How Do You Adjust Exposure on a Video Camera?

When it comes to video production, proper exposure can make or break the quality of your footage. Adjusting exposure on a video camera is a fundamental skill that every videographer should master. In this article, we’ll take a look at the process of adjusting exposure on a video camera and explore some tips and techniques to help you get the best results.

What is Exposure?

Exposure refers to the amount of light that enters the camera’s sensor. A well-exposed video will have balanced brightness, contrast, and color saturation.

Too much light results in overexposure, which makes the image too bright and washed out. Conversely, too little light leads to underexposure, making the image too dark and lacking detail.

How to Adjust Exposure

There are three primary ways to adjust exposure on a video camera: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.

Shutter Speed

The shutter speed controls how long the camera’s sensor is exposed to light. A faster shutter speed lets in less light but freezes motion better, while a slower shutter speed lets in more light but can create motion blur if not stabilized properly.

Tip: Use a faster shutter speed for action shots or scenes with movement. Use slower shutter speeds for low-light environments like indoor shots or nighttime scenes.


The aperture controls how much light enters the lens by changing its size. A smaller aperture (higher f-stop number) lets in less light but increases depth of field (the range of focus), while a larger aperture (lower f-stop number) lets in more light but decreases depth of field.

Tip: Use a smaller aperture for landscape shots or scenes with multiple subjects at different distances. Use larger apertures for close-up shots or portraits where you want to blur out the background.


The ISO controls the camera’s sensitivity to light. A higher ISO lets in more light but introduces digital noise (graininess) into the image, while a lower ISO lets in less light but produces a cleaner image.

Tip: Use a higher ISO for low-light environments or when you need to capture fast-moving subjects. Use a lower ISO for well-lit environments or when you want to preserve image quality.

Using Auto Mode

Most video cameras come with an automatic exposure mode that adjusts all three settings automatically based on the scene’s lighting conditions. While this may be convenient, it can also lead to inconsistent results and missed opportunities for creative expression.

Tip: If you’re new to adjusting exposure, start by using auto mode as a baseline and experiment with manual settings until you get the desired results.


In conclusion, adjusting exposure on a video camera is an essential skill that every videographer should master. By understanding how shutter speed, aperture, and ISO work together, you can achieve balanced exposure and create stunning videos that captivate your audience. Remember to experiment with different settings and shooting conditions to find what works best for your style of videography.