Filming: Panning Tips (Pan-Rate, Frame-Rate, Shutter-Speed)

Some issues I have experienced, and some answers from various sources:

  • At least when played on a laptop, motion seems juddery.  Can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s as if the frame rate is uneven.
    • Appears to be due to playing a 25 fps video on a 60Hz refresh-rate display device (my laptop’s screen).
      • I did an experiment, panning around a garden (in daylight)
      • Conclusion: for online viewing of naturally-lit pans, 30 fps is best (consistent: record, edit and display) , even in PAL regions.
    • Try increasing the shutter-time.
      • I did an experiment, panning around a garden (in daylight)
        • Vimeo: (30 fps) and (25 fps)
        • Slowing the shutter from 180 degrees (1/60 sec) to 360 degrees (1/30 sec) did not affect the smoothness of the pan, however it did cause an irritating blur to the (panning) image.
      • So when the background is the subject, don’t do that !
      • On the other hand, when following a moving object, holding it stationary in-frame, long shutter time can produce a pleasing background motion blur, diminishing background clutter and suggesting speed.  Might be a problem (I guess) if object includes movement such as flapping wings.
  • What’s the best speed for a pan?
    • Typically 3 to 5 seconds
    • Don’t pan over too great an area, especially of a nearby object, especially if the middle portion is uninteresting.
  • Begin and end with a few seconds of static (static shots i.e. locked-off camera).
    • Cutting from a static sometimes better when first few frames up to half a second are static (pre-pan)
  • Tip:
    • For a stills camera: “Use a shutter speed between 1/8sec and 1/125sec depending on the subject’s speed and distance,”
    • For a video camera, I tried a range of shutter speeds from 1/25 to 1/60 and it made little difference to motion smoothness, the main factor was the chosen fps (on a laptop, 30 fps recording gave better smoothness than 25 fps recording)


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