Understanding Shutter Angle and the "Filmic Look"

I found a great video in which Alexander Fox helps us to understand the shutter in traditional film cameras, and how it relates to modern DSLR video.

Summary: To get a standard narrative film look, you want your shutter speed to be half your frame rate (or your shutter angle to be 180°).

Watch the video to find out why the standard film shutter angle is 180° and how that equates to half of your frame rate.


Some Maths

Shutter Angle = Frame Rate × 360 / Shutter Speed

example: 180 = 24 * 360 / 48

This can be spun around:

Shutter Speed = Frame Rate × ½

example: 1/48 = 1/24 * 1/2

Why We Care

Decreasing your shutter speed (increasing your shutter angle) without adjusting your frame-rate to match will increase motion blur in your footage.

Increasing your shutter speed (decreasing your shutter angle) without adjusting your frame-rate to match will decrease motion blur in your footage, but cause a staccato effect if you push it too far. This Saving Private Ryan Effect can help tell your story if used deliberately, but you'll want to avoid it otherwise.

Author

Jeff Szusz

I'm a professional web developer, a novice videography nerd, and I love a good book or games with friends. I'm @jeffszusz on twitter!