Is it considered bad practice to change the aperture while shooting a video clip?

What is the best practice for shooting two different lighting conditions in the same shot? For example, when panning 180 degrees during sunset? Or is this simply to be avoided?

Any relevant newbie resources would be much appreciated.


In video terms, aperture is often called iris as well and particularly in live video, it is fairly common to adjust the aperture to adjust light sensitivity.

For both live and post produced video, it is also relatively common to use lenses with smoother apertures. Most photo lenses have apertures that click in to set values, but video lenses will sometimes have aperture rings that will move smoothly through the aperture range to allow for very smooth transitions in aperture.

Aperture is the preferred means of adjusting sensitivity to light if needed as changes in shutter speed have a more pronounced impact and until recently, smooth changes in ISO were not easily possible in most cases. (Certainly not smooth as a smooth aperture ring.)

Adjusting aperture live with a click-in aperture is probably non-ideal, but if you have a smooth one, it should be fine and in a pinch you can still do click-in adjustment, it will just be rather obvious when it changes, but that's still better than whited out or blacked out video.

  • Agreed. A de-clicked photo lens for dslr video shooters, or a cine lens is really the only way to smoothly adjust exposure during a shot. Shutter speed, iso, and nd usually (allways?) cannot be changed smoothly while recording. – Jason Conrad Jan 8 '15 at 6:36
  • I suppose a variable ND could be adjusted smoothly, but would be tricky to keep your hands out of the shot when you are adjusting the filter. – AJ Henderson Jan 8 '15 at 7:08

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