Using Shutter Angle for Video and Why It’s Better Than Shutter Speed

Understanding what a shutter speed is has been with us since the beginning of learning photography. For shooting video, shutter speed gets a little more complicated as it now has a direct relationship with the frame rate to calculate for. Shutter angle is what will make everything simple again.

In this episode of DPReview TV, Jordan Drake and Chris Niccolls are preaching all about why shutter angle is better than shutter speed for video. With shutter speed, you need to do the math to have the right effect with the frame rate of your recording. Probably the more difficult part though is you need to remember to do it every time the frame rate is changed. If you record a mix of slow motion and standard footage, it’s only a matter of time until you miss one of these changes and your clips are useless. Shutter angle allows you to only worry about one number and no math, and that one number is likely never to change even when flipping between frame rates.

Sounds great, right? The problem is that only a few consumer cameras that aren’t full blown cinema cameras have the option to use shutter angles rather than shutter speeds. As noted by Niccolls and Drake, a couple of the popular options on the market right now are the Panasonic Lumix GH5 and GH5s, but other companies that are trying to flex their video specs inside hybrid cameras should take note and give us the choice as well.

Do you wish your camera had the shutter angle option for video? Do you agree that it’s a better method than calculating shutter speeds? Let us know in the comments below.

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7 Comments

Lee Christiansen's picture

I think if we've reached the point where multiplying a number by 2 is too tricky, we've reached the point where we should all be just pointing our iPhones in full auto mode.

We have a world where people want auto exposure, auto focus, auto colour correction, stabilisation and presets. We want our edit systems to auto recognise formats, we have album design software to suggest every page layout. No one wants to learn steadicam because a gimbal is easier...

Whilst I welcome modern tech and how it makes our lives easier, (heck I always hated all the faff in the darkroom and much prefer the speed and convenience of a computer screen), it does seem too much is expected from our gear.

The next Canon upgrade - a camera that carries itself, or a Manfrotto which frames the shot.

There... Old Man rant over. (I wish this damn keyboard would type itself... ha).

michaeljin's picture

Seriously... I don't even do video, but this part of it doesn't seem like rocket science.

ROBERT MOSKO's picture

"I wish this damn keyboard would type itself... ha".....

Well actually voice typing does exist.

Wait, if I shoot 30p at a shutter speed other than 1/60, it's worthless?
Yea, lost me there.
I am not bound by that rule, nor will I be.
We all aren't making great 'cinematic' films after all.

Tony Tumminello's picture

"Wait, if I shoot 30p at a shutter speed other than 1/60, it's worthless?"

I think they're just saying that if you want the cinematic look that most videos have, then 1/60s is what you'd want to use if shooting a 30p video. But just like how in photography there's plenty of good reasons to break "rules", videography is the same way. A good example is from Saving Private Ryan during the beach scene where they didn't follow the 180-degree shutter, instead opting for a faster shutter speed (45-degree and 90-degree) in order to reduce blurring and make the scene extremely jarring. Breaking the "rule" was used to creative effect. The same thing was done in Gladiator, they also used a 45-degree shutter during the first fight scene.

Lee Christiansen's picture

You can shoot at any shutter you like. The point was that if we want to get a natural motion look, then double the frame rate for shutter settings.

If you want and understand the difference a different shutter speed will offer, then choose that.

I have an issue with the author's condescending tone with the use of the phrase, "it's worthless."