How To Set Up Your DSLR Camera For A Cinematic Short Film

How To Set Up Your DSLR Camera For A Cinematic Short Film


Hey guys, Rob Ruef here with a tutorial on
how to set up your camera for shooting a cinematic short film. There’s a few things you need
to remember when you are setting up to shoot your film, and these are: frame rate, flat
picture style, depth of field and most importantly the exposure.
First is frame rate, your going to want to shoot with 24p or 25p for a cinematic look.
60p if necessary for slow motion but I wouldn’t use it too much. Make sure not to go below
23.976 frames per second or your video will look choppy and ugly.
Two, flat picture style, shoot in a flat picture style like cinestyle or flat or create your
own in picture style editor. A flat picture style can pick up more information because
shadows are raised and highlights are decreased. Desaturation is also common. Flat picture
styles are great because you can add whatever look you want to your clips. You can make
them dark and depressing or you can saturate it and make it look epic. And when you use
a flat picture style it’s more like shooting in a raw codec, an uncompressed raw like red
raw because you gain more detail, more dynamic range which is really key for post. It looks
way better your images will look great afterwards you can add a nice amount of contrast and
you won’t lose a lot of detail. Third thing. Is Depth of Field. This is one
of my favorite parts of filming. The ability gained from depth of field is great. You can
focus on a single object or have everything be in focus. It’s really your choice. Good
lenses for a short DOF are between f1.4 and f5.6 and your going to want to make sure that
you have the right lens before you start shooting. If your shooting a wide-angle shot you should
probably not have a telephoto lens or something like that. You should think about what kind
of lens you want, how you want your shot to look before hand and it should come out great.
The right lenses for a portrait are 50mm and 85mm. Telephoto is 135mm +. Wide-angle is
35mm and less. One other thing I wanted to point out. I actually
shoot in vintage prime lenses and the reason for that is, vintage prime lenses are great,
i love vintage lenses. They look great, they have a nice apeture ring on it so you can
just change it automatically, you don’t have to go in through the camera and set it up
that way, I find that really annoying. Old vintage lenses are really high quality, there
all metal and the glass is really nice. Some can be a little soft and have a little purple
fringing but those are really cheap and you can find a Mamiya 50mm f/2 for about $20 on
Ebay. It’s a great lens, I use that all the time. I’m just getting the Helios 58mm 44m-2
i think it is and that should be coming from Russia pretty soon, and i’m pretty excited
about that. If you check out some of my videos I always shoot with vintage prime lenses.
Fourth thing I have. Exposure. This is the most important part of shooting, and as I
said earlier a flat picture style can recover some details that are lost in shadows and
highlights. The histogram is really important, you want to set up your histogram so that
it’s almost blown out but the part is not actually touching the highlights, and you
don’t want it touching blacks either. First thing you want to do when you are setting
up your exposure is think if you want DOF choose your apeture wisely. If you do want
DOF choose below f5.6 if not do above f5.6. Then you choose your iso, like iso 100, 200,
400, etc., unless you have magic lantern you can use the native iso’s like 160, 80, 320,
640 which are really nice because they have less noise because they are negative digital
iso’s. Third thing for exposure is your going to want to leave your shutter speed at 2x
whatever your frame rate is. So if you have 24fps then you would set it to 50, if your
at 60fps your going to want to shoot at 125. Another thing is white-balance, white balance
is really important. It’s probably best just to set your white balance to white. Your going
to want your in-camera to be as white as possible, you can change the white balance in post if
you want. It’s a lot easier that way, then you can have whatever look you want. Another
thing, I use Highlight Tone Priority when I’m shooting video. It recovers a lot more
detail in highlights because it brings them down and I feel like this is really helpful
if you tend to overexpose, I use to overexpose a lot now I pay a lot more attention to the
histograms. One more thing, have fun with what you are
doing, your making videos, its what you love, and it’s fun for you, just keep with it, don’t
get discouraged, don’t let anyone tell you your bad at it. Keep at it and you’ll do great.
Thanks for watching guys, be sure to like, comment, subscribe and have a great day!

12 thoughts on “How To Set Up Your DSLR Camera For A Cinematic Short Film”

  1. as simple as your message was at the end, it was a really good message. I just started out with filming and I almost gave up. i was thinking there were too many rules, but I'm going to keep going until I figure out my own style. awesome video. thanks

  2. Dumb question: Can you change the frame rate in post, looking on my camera it says 60p and 30p for frame rate

  3. hii….ur video is epic …we r planning to do a short film ..we watched ur video its good but not sure how to apply in practical life .any suggestions

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