How to Use the Exposure Settings on Your Digital Camcorder

The exposure settings on the camcorder can be used to help get the best videos. Much of the exposure has to do with the amount of light that is let into the film when the lens is open. Some aspects that are involved in the exposure into the ISO or sensitivity to light are the amount of time the shutter is open, the measuring of the actual light, the size that the lens is open, the exposure lock, exposure compensation, and more. The many different factors can create many different exposures. However for those that are not professional photographers, preset exposure settings make this job much easier.

Step 1 - Power and Mode

To use the exposure settings, the camera needs to be on. Exposure can be set in a camera or recording mode, depending on the type of camcorder. Many of the exposure settings can be changed in the recording settings such as the shutter speed. These settings cannot be accessed or changed in playback or VCR mode.

Step 2 - Exposure Settings

There are many different icons and settings that can be changed for the exposure. The shutter speed itself can be set to many different fractions. Normally the larger the shutter speed fraction, then the smaller the numbers. A larger fraction will expose more light to the imaging sensor and smaller ones will let less light in.

Step 3 - The Amount of Light

The meters can be used to help see how much light is being reflected to the subjects of the video. This amount of light will drive the shutter speed and the amount that the aperture should be exposed. The automatic settings will set this automatically. Many times the meters will not work well is the subject of the video is much lighter or darker than the background. This is where adjusting the exposure setting can be manually set.

Step 4 - When to Set Exposure Manually

The best times to change the exposure setting manually is for very light and very dark scenes. For example snow and beaches tend to reflect a lot of light and dark foliage and very deep shadows will not reflect enough light. Normally an automatic exposure will make the beach and snow scenes too dark and the deep shadows too light; then a manual setting is required. Certain circumstances make light metering difficult and experimenting with different exposures can eventually find the right setting. Some scenes that can have difficulty with light metering include moonlight, fireworks, circuses, and neon signs.

Step 5 - Other Exposure Settings

A few of the exposure settings include bracketing, exposure compensation, and exposure lock. Bracketing is a handy tool that can be used to see three different exposures so the shooter can choose the best setting. The exposure lock function is best when the subject is not directly in the center, particularly handy for camcorders. Depending on the type of camcorder it is possible to separate out the focus lock and the exposure lock. Many times the locking is not used then under development will occur. The exposure compensation can be used to manually lighten or darken the exposure.