Hi, I’m Olympus video mentor Ellie Cartwright (@ellieactionfilms) and I have had the pleasure of making some incredible films for Olympus over the last couple of years using their OM-D system. Last year alone I had the honour of filming for them in Greece, Madeira and the Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador with the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, OM-D E-M1X and now I have the OM-D E-M1 Mark III!
I run my own professional video production company Wanderlust Action Films and the lightweight nature of Olympus systems make it my adventure travel camera of choice. A few of my favourite features before we get into the nitty gritty of filmmaking – the stabilisation is fantastic (so long Tripods!), the in-camera 4K timelapse is a brilliant way to capture an epic sunset and now the E-M1 Mark III shoots at 120fps which means you can get some stunning slow motion.
Here are a few of my top tips for making your own films using your Olympus camera:
First thing you need to know about filmmaking which is different to photography: your shutter needs to be a minimum of double your frame rate. This creates the correct replica of ‘motion as the eye sees it’. So if you’re shooting at 30FPS your shutter must be 60fps (or higher if you want to use the shutter for exposure you can) If you want to get strict with your shutter. Set it to double the frame rate, choose your aperture and then use a variable ND filter to expose the image.
Slow Motion is a great way to linger on something beautiful, or reveal something too quick for the eye. I use it a lot for water, action water shots in slow motion are my thing. Especially if you add a speed ramp in the edit. Think surfer on an epic wave – sped up to the trick and then SPLASH slow mo beauty. The E-M1 Mark III can record at super slow mo of 120 fps – to shoot at this high a frame rate your shutter needs to be at 250 (240 isn’t an option.)
If you’re indoors filming high frame rate slow motion this may make your image quite dark depending on how much natural light is available. To get around this firstly go for the lowest aperture lens you have. An F1.8 is great. But you may find you will need to increase your ISO just be warned, as with photography the more you increase the grainier your video will be.
Timelapse is a great way to show the passing of time. There are two ways to do this. The traditional photography way which I won’t go into here. Or the Olympus setting that creates a 4k timelapse video in camera – go to your video settings, scroll along to the last setting for frame rate and it will likely be set to C4K 30fps change it to normal 4K, 30 FPS and then the next box gives you the option to multiply. I go for 8 or 10 X speed.
If you want to show the passing of time you could also try jump cuts. For this you need a tripod. Keep the frame exactly the same and record at real time but in the edit jump from section to section. This will also keep the audio.
Audio won’t be recorded in 120fps slow mo so you could try recording in real time first, or use the Olympus audio kit the LSP4 to record the sound separately and then add it in in the edit. Having real audio in your film adds to the atmosphere and energy of a film so my tip with audio on your edit timeline is – don’t mute it and have only the music. Create yourself a soundscape that will make your film more immersive.
Find your style
I film a lot of adventure travel and action sports and so my filmmaking style involves a lot of fast paced, quick cut shots with lots of movement but plenty of beauty. If you’re filming just one subject or style the key is to mix it up and vary your shots a lot. I love low angle or abstract shots, lots of lovely shallow depth of field frames, oh and one of my absolute favourite things has to be a slow motion sunflare. (To achieve a sun flare in video if you want those sharp rays will need to adjust your aperture to around F11 or above.) Different shot styles create a different feeling for your audience. Super close up shots are immersive, wide angle shots set the scene, abstract framing can create a sense of intrigue or illusion. Identifying your style is all about trial and error. Watch other films and take note, what do you like about them? What do you want to try? I tried my hand at a starlapse for the first time whilst playing around making my OMD Diary for Olympus during Lockdown! It’s never too late to learn something new.
Want to learn more?
If you want to learn more about adventure and travel filmmaking join me at the Wanderlust Action Film Academy this autumn. We have teamed up with Olympus to run the Wanderlust Action Film Academy. A video training immersive retreat in the heart of the Welsh Mountains. Aspiring filmmakers will be taught videography skills on the OM-D E-M1 Mark III, both on land and in water. Participants will be taking part in adventure activities like rock climbing and stand up paddle boarding and then learning how to film the action. The OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a great adventure filmmaker’s camera; with its inbuilt stability is perfect for hanging around on a rock face, the 4K timelapse is fantastic for sunrises on mountain tops, and its 120fps capability is great for epic slow-motion water shots. It’s the perfect bit of kit for the adventure filmmaker on the go – who wants to always be ready to capture the action!
Visit www.wanderlustaf.com/academy to find out more!