It’s pretty frustrating to spend a whole day shooting and to only realize that the footage is either under or overexposed when you check it the next day. Chrystopher Rhodes of YMImaging has a few tip to prevent this from happening and to make sure that you correctly expose your videos every time.
First off, Rhodes says that you need to use your camera’s in-camera functions: “This is going to sound very self-explanatory to a lot of people,” Rhodes says, “but I know a lot of people who actually don’t use the simple, easy functions that they have in-camera that are going to help them expose the image correctly.” The four in-camera functions that Rhodes is talking about are the exposure meter, histogram, waveform and zebras. These functions do vary between different cameras, but at the very least your camera does have an exposure meter. Make sure to use these functions to their fullest to ensure that you aren’t either overexposing or underexposing your shots. Something as simple as checking to see that your exposure meter’s not too far from the zero area could end up saving you from ruining a shot.
Next, Rhodes says that you need to expose for your subject. What he means by this is that you need to adjust your exposure so the main subject that you are trying to focus in on correctly exposed, even if that leaves other things over or underexposed. He says that if you are trying to film a sunset, you should adjust your exposure so the sunset looks good, but in doing so you could leave some things as silhouettes, which he says is okay. “It’s up to you to perfectly expose the image for what is the focal point of the image,” Rhodes says.
The last tip that Rhodes gives is to use a light meter. A light meter is able to give you more specific and more accurate readings than your in-camera exposure meter. If you point it at a subject, it can give you a readout of what to set your shutter speed, aperture and ISO to so you can expose the image correctly.
Correctly exposing your footage can be tricky, but starting with these three tips will help you find out what works for you and your shoots.