This is article #28 in the DSLR Video Weekly series.  If you’d like the whole thing in one shot, check out the book Creating DSLR Video: From Snapshots to Great Shots.

Once you get the hang of video, be sure to monetize it by becoming a contributor to Adobe Stock.

Top Caption ISO 100 1/100 sec. f/16 50mm lens I positioned myself so a tree blocked the sun to reduce the chance of lens flares on my camera. Photo by Robert Vanelli

No matter how good a photographer you are, you can’t completely control the way the sun affects your footage. It moves in your scene (more quickly the closer you are to sunrise or sunset).  It also can vary greatly in quality and quantity.  The longer you’re shooting in one location, the more aware of the sun you’ll need to be.  Changes from shot to shot can become jarring when you edit the footage together because visual continuity can be broken.

Finding a consistent exposure of the bright sky and shadowy sidewalks required a balancing act.  I chose to keep my exposure in the middle to avoid clipping highlights or shadows, which was especially important because this was a tilted shot.

What Is Sunlight?

Without revisiting too much material from your grade school, earth science class, let’s review what sunlight is. Essentially, sunlight is a range of electromagnetic radiation given off by the sun.  This radiation is filtered through the earth’s atmosphere and is obvious to the eye as daylight. Depending upon the season as well as the time of day, the amount of light visible will vary greatly.

When shooting in sunlight, be mindful of your shadow.  You don’t want to cast a shadow with your body or gear across your subject. ISO 100 1/60 sec. f/11 28mm lens.  Photo by Meghan Ryan-Harrington

The light can be directly visible as a source (although framing the actual sun directly in your camera for too long can potentially damage your camera’s sensor).  The sunlight can also be diffused by clouds or reflected off natural and human-made surfaces. And of course, sunlight creates shadows that you must be aware of.

What Is Color Temperature?

Light can actually be measured in terms of temperature; the common unit is degrees Kelvin.  The scale ranges from the color of a candle (around 1900K) to that of a deep blue sky (around 10,000K). Typically, the average color temperature for outdoors at noon is approximately 5600K.

The Kelvin scale is a useful way to describe the temperature of light.

When you move from indoor light to outdoor light, your eyes automatically compensate for the color shift.  All you’ll perceive is an overall change in light levels.  Your DSLR camera, however, cannot compensate for the change.  Whether you’re recording stills or video, you’ll see potentially dramatic color shifts if your camera isn’t calibrated correctly.

Recall that you learned about custom white balancing earlier.  You may need to take precise control while shooting video under daylight to adjust your color temperature slightly while shooting to account for changes like clouds and shade.  Also, keep in mind that white balancing a shot during the postproduction stages of video is very easy.

Join us each Saturday for the next installment of this weekly series.

Once you get the hang of video, be sure to monetize it by becoming a contributor to Adobe Stock.