What Are the Best Settings for Night Videos?

Filming at night presents an extra challenge compared to daytime scenes, but with a little finesse you can obtain breathtaking nighttime footage that makes an unforgettable impression. What are the best video camera settings for night shoots?

Camera and Lighting

The first step to gorgeous nighttime filmmaking is to select the right video camera for the job. DSLR video cameras are ideal for low-light situations due to their enhanced light sensitivity and large sensor size.

It’s also important to come prepared with lighting tools. Whether you use a camera light, smartphone flashlight, reflectors or a complete lighting set with various stands, virtually all night video requires some type of illumination.

Video Settings

  • Aperture: Set your video camera to a lower f-stop, such as f/1.2 or f/2.8. This wider aperture lets allows more light to reach the sensor. It also limits depth of field, so keeping subjects in focus is more complex. For scenes with lots of movement, add extra lighting and use f/5.6 instead.

  • ISO: This setting determines how sensitive the camera is to light. At night, you can increase ISO to the 500–800 range for automatically brighter videos. Settings that are too high can cause a grainy appearance, so limit ISO to a maximum of 1600 for APS-C cameras and 3200 for full-frame models.

  • Shutter Speed: To limit motion blur, it’s best to opt for a shutter speed of 1/50 for 24 fps video, or 1/60 for 30 fps video.

  • White Balance: When manual white balance is enabled, you can set the warmth of your scene. To highlight an orange glow from a warm fire, choose a higher Kelvin setting, such as 5500–7000. To create a cool blue evening tone, experiment in the area of 2000 K.

Discover Why Night Video Is So Amazing

Are you looking for ideas and inspiration for your next nighttime shoot? Check out the dynamic stock video library at Shutterstock for high-quality night videos created by experienced pros.

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