How Does a Video Film Camera Work?

A video film camera, also known as a movie camera, is a device that captures moving images on film. The camera works by using a lens to focus light from the scene onto a strip of film, which is then exposed to create an image. In this article, we will explore the inner workings of a video film camera and how it captures high-quality footage.

Camera Mechanics

The mechanics of a video film camera are similar to that of a still camera. However, instead of capturing just one image, the video film camera captures multiple images per second to create the illusion of motion. The lens on the camera focuses light onto the filmstrip, which is then advanced frame by frame through the camera.


The type of film used in video film cameras is called “filmstock.” Filmstock consists of a thin strip of plastic coated with an emulsion layer that reacts to light. When exposed to light, the emulsion layer records an image onto the strip.

The Camera’s Shutter

One crucial component in a video film camera is its shutter. The shutter determines how long each frame will be exposed to light. The shutter opens and closes rapidly to expose each frame for just the right amount of time.

Light Metering

Another essential aspect of video filming is measuring light levels accurately. Light metering helps ensure proper exposure for each frame in varying lighting conditions.

Manual vs Automatic Light Metering

Video film cameras can use either manual or automatic light metering systems. Manual systems require adjusting settings manually while automatic systems measure and adjust exposure automatically based on detected lighting conditions.

Sound Recording

In addition to capturing visual images, most video cameras also capture audio through an onboard microphone or external sound recording equipment.

Synchronization Issues

One problem that can arise during filming is synchronization issues between the video and audio portions of the footage. This problem can be avoided by using special equipment to keep both parts in sync.


In conclusion, a video film camera works by capturing multiple images per second onto filmstock, which is then processed to create a moving image. The mechanics of the camera, light metering, and sound recording are all essential components that work together to create high-quality footage. With proper use and understanding of these elements, anyone can create compelling video content with a film camera.