If you’re interested in starting your filmmaking journey, this guide will help you learn the fundamentals of shooting and editing your first video. I've been a filmmaker for 8 years, and have been able to work on some fun projects for Olympus to help launch their E-M5 Mark III and E-M10 Mark IV cameras.

I’ll take you through the technical aspects of your camera and share techniques to help you form good filmmaking habits. The more you understand your camera and practice these techniques, you’ll notice improvements to your videos in no time!

Understanding Camera Settings

It’s important to understand your camera’s settings. Before you start filming, you have to understand how white balance, ISO, aperture and shutter speed affect your image. If you’re familiar with these settings through photography, the same rules apply.

White Balance: Controls how warm or cool the image looks

  • Pro Tip: White balance is very important for video. Your Olympus camera has White Balancing to help you with your video recording. Try setting a White Balance on one of your Custom Buttons, which you will be able to easily access when you're shooting in Video Mode.

ISO: Controls the overall brightness of the image

  • You can adjust this in your camera for video under Specification Settings in the Video Menu.

Aperture: Controls the depth-of-field and brightness of the image

Shutter Speed: Controls the amount of motion blur and brightness of the image

The next setting to familiarize yourself with is resolution. Most modern day cameras start with a filming resolution of 1080p, and can go to 4K. In short, the higher the resolution, the more detail your videos will have. Filming in a higher resolution has its advantages. It can provide flexibility to make adjustments like cropping in and stabilizing your footage when editing. You can find 4K on the E-M1X and E-M1 Mark III, which I've used for video projects – as well as the E-M1 Mark II, E-M5 Mark III, E-M10 Mark IV, and E-M10 Mark III.

Each filming resolution has a corresponding frame rate. The most common frame rates; 24fps, 25fps, 50fps, 60fps, 120fps, 240fps (Frames Per Second).

One rule of thumb to follow to make sure your images have the proper motion blur is to follow the 180-degree rule. The rule states to double the shutter speed by the FPS you’re filming at. This mimics the motion blur that the human eye sees. So if you are shooting your video in 4K at 24fps, you would want to select 1/48s as your shutter speed. 

Understanding Video on Your Camera

While many principles of video are universal, it's also important to understand how you shoot video specifically on your camera.

Under the Video Menu on your camera, you'll be able to edit your:

  • Mode Setting​s

    • You can select between Program (where the camera will select a shutter speed and aperture for you), Aperture Priority (where the camera will select a shutter speed for you), Shutter Priority (where the camera will select a aperture for you), or Manual (where you select both the aperture and shutter speed). I will usually shoot in Manual Mode, because it allows the most control of every aspect of my video.

    • Under Mode Settings, you can also turn Flicker Scan on or off. Flicker Scan is used when there is a light source that has an inconsistent output that can create a dark line in your video. ​When you turn if on, you will need to be shooting in either Manual or Shutter Priority, so you have control over the FPS of your video.

Flicker Mode
The photo on the left shows Flicker Scan turned Off, and the right shows it turned On.
  • Specification Settings​

    • This is where you can control settings like White Balance, ISO, and Picture Mode – where you can turn on OM-Log. OM-Log mode is available for color grading in post-production and editing. OM-Log provides a high degree of freedom during shooting without worrying about overexposure, loss of details in dark sections and highlights. 

  • AF/IS Settings​

    • Having great in-body image stabilization is important for shooting video. Your OM-D will likely have two different types of IS modes if you're shooting in manual.

      • A: Mechanical 5-axis IS

      • B: Digital Correction (This M-IS mode will slightly crop into the image.)

  • Button/Dial/Lever​

    • Here you can customize how different buttons and dials will work while you're shooting video. Some OM-Ds will have more customization options than others, but you can program different customizations to buttons or dials for things like White Balance, exposure compensation, or adjusting your microphone or headphones.

  • Display Settings​

    • For your Olympus camera, it's helpful that you can also use the Super Control Panel for video as well as shooting still photos – so be sure to turn it on. In Display Settings, go to Control Settings, and check the box to turn on Live SCP by clicking OK. You can go back and forth from the Live SCP and Live Control by pressing your INFO Button.

    • For the E-M1 series, this is where you control your Time Code Settings, Display Pattern, and View Assist.

  • Movie Audio​

    • Here is where you'll be able to control things like your microphone and headphone levels, filters for wind noise, and the recording rate.

    • If you look under PCM Recorder Link, you will be able to adjust settings for audio recording with a PCM Recorder like Olympus' LS-P4. These can be placed on the camera’s hotshot and used to record PCM audio quality sound.

  • HDMI Output​

    • This offers you the ability to connect an external HDMI monitor by selecting Monitor or Record Mode. Record Mode outputs video only, while Monitor Mode outputs video and info displays.

Understanding Composition & Getting Steady Shots

Now that you have your settings adjusted the way you like it’s time to start filming. One bit of advice I give to everyone when they first start filming is to find static frames instead of trying to zoom in and out or pan left and right. Understanding composition and framing will help tell your story better than having shaky footage with bad framing.

If your camera and/or has lens image stabilization, make sure to turn that on. This helps reduce the amount of camera shake in your footage. If your camera or lens doesn’t have IS, try using your neck strap or attaching your camera to a tripod or monopod.

Shooting at different focal lengths gives the viewer a different perspective. Try varying your shots by shooting wide, medium and tight frames. Wide frames can establish a scene, while medium and tight frames allow you to focus on your subject. The more your practice framing your shots, the better your compositions will get and you can begin to add movement into your shots.

Editing Basics & Software

Now that you’ve shot some footage it’s time to edit! There are tons of video editing software out there, and the one I recommend is the one you can afford. There’s no need to splurge and get the most expensive software if you’re just starting out.

When I first started filmmaking I edited on Windows Movie Maker because it was free and was already installed on my computer. If you use a Mac, iMovie works great too! But the current video editing software I use is Final Cut Pro X. I highly recommend it if you can afford it. It’s a one time purchase, unlike Adobe’s Creative Cloud which you have to pay a monthly subscription to be able to use the software.

If you’ve never edited a video before, don’t feel overwhelmed by all the tools and menus. The first thing I recommend doing is to go through all your footage and pick out your best clips and put them onto your timeline. This way it’ll be easier to arrange your clips the way you want without having to go back and forth through your footage.

There’s no wrong way to edit a video, but if it’s your first time, try putting your clips down sequentially and watching it all the way through. Make adjustments on how long each clip is, making sure they’re not too short or too long. Then share the video with your friends and family!

With repetition and practice you’ll be able to master these skills in no time!

Instagram: @zeekyan

Growing up in a small town in south Louisiana, I gained an appreciation for the outdoors. My parents would always tell my siblings and I to go outside to play. Picking up a camera was almost instinctual. I loved being able to capture moments in time. Pictures are able to encapsulate more than the image itself, but the emotion and feelings you had when you took that photo. Being able to remember who you were with and what you did that day through an image is a powerful thing. I'm truly blessed to be able to travel the world doing what I love. Never could have imagined turning my passion into a career.