DSLRs are amazing for video in low light situations. The high ISO ranges you can reach let you shoot gorgeous movies because the large sensors can pick up light even when there’s not much around. You can open up the aperture and achieve a wonderfully shallow depth of field that makes the subject stand out of the background, giving a very cinematic feel. But in bright light this doesn’t work so well. The wide-open aperture lets in so much light that things can look over exposed and burnt out. This is fine in certain creative situations, but it’s unlikely that you’ll want that effect all the time.
The most obvious solution is to narrow the aperture, but if you want that shallow depth of field this is no good. You can alter the shutter speed or ISO, but when shooting video this isn’t always the best idea as it can produce a slightly more digital or jerky look to your movies.
- Using ND (Neutral Density) filters allows you to shoot in bright light without having to narrow the aperture or adjust other settings. These are "grey" filters that are designed to reduce the entire spectrum of light entering the camera so that the image is darkened, but no colour is changed.
- ND filters are available in a variety of strengths. Each one effectively reduces the f-stop by a certain amount while letting you retain the desired aperture size.
- There are a variety of types of ND filter, some of which are designed for specific creative effects. The best types for everyday use are either a range of standard filters or a variable filter. With the standard filters you can add and remove different densities until you achieve the exposure you need. Variable filters can be rotated to adjust the amount of light they block. A camera specialist will be able to show you exactly which type and brand best fit your requirements.
Now you can make dazzling videos without being blinded by the light.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific details.