1.3 - Shutter Speed

Lesson Notes

In this lesson we’ll learn about Shutter Speed. Now, if you’ve dabbled in photography at all, you understand Shutter Speed. A Shutter Speed is how long a single image is exposed to the outside light. A very fast Shutter Speed will not let much light in, but a slow Shutter Speed will let a lot of light in. Pretty simple, right? Shutter Speed functions almost like your eyelid. If you look at a bright light with your eyes closed and open and close them really fast, the light won’t be as bright as if you kept them open them for 3 seconds. Or longer.

This is the concept of Shutter Speed.

Digital Shutter Speed

With video, it does the exact same thing except it’s all digital. For example, a video shot at 24 frames per second (which is the typical “film” look) will have 24 individual images taken in 1 second and then put together to make a video. If it was 60 FPS it would capture 60 images in 1 second. With video, the Shutter Speed is how long each of those individual images captured are exposed to the light and how “fast” those images are captured. It works the same as if we took 24 pictures and put them together.

Therefore, your Shutter Speed is affecting every individual image that is captured. If the Shutter Speed is low, then you’ll get more light and motion blur than if your Shutter Speed is set high. Just like it would be if you were taking a single picture. If your Shutter Speed is set high, you naturally get less light and your video will look darker.

Some General Rules

The following are some general rules that will help you in understanding Shutter Speed.

One, the lower the Shutter Speed, the more motion blur. And, the faster the Shutter Speed, the crisper the video.

Two, the lower the Shutter Speed, the brighter the video. The faster the Shutter Speed, the darker the video.

Three, for the most natural look in your video, your Shutter Speed should be double your FPS. In other words, if you are shooting at 24 FPS, your Shutter Speed should be 48. If 60 FPS, your Shutter Speed should be 120. This will give you the most natural or real look to your film.


Remember, the rules for the best look are not cast in stone. In other words, you might want a “war” look to your video and need to go higher with your Shutter Speed. So, go higher. Or, you might really need to let in more light and need to lower your Shutter Speed to less than double your FPS. So, go lower. The rules are not cast in stone. If you need to break a rule to get the look you need, then break it. Be creative and create something that works perfectly in your film.

Next Step Challenge

Hopefully, at this point you’ve got a pretty good understanding of ISO and Shutter Speed. So before we jump head-first into Aperture, you need to master what you’ve already learned.

And how do we do that? You guessed it, practice. Experiment with your shutter speed and see all the types of different looks you can create with your camera. View your camera as an extension of your eye and go and get creative. See what works and what doesn’t.

Let your creativity flow. And, as always, remember to have fun while you’re at it.

Complete and Continue