October 12, 2014 at 1:43PM


A BEGINNERS QUESTION: shooting with telephoto lenses in video vs. photo

A question about shutter speeds in Video vs. Photo with telephoto lenses
Ilia Isakov , Oct 11, 2014; 12:56 p.m.

Please before you flip away, read the questions below marked as A, B or C or simply PLEASE SHARE PROBLEMS AND CAMERA SPECIFICATIONS YOU USE WHEN SHOOTING VIDEO WITH TELEPHOTO LENSES. If you are interested in answering me on a more detailed level then read the entire thing. Here is what I'm asking about:

I am thinking about buying the panasonic 4.0-5.6 45-200 telephoto lens. I do both video and photo. But my priority is video in this question.
Here is what I know
For Photo
If I was to shoot at the 200mm end I would probably adjust my shutter speed to about 1/400 of a sec range. And in situations where light is not as available, even a heavily overcast and dark day, this would mean a few things. If ISO is kept to reasonable limits - then camera aperture will have to be in the fast end, probably reaching the 4-5.6 limit. Give or take……… am i correct?

Ok now assuming this is true for photo, how does this translate in video world. Here are my assumptions, BUT PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR INPUT BASED ON EXPERIENCE WITH WORKING WITH LONG REACHING LENSES WITH VIDEO ON DSLR'S.
I will probably need to use a tripod………I know…….but I am not a tripod person, I like my freedom.
So assuming I will not use my tripod, here is my first questions A) will increasing the shutter speed decrease overall footage shake (I know it photography it simply captures the image too fast for the increased sensitivity to shake that Telephoto lenses have, to have any affect, what does this mean when shooting "moving pictures"/video. will it have any affect other than aesthetic ones.
B) Which brings me to a tangent question- what exactly does increasing shutter
speed do on resulting video footage, I know it makes it more crisp and less motion blur.
But what about the picture shaking corner to corner. how does this affect the entire
footage logo.
C) if increasing shutter speeds in telephoto videography is senseless, then does this obligate me to the tripod, or is there a way around that.


In most cases you have to shoot video with a 180 degree shutter, which means 1/48th of a second for 24fps or 1/60th of a second for 30 fps. Faster shutter speeds will produce a kind of "staccato" movement cadence like the action scenes from "Saving Private Ryan" or "Gladiator".

A good tripod or monopod is generally a really good idea when shooting telephoto footage, just make sure you don't pan too fast or you may see "jitter" in your image. The rule of thumb for 24fps panning is that it should take 7 seconds for any object to travel from one side of the frame to the other, which can seem very slow when you are shooting.

October 16, 2014 at 2:41AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Finally, someone else who uses telephotos hand-held! I've done this before several times to great effect. Alright, lets get down and dirty here:

A&B) Short answer, yes, it'll help reduce the shaky look a little, but it'll wreck your final image. Anything that's in motion in the shot will look jittery and unnatural. If you check out the footage from the "Vizzywig 4k" article, you can see the result of a high shutter speed on video. It looks kinda gross, and that's one of the reasons it was criticized so heavily.

I agree with Guy, here, if you're shooting 24p, you're gonna want to stick at around 1/48 or 1/50, depending on your camera.

Panning jitter can be a thing as well, but it matters more in some settings than others, particularly in narrative film. Worry at your discretion.

C) All that being said, if you're not a tripod guy, don't use a tripod. If you're a telephoto guy, don't get a wide. What you're going to want to do though is get yourself a small rig with at least two features. 1) Something for the lens to rest on--the amount of lens shake this will reduce, especially on longer focal lengths, is surprising. 2) Get a shoulder rest of some sort and some handles. They can be cheap, but make sure they're comfy. They'll help smooth the small jitters in your body into slower, natural camera movements. I'd avoid walking at 85-200mm, but other than that, shouldn't be too big of an issue.

Practice will help the best, and I guess, if you absolutely need it, image stabilization, but I've never used it myself. The only issue I'd worry about is the relatively slow aperture on the lens if you're shooting anywhere but outside.

November 3, 2014 at 12:01PM

Jacob Floyd
Writer / Videographer

I know you said you're not a tripod guy, but have you looked at monopods? I've got a decent monopod with a fluid head, but even a $15-20 from walmart will make shots with a longer lens infinitely smoother than going handheld.
As far as lenses, that should cover you outside, but like Jacob mentioned, shooting inside without a ton of lights is going to be tough. Most mirrorless cameras can take adapted vintage lenses, and a $15-20 50mm 1.8 off ebay might really surprise you. It also lets you open up and throw your background out of focus much more easily than a lens at f4.
Good luck

January 14, 2015 at 5:10PM


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