Knowing my camera for video

Up to now I have only used my DSLR for still photography, with this new course I am now learning about the functions and features of the Movie mode on my Nikon D800e.

Frames per second (fps) against image quality

In the camera menu, I have a choice of 24, 25 and 30 fps at 1920 x 1080 or 25, 30, 50 and 60 fps at 1280 x 720.  For now I shall work at 25 fps 1920 x 1080.

Still / Movie setting.

First the camera must be switched from still photography mode via a switch on the back of the camera and the LV live view button must be pressed before I can start recording.  This lifts the mirror; so blocking the viewfinder; so any framing through the viewfinder must be conducted before beginning any filming.  I also note that in professional films great care is taken to be sure that film cameras are level.  This is an important factor to remember before starting filming, as unlike still photography there is no cropping features that can correct this type of error.


Focusing can be either manual of auto; but auto will look unprofessional as the mechanism will always focus in and out before settling; so manual would be best.  Focusing should be set up before starting and if adjusted, adjusted by hand and rehearsed and the scene re-shot several times to find the best results at the editing stage.


My Nikon allows me to fully control my exposure in Movie when setting the camera to Manual.  I have control of ISO for image quality, Shutter speed for exposure and Aperture for depth-of-field.

White Balance

This can be set manually on my camera however, this may also be adjustable in the video editing software, but camera setting will probably be best.


My camera has a built-in Mic; but I have decided to switch it off through the camera’s main menu and use a separate recording device for sound in order to have greater control and illuminate noise generated from the camera such as focusing motor.

Image Quality

I have two choices Normal or High, I have selected High.

Video Format

I can not find any reference to a choice of video format (as I do for my still photography of the RAW, TIFF or JPEG options) . I have my camera set to RAW for still photography and will keep this setting; so hopefully I will be recording in a format that will be good for any editing software.

Additional Equipment.

I have several Tripods, I have invested in a video steady rig to attach to the camera to hand-hold or shoot from shoulder height.  I have also invested in a Digital sound recorder that and shotgun mic, boom and furry windshield.   I have also got a Sekonic light-meter that is good for film work.

At this stage I don’t think that I want to invest any further with lights; but I will try to improvise where I can.  I do want to control my lighting as best I can and keeping within my budgetary constraints.



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