What impact does shutter speed have on HDSLR video?

by Maddie2 Comments

When learning about HDSLR video, people often ask “what should my shutter speed be?” And they often rely on their photographic background and want to bump the shutter speed up pretty high because they want the action to be frozen like in their photographs. But, that isn't the way movies are made and that can be hard to understand. That's where Ramin Miraftabi's videos below might help you understand a bit about shutter speed and it's impact on video. We'll also remind you about this very popular post: “Shooting video with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II? Learn the 180 Degree Shutter rule

Ramin's shutter speed notes

from his post

In my attempts to learn about shooting and editing video I encountered a guideline that stated that for video the shutter speed should be the inverse of the frame rate. So for 25fps the shutter speed should be 1/25 s and so on. The reasoning for this is that it gives moving objects in each frame some motion blur so that motion the change from frame to frame isn’t quite as abrupt. What I read sounded and felt like good advice, but it did lead me to wonder if the same holds when the motion is very fast.

As is readily apparent I shoot a lot of pictures of fast moving four-legged objects that are often black – aka flatcoated retrievers. In my photography I’ve noticed that often even 1/250 s isn’t enough to completely freeze movement when the dogs are in full motion. So I was a bit skeptical whether the advice would apply even when shooting fast moving dogs. Or any other fast moving object for that matter. In defense of my skepticism I must admit that I didn’t doubt the advice when considering objects moving at normal speeds: human walking, normal gesturing, human running etc.

The idea for this shoot is something I’ve had for quite a while, but since I don’t have two cameras capable of shooting manual video, I had to wait for my friend Victor Jason to come over. We’ve reduced most of the variables we could to get similar enough image quality that it wouldn’t be a factor. The following videos were shot with two Canon 7Ds mounted on a single tripod. Both cameras are using a Canon EF 70-200L f/4 USM, although the baseline had the IS version. ISO speed, image styles etc. were also identical. Because we didn’t have ND filters there is a difference in aperture in addition to the shutter speed. Both cameras were also prefocused to the to the line that Topi used when running right to left. My wife Anna served as Topi’s handler and for each take he ran a “mark” – he saw the dummy being thrown and retrieved it once he was given permission. I threw each mark so that they landed in roughly the same spot every time.

Shutter speed test at 50fps

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Shutter speed test at 50fps from Ramin Miraftabi on Vimeo.

Testing the effect of shutter speed on a fast moving object when shooting video. Shot with two Canon 7Ds. This is the version with both cameras at 50fps and the baseline shutter speed at 1/50s.

More tests

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Shutter speed test at 25fps

Shutter speed test at 25fps from Ramin Miraftabi on Vimeo.

Testing the effect of shutter speed on a fast moving object when shooting video. Shot with two Canon 7Ds. This is the version with both cameras at 25fps and the baseline shutter speed at 1/25s.

Please read Ramin's conclusions on his post

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. Alright, I’m confused here. By reading the first paragraph of Ramin’s shutter speed notes, he doesn’t use the 180 degree rule 25fps is 1/25 shutter speed? Okay, Wouldn’t that allow for to much motion blur? Shouldn’t that read 1/50th shutter?

    1. Honestly, I’ve probably misunderstood what I’ve read or then the inverse of focal length = stable shutterspeed of still photography is so ingrained that I just remembered wrong. I stand corrected and the baseline should thus be 1/2*fps. Who knows, maybe I’ll redo this at some point. I know Topi would be up to running around again 😉

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