Are your Insta360 One X videos coming out too dark or too bright? Or maybe they are too blurry… Well don’t worry. Because in this tutorial I am going to share with you how to get the perfect exposure for your videos with the Insta360 One X.
How To Set The Perfect Exposure With The Insta360 One X:
There are two ways the Insta360 One X can adjust exposure. Using Auto mode or Manual mode. So what is the difference between Auto mode and Manual mode? Auto mode will automatically adjust the ISO and Shutter Speed of the video for you.
In Manual mode, you can manually adjust the ISO and Shutter Speed.
WHAT IS ISO?
ISO is how sensitive the camera sensor is to light. The ISO on the One X ranges from 100 to 3200.
So what does this mean? ISO 100 is less sensitive to light, making your video darker, and ISO 3200 is more sensitive to light, making your video brighter.
Imagine yourself in your bedroom. It’s a bright sunny day outside. Your blinds are fully open and your room is way too bright. You will need to close the blinds to let in less light. The blinds is your ISO. The more you close the blinds the lower the ISO, and the more you open the blinds the higher the ISO.
Lower ISO produces a cleaner video and higher ISO produces a grainy video. So with the Insta360 One X I recommend not going above ISO 400. Because your video will become noticeably grainy and it doesn’t look good.
WHAT IS SHUTTERSPEED?
Shutter Speed is the amount of motion blur in your video. If you wave your hands really fast in front of your face, then you will see blur in between the movement of your hands. Motion blur is natural.
THE 180 DEGREE RULE
To replicate motion blur on video we will use the 180 degree rule. The 180 degree rule says your Shutter Speed should be double the framerate you are filming at. If you’re filming at:
- 4K 30fps, your minimum shutter speed should be 30fps x 2 = 1/60.
- 4K 50fps, your minimum shutter speed should be 50fps x 2 = 1/100.
- 5.7K 30fps, your minimum shutter speed should be 30fps x 2 = 1/60.
- 3K 100fps, your minimum shutter speed should be 100fps x 2 = 1/200.
If you try and film below these recommended shutter speeds then your video will blur!
On the One X the Shutter Speed ranges from 1/30 to 1/8000.
Lower shutter speeds like 1/60 will make your video have more motion blur and higher shutter speeds like 1/8000 will have less motion blur and look more sharp. Also, lower shutter speeds will make your video brighter and higher shutter speeds make your video darker.
Now that you know what Exposure, ISO, and Shutter Speed is, let’s see how we put this into practice in our day to day filming. If you want to make professional looking video then Manual mode will give you better results over Auto mode. There are 3 reasons why:
- Because only you know where you want your viewers to look and see clearly. Not the camera.
- With Auto exposure your video will keep changing brighter and darker which doesn’t look good.
- It might not expose your scene correctly.
HDR VIDEO MODE
The only time I use Auto mode (Because there is no Manual mode) is when I film in HDR Video mode. HDR video mode combines a dark video and a bright video to make a perfectly exposed video.
At the moment you can only use HDR video mode when the camera is still on a tripod. If you try to use it whilst on the move then you may get a ghosting effect.
This mode produces the best video ever seen on a consumer 360 camera hands down! However this mode does not work at night. But the best results are seen in high contrast situations like a bright sunny day. The video below was made completely on 5.7K HDR video mode.
HOW TO USE MANUAL MODE
For hyperlapse, timeshift or other type of videos, how do you use normal video Manual mode? I’m going to show you a method I use every single time to expose a scene. Let’s assume you want to film a 5.7K 30fps video. Select Manual mode. Now the first thing you are going to do is set the ISO to 100. Next you need to set the minimum shutter speed using the 180 degree rule. So if you remember, the 180 degree rule is when the Shutter Speed is double your framerate. In this case the framerate is 30fps. Times that by 2, you get 1/60 shutter speed. Now set your shutter speed to 1/60. This is your base setting. A good starting point. Always set your base settings first.
Now you are probably looking at your phone saying “oh but Shanil… my video is too bright”” or “oh but Shanil… my video is too dark!” Let’s tweak this base setting.
If your video is too bright then you will need to tweak the Shutter Speed higher. Start to increase the Shutter Speed to 1/120, then 1/240 and keep going until the video does not look over exposed. And that’s it!
Now if your video looks too dark from the base setting, then increase the ISO to 200. If it’s still too dark then increase the ISO to 400. I don’t recommend doing this but if it’s still dark then increase the ISO to 800.
If your video is still too dark then you need to add external lights to your scene. If you can’t add external lights to your scene then you simply cannot film there. There is not enough light. It’s like walking into a dark room, you need a torch, a lamp or any kind of light to see. It’s the same for a camera.
MORE MOTION = HIGHER SHUTTER SPEED
Now if you’re planning to walk, cycle, drive or even fly with your One X in low light, then you will need to adjust your Shutter Speed from the base setting to match the amount of motion in your video.
When I walk at night with the One X I film my videos at 1/60 Shutter Speed. I am taking a lot of care to make sure the camera is moving as smoothly, slowly, and as stable as possible. If you’re mounting the One X on your car and driving at night. Driving has more motion than walking so you will need to increase your Shutter Speed to accommodate that motion.
I cannot give you fixed settings that will work for you because it depends on the lighting situation and the motion. So make sure you trial and error different settings before you go for the real take.
When you set your settings, make sure to turn the live preview all the way around. Because it may look like you correctly exposed where you are currently looking. But it might be too dark or bright behind you! So make sure to look everywhere. But that’s it! You now know how to set Exposure like a pro!
HOW TO SET WHITE BALANCE
I recommend always setting Manual White Balance. On Auto White Balance mode the video will keep changing colour which is no good. So how do you decide which Manual White Balance to set? This is the method I use. First, set Auto White Balance.
Carefully study what the video looks like. Then switch to Manual White Balance, and find a setting which closely resembles the Auto White Balance Setting.
That’s it! The One X is really good at picking the correct White Balance automatically. You just need to copy what it tells you on Manual mode.
HOW TO USE LOG MODE
Set log mode OFF. There are 2 reasons why:
- Because when I film video I can see the colour on my live preview. And this helps me set exposure.
- It’s easier to colour grade in post, the colour is more vibrant and the video quality is better.
I have done several experiments comparing Log mode ON and Log mode OFF. And I have personally concluded that Log mode OFF is the better option. Save yourself the hassle.
Well that’s it! You should now hopefully know how to use Manual mode or at least feel more comfortable trying it out. Never try and nail the settings first time lucky for that one big moment. Getting the settings right takes a lot of trial and error. So practice, practice, practice. You will learn soo much from your mistakes.
I would love to see your creations, so please feel free to post your videos on the How To Make A Video Facebook Community. I am happy to help you and give you advice on your videos there. The only rule is that you can only post videos less than a minute!
For One X video inspiration and settings I use, check out my Instagram @shanilkawol.