Studio Development Blog 5

Camera stuff today. LO 4 I think, probably better to wait till after the testy thing in week 8 but extra can’t hurt and maybe I know enough that I can get it ticked off early.

So first up it should be pointed out that when learning this I was using a Canon 600D.

First things first setting it up, like putting on lenses and what not. Taking off lens caps and what not is all pretty basic so I won’t bore you with that, the important bit when changing lenses is like everything to do with digital technology it only goes one way, the Canon 600D has helpful markings on the lens and camera that you just have to line up and twist, job done. Removing the lens is the same except there is a release button you need to hold down while you twist, located next to the lens on the camera. There are compartments wherein your battery and SD cards live, again they only go in one way so that makes life easy.

Now that we have power for the device, something to make the photos actually focus and look good and somewhere to put the photos once we have taken them we should probably use the switch on the top that toggles between on and off to well turn the camera on.

Next up is the more serious bit, your menu options and all the important, juicy settings you can find there. Wait missed a step, there is a selector wheel on the top, has a bunch of useful stuff, the important ones are M, A and a video camera picture. The M is for manual mode, what you want to be using if you are taking photos, gives you lots of control and is just better. A is for auto and mostly useless for our purposes. The video camera is pretty self explanatory, puts you on video mode rather than picture mode. Now the menu and juicy options. Top left it tells you what setting you have it on, manual, auto and what not. Next to that is your shutter speed, goes from too many seconds down to 1/4000th of a second, varies depending on the camera but useful none the less. Shutter speed is all about how long it takes the picture for, the less time the less light that gets into the camera. Fast shutter speeds are useful for action shots and capturing still images of moving things like waterfalls or something similar. Slow shutter speed, i.e. those slower than about 1/30, allow more exposure and saturation, can give nice effects to a photo, particularly if you want a nice fluid look for flowing water in a creek or tail lights travelling down a road but it’s best used with a tripod for stability. One last note on shutter speed, 1/50 is the optimal shutter speed for videoing with the Canon 600D, helps stop strobing in your videos.

Beside shutter speed is F Stop, affects the aperture size within the lens. The F Stop value is always a number greater than 1, the closer to 1 it is the more light that gets in, the higher the less light. Values closer to one produce a shallower depth of field and so less in the image will be focused, higher values conversely have a greater depth and allow for more of the image to be in focus. Next important setting is the ISO value, it has auto and some manual settings from about 100-6400. The higher the ISO setting the more ‘artificial’ light is let into the picture, the downside to it is it can make the image look grainy if the ISO is too high, generally values over 800 can do more harm than good.

Between shutter speed, F Stop and ISO you have a great deal of control over the amount of light that is let into your photo. Another important setting to look out for is the white balance which helps to compensate for the external light sources in the area.

So how does having knowledge about using digital cameras help me as an animator? There are several ways really, reference images for 3D modelling, high resolution images for use as texture maps and shader control and also we can use them to take reference footage for an animation sequence. All of these things can be used to help make my animations more believable (almost said realistic there, but that’s not the key to animation, believable is).

Thank you, and I know this one has been a bit slow, hopefully the next one is a bit less dry.

‘Till next time…

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