360 PHOTO SETTINGS

October 2, 2019 0 By Peter Engel


Hello, this is Mr. Ben and
to answer your first question, yes I did accidentally
cut my beard too short… It was a new electric
razor, and when you get one for the first time, you
gotta learn the settings… Today we’re going to be
talking about manual exposure. And if you own one of these, a 360 camera, then you’ve probably
been taking 360 photos already in auto mode,
which is super easy, right? You turn the camera on, you take a photo, done. And when it does this, it
guesses the optimal settings to use in your specific
lighting situation. And yeah, it gets it
right a lot of the time, but a lot of times it doesn’t
which is why understanding how to expose your photos
manually will guarantee you get an awesome shot every single time you go out shooting,
especially in tricky lighting situations such as scenes with
mixed light and low light. Why don’t they sell beard wigs? So let’s do it, let’s get out of auto! I never really talked about
this in my video course or my book because
those are for beginners, so consider this an added
section that you get completely for free that
goes with those two things. Now, look around you. Yeah, I’m serious, do it, look around. As you look around your
environment, you’ll see your eye picks up detail
with almost perfection. It can see bright highlights. It can see dark shadows and it’s all relatively evenly exposed. This is what you want your camera to do. It doesn’t do it automatically
and this is why shooting manually helps us get
the best overall exposure that is closest to what
your eye would see. Auto exposure gets kind
of confused sometimes. It thinks, should I
expose for the highlights, the shadows, the middle of the range? Hmm, I’m just gonna pick one at random. And the photo ends up way
too dark or way too bright. So when we go into manual
mode, we’re like, hey you, don’t do that, I don’t want
that ISO, that shutter speed, that aperture, I want this shutter speed, this ISO, this aperture and the results are incredible and so much better than your camera could’ve done on its own. Manual mode can also help
you get stylized effects, no matter what the lighting situation. Like here, I was able
to shoot a silhouette of the Harbour Bridge when
it was completely bright out. Now let’s go shoot. Oh, by the way, I’ll be using
the Theta Z1 in this video, but you can use any camera
you like, as long as it has the ability to shoot manually. So how do we take complete
control over our exposure? Well there are four variables
that will help us do this. Shutter speed, ISO,
aperture and white balance. These are the four things that lead to us getting a perfect exposure
with perfect colors. It’s important to keep in
mind that the end result you’ll want in most
situations is even lighting. Even exposure, you want everything to look completely even like it
does now in this video. That means no blown out highlights, no crushed shadows and no funny colors. To change our exposure,
we’ll either need to adjust the shutter speed, the
ISO or the aperture. When you change one of these up or down, you’ll inevitably have to bring the other one the opposite way. This is what keeps the exposure even. Shutter speed refers to how
fast the shutter clicks. If it’s a short shutter
speed, it’ll click like this. If it’s a long shutter
speed, say one second, it clicks like this,
capturing much more light and making the image brighter. So if it’s really bright out, you’ll go with a fast shutter speed, if it’s low light, you’ll go
with a slow shutter speed. The speed that the shutter
clicks also affects how we capture motion. The faster the shutter
speed is, the easier it is to capture fast moving detail. Here’s an example where I
attempted a jumping shot at a slow shutter speed and
because the shutter speed was so slow, it wasn’t able
to capture me in mid air. Because remember, it’s capturing
everything that happens during the time it
closes, so if it goes… Then it’s capturing, capturing,
capturing, capturing, no longer capturing,
therefore anything moving is going to get blurred. Now I’m going to change it
to a much faster shutter speed and first try, it’s captured
me pin sharp in the air. Look at that, you can even see
the details of my shoelaces. And this is because I captured this at a 1/6400 shutter speed
which essentially means it’s one 6400th of a second that it’s capturing information in this scene. Damn, that’s fast! Shooting with a fast shutter
speed is not only helpful in situations where you’ve
got lots of movement in your environment, but also
when you’re walking around with the camera and the camera is moving. Bye bye camera shake,
nice to know you.. not! Our next factor is ISO
and this is something you will want to avoid bumping up too high if you can help it
because ISO is essentially fake light being added to your image and the higher you bump it up, the more imperfections your photo has. This is most commonly known as noise, which are blotchy imperfections in the darker areas of your images. So usually, no matter what I’m shooting, I will always try and keep
my ISO as low as possible. The only situation really,
when I would bump up the ISO is if I was shooting handheld at nighttime and shooting with a slow
shutter speed wasn’t an option, because if you walk around with a one or two second
exposure, then it’s going to blur the crap out of your image. So slow shutter speeds can only be used when your camera’s static. This is just another factor
to add to our equation because there’s no perfect shutter speed, there’s no perfect ISO,
there’s no perfect aperture. It really depends on your situation and what’s required for it. The final factor for manually changing your exposure is aperture
and up until this point, point and shoot 360 cameras
have had a fixed aperture. However, now with the Theta
Z1 just being released, we can now change it between
three different variables. Now if you were shooting with a DSLR, aperture would be the
first thing you’d go to to affect the light and the
composition of your shots because with opening up your aperture comes affecting the depth of field. Right now, on my DSLR that
I’m shooting this with, I’m at an F2.0 aperture and
that means I’m in sharp focus and my background is
slightly out of focus. But with 360 cameras, it
doesn’t mean the same thing because it has two lenses
that see everything. You kinda need to see everything or it would just be 360
degrees of blurriness. I’m actually kinda hoping
cameras in the future do have this feature, I
think it would be cool shooting a shallow depth
of field shot in 360. But for now, the variable
aperture is just another factor we can use to increase
or decrease our exposure. If you don’t have a Theta Z1,
just forget I said anything. Finally, the fourth setting
that all 360 cameras with manual exposure will
have is white balance. How warm or cool your image looks. This is measured in Kelvin and yes, that’s a very silly word, but it’s used to describe how warm or cool an image is. I’d say probably 95% of
360 cameras do a good job with auto white balance,
so you won’t always need to change this, it’s only if your camera’s really misinterpreting a situation, making it way too blue or way too orange, that you’ll want to do this manually. But if it’s not too extreme, then this is something you can usually fix in post. Always look for live feedback
in the app as you go, yeah, see that little
preview screen there? That way you’re not left
completely in the dark about what your shot
is going to look like. So now I’m going to demonstrate how you might use these manual settings in three very different
lighting situations. I went to one of my favorite
spots around Sydney Harbor with amazing 360 degree views. And I took a 360 photo
firstly in bright sunlight, secondly at golden hour,
just as the sun was setting and thirdly, at nighttime
when it was really dark all around yet there were hot
spots all around the horizon where they were just setting
up for the Vivid Light Festival which is an annual light
show they hold here in Sydney and is a photographer’s dream. Eee, I’m excited. With each of the following
shots, I tried a number of different exposure combinations, until I got the image I was happy with. Here I am in bright daylight,
and to give you an idea, this was 2:38pm and I chose to shoot with the aperture closed
as far as possible. That way I was able to keep
my ISO right at the bottom and choose a shutter speed
of 1/320 of a second, that I knew would capture
the movement of the water with crystal clear detail
while simultaneously not overexposing the sky,
so I had the option later on to bring down the highlights,
bring up the shadows and get the overall exposure perfect. I’m gonna be honest, that was
a tricky lighting situation because the Opera House
was so bright and the sun was hitting it from above,
yet it wasn’t hitting anything else around me,
it was actually quite dark. So I’m really happy that
I was able to even out this image by keeping the exposure down, but also somewhere in
the middle that I knew I could recover the
shadows and the highlights and get the sharpness of
the water that I wanted. And look, yes, I was shooting RAW here, but if you F up your exposure completely, and you’re shooting RAW,
it’s still won’t matter because RAW only has a
certain amount that it’s able to recover, it can’t perform miracles, which is why even if you’re shooting RAW, you still gotta get that exposure right. Look at that, it’s a fill light. (laughing) My next shot was taken right
on sunset, aka magic hour, which right now in Sydney
is like 5:00 p.m., boo! But I think I got pretty lucky here. The sky looked awesome
and I knew if I could get that exposure right,
I’d be able to capture exactly what I was seeing at the time, which is really hard to
do on any kind of camera. So after taking a few test shots, I decided to change the aperture to F3.5. The shutter speed to 1/10th of a second and the ISO still right at the bottom because it was getting dark
and I still didn’t want that noise to creep into my
image and here’s what I got. I’m really happy with this one. It would have been easy to
just leave it to auto exposure, but auto exposure sucked
in this situation. It decided to expose the entire
photo just for the shadows leaving the entire
skyline completely white. Never let the sky go completely white, unless it’s a “stylistic choice”. And by that, I mean maybe
it’s cloudy or overcast and a plain white sky would
look better than gray clouds. Otherwise, you want color. My final shot was taken
just after 6:00 p.m. and it was really dark out, but the view was absolutely incredible. They were just setting up
for the Vivid Light Show and the Sydney Harbour
Bridge, the Opera House and the city all looked
absolutely incredible and well lit up with
bright colorful lights. This one definitely took the
most amount of test shots, but it was worth it. In the end, I chose an aperture of F2.1, ISO 100 and a four second exposure time. Which made things kinda
tricky because I was shooting with this monopod with
the camera above my head and with an exposure time of four seconds, and if you remember before,
we can’t move the camera with long exposure shots. I had to hold this dead still. I placed it against the railing
so it would be as secure as possible and I made damn
sure the camera didn’t shake or move for those four seconds. I shot this just last night
and this has already turned into one of my most popular
ever Facebook photos. So it shows you, if you
get the exposure right, if you spend the time to
get everything perfect, the lighting, the exposure and you don’t just settle for the first shot. You do it few times and
then you edit your photo whether it’s RAW or just a regular JPEG to be as good as it possibly can be, then you know you’ve got
the best result possible from your camera and the
situation you were in. I’m gonna put all three of
these on my Facebook page side by side, if you wanna
take a look at them in 360 and see just how different
these three photos ended up just by changing the camera
settings and shooting at a slightly different time of day. This was literally the same
photo three times over. I had to look for a
certain mark on the railing in front of me to know this is
where I had to come back to, to shoot the next photo,
and I got the camera in the exact same spot every time. So it’s the exact same setup, yet the end results were
extremely different. You can also find me on
Instagram and Twitter, but don’t follow me on
Twitter because I don’t Tweet. If you wanna learn more
about 360 photography, I have a book about tiny
planets, it’s seven bucks and it will teach you
even more tips and tricks for getting awesome results
with your 360 camera. To end this video, to tie
it up in a nice little bow, I wanna say, I don’t use
manual exposure all the time. I still use auto exposure
in 95% of situations. It’s only situations where
there’s tricky lighting or low light that this is going
to be massively beneficial, depending on the camera you
own and I assume you’ve chosen a good one if you’ve been
following my channel. Your camera is probably
gonna do a good job in most situations in auto exposure. But if you want to take your
360 game from here to here, you’ll need to learn to shoot manually. All right that’s it. How rude of
me, I didn’t even say bye. And I’m not going to!