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Video Cameras have come a long way since the old Bell & Howell , 8mm and 16mm film cameras. Many of the new professional and semi-professional cameras have extensive features.  These features are buried within menus or placed on buttons all over the camera, which are often ignored. However many of these features can improve or often save a shot.  Here are the top 2 features that are overlooked.

White Balance

Almost everyone leaves this feature in the automatic setting. This can be fine if your in a rush to establish a shot. However the downside is you colors are often misleading, and you will notice this once you are in post. The reason you need to white balance is to get the colors in your image as accurate as possible.

Without white balancing you may notice a difference in your colors. YOur shots may come out blueish, or yellowish.  This is because fluorescent lighting adds a bluish cast, and  tungsten (incandescent/bulbs) lights add a yellowish tinge to photos. This is white balance is crucial to getting the most accurate colors out of your shot. Customizing your white balance can be confusing to some. Luckily most modern cameras come equipped with setting most often used in various environments. Switching to one of these can make a huge impact.

White Balance Presets


  • Auto – The camera takes a estimated guess, and is not always accutare.
  • Tungsten – This is for shooting indoors, under tungsten (incandescent) lighting. It generally cools down the colors in photos.
  • Fluorescent – This compensates for the ‘cool’ light of fluorescent light and will warm up your shots.
  • Daylight/Sunny – not all cameras have this setting because it sets things as fairly ‘normal’ white balance settings.
  • Cloudy – this setting generally warms things up a touch more than ‘daylight’ mode.



Frame Rates

Modern Professional cameras come with a variety of frame rates. they can range from 1 – 1000 fps. For a cinematic look 24p is best. for a more video / news look 29.97 frames works best. But using the higher number frames rates can provide you with some stunning slow motion footage.  Using speeds from 60fps to 1000fps can give your film the added excitement or drama you have been looking for. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Just remember to White Balance!



This is a setting that adjust the sensitive of your camera to light. On still camera’s  and large film camera’s it’s referred to as ISO. On prosumer video cameras, it referred to as gain.  Both can be adjusted to increase  sensitivity in low light situations. ISO  correspond to film speed. The lower the number say 100 ISO is less sensitive than an ISO 3200 which is better suited for low light situations.

Gain on the other hand on video cameras can be tricky and destructive if not used correctly.  Gain does what it sounds like, it bumps up the picture sensitive with a sever drawback. It can introduced a lot of undesirable grain and noise to your shot. If used correctly it can save a shot from ending up in the trimbin.  Using more than a +6db gain often introduces a great deal of noise.

Using ISO / Gain can save a shot and allow your to shoot in low light situations with out the use of additional light.

Using these 3 features will help you get the most out of your camera as well as production.  Playing with these setting will also help your film tell a more intriguing story, as well as improve your skills.

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