Auto to Manual: Adjusting Light Exposure on Digital Video Cameras

Light exposure is as important to your video images as focus. Underexposed and overexposed images tend to be rejected by audiences as poor videography. You could use the auto exposure adjustment to let the camera determine what is "right" based on the lighting conditions, but when you trust the computer with all the decision making, you're going to find that it doesn't always do what you want it to. That's when you need to go into the manual adjustment function.

By default, most cameras are in auto exposure mode when they're turned on. You need to go through your camera's menu to get manual control over the exposure (technically you're really controlling the camera's aperture because exposure is determined by aperture, shutter speed, and light). 

Once you're in manual control, there will either be a dial on the camera to control the exposure, or there might be controls on the LCD if you have a touch screen camera. You're going to have to judge the exposure with your eyes. Here's an important thing to remember about working with video exposures: generally if an image was a little underexposed, you can fix it in a post production program because the digital data is there. However, if it was overexposed, there is little you can do because that data was captured as "white."

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