoor scene shot at 1/250th or 1/500th if it comes out cleaner.
Obviously, I wouldn't suggest the "Sport" AE program which uses 1/1000th to 1/5000th : it needs so much light that noise is visible even in a daylight picture, and movement is very stroby.

I understand the purists using $5000 cams who say they don't mess with shutter speeds to preserve natural motion flow, but they can tweak sharpness and saturation with separate manual controls. I can't.
Norm :)
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Old June 30th, 2005, 08:22 AM   #5
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I also occasionally use Slow Shutter Speed of 1/30th in camp-fire situations for instance to help getting something on the screen other than video noise.

This option really exposes each frame during 1/30th sec. instead of standard 1/60th but, to do so, it de-interlaces the picture, i.e. discards one whole field while it exposes to other one twice longer (and duplicates it to replace the lost one), in order to get a 30 frame-per-second flow of picture. Vertical resolution is reduced by half and some stair-step may show, but the subjects come through more than noise grain. Speeds of 1/15th, 1/8th and 1/4th are also available, but they show strobing movement.
Norm :)
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Old June 30th, 2005, 12:32 PM   #6
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WOW, that article is silly... Shutter is an INVALUABLE tool that cannot be recreated in post, it HAS to be done in camera...

One thing that needs to be made clear is that shutter is an EFFECT, not a way to control light. Light should always be controlled with aperture (exposure) or with ND filters. The ONLY exception should be if you are in a situation where you have to film and there is no light, then you might try a 30 shutter or at worst a 15... this is really just an emergency only setting IMHO as the effect cannot be reversed later.

The standard shutter is 60, that is mostly what you see on TV and mostly what you will use. Without getting too technical, the higher you push the shutter (some cameras go up to 15,000) the more "crispy" the image. It will be CRYSTAL CLEAR but appear jumpy, as if you have super perception. Some people call this the "Saving Private Ryan" look. If you are shooting a band, you can see every guitar string move, you can see the cymbals respond to the sticks, etc. Same with sports, cars, rap videos, etc. That kind of stuff looks great with a high shuttter. The only caveat, is the higher the shutter, the more light you need.

For shutters under 60, those have a reverse effect, I call it a "mushy" look. Strobe is not really the correct term, it is more ghosty with any image leaving a trail. Some cameras go all the way down to 4. One thing you can try is putting your camera on a tripod, then throwing an object or having someone run thru the frame... interesting effect. The slow shutters let IN a lot more light so you will have to adjust the aperture accordingling. Another fun thing with a slow shutter is shooting Xmas lights and moving the camera in a circular patter... interesting stuff for backgrounds, etc. One other thing, colors get VERY saturated with a low shutter, which can be nice for some things...

So, shutter is not only useful but a tool that is just have to learn to use it right...

ash =o)

Last edited by Ash Greyson; June 30th, 2005 at 02:13 PM.
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Old July 3rd, 2005, 08:41 AM   #7
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Posts: 118 the article and found it ludicrous. Use of aperture and shutter setting combinations are the tools that allow a camera to utilized to it's fullest extent from a creative point. As a still photographer for many years, I've used aperaure and shutter to create many, many different looks. Now that I use a video camera, I (finally) found the same ability. The lower the aperature, the less depth of field...but it has to be matched with the appropriate shutter speed or ND filter for the proper exposure. Whoever wrote the article needs to take a basic course in OR still. The same principles apply...
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Old July 5th, 2005, 07:47 AM   #8
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Shutter speeds are useful

Imagine this situation:

It's 10 AM on a sunny day. You're in the bushes, consumer cam on tripod, and you want a clean close-up of a rare bird in a tree about 100 ft away.

Which of these settings will give you the best picture ?

A. Zoom-in 20x, Shutter 1/60th (default), aperture: f11.

B. Zoom-in 20x, Shutter 1/60th (default), ND filter on, aperture: f8.

C. Zoom-in 20x, Shutter 1/500, aperture: f4.8

I think C is the best bet.
At full zoom-in, an additional layer of glass like a ND filter will blurr a little or cause blue edges around your bird, unless you paid $500 for your filter only. Merely holding the tripod's handle with your hand at 20x will cause some picture shake at 1/60th, even with stabilizer on. At 1/500th, shaking is still possible, but at least movement blurr is reduced. To throw background branches out of focus and bring the bird clearly out front, you're looking for shallower D.O.F.: you're better off with the widest iris aperture (f4 - f4.8).

Now, bring the arguments !
Norm :)

Last edited by Norm Couture; July 5th, 2005 at 12:04 PM.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 11:19 AM   #9
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Shutter is not a factor for virtually still images... if it is a person on a bench or bird in a tree, the effect of a shutter will be negated. If you were trying to follow the bird moving, that is another story. Shutter effects the perception of movement... There are multiple stages of ND filters, if you are prepared you should never HAVE to use shutter to control the light...

ash =o)
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Old July 5th, 2005, 11:26 AM   #10
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Not argueing with your expertise, but I would have selected B. Having the f-stop in the 'sweet-spot' rather than at either extreme would have been my preference.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 11:40 AM   #11
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I agree with Norm on this one. DoF is important if you want to pick out your subject or make sure various subjects at different depths are in focus. Playing with apertures gives you that DoF control, which means that you will need to play tunes with shutter speed to get the right amount of light in. ND can cut down light, but if you need more...... you have to go longer shutter times (or add more light to your bird 100ft away!)
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Old July 5th, 2005, 11:48 AM   #12
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Shutter speed and aperture are both methods of controlling the ammount of light that reaches the 'film' (or in our case, the ccd).

For any given situation, there are a number of combinations that will 'correctly' capture an image, properly exposed. Each combination will yield a slightly different aesthetic... in terms of sharpness, depth of field, motion blur... etc.

A good craftsman understands the proper use of ALL the tools in his toolbox, and utilize a specific tool to achieve a desired effect.
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