Practising Macro Videography

Macro videography is the art of filming tiny things or larger subjects in close-up detail. As I’ve always had an interest in macro visuals, I decided to dedicate some time to explore macro videography and learn new skills from the experience.

Macro filming case study

For my first macro videography case study video (featured below), I decided to film the fine details of a selection of freesias in a variety of colours during several separate filming sessions. My home-based studio was the ideal filming location as I could blackout my windows and use only suitable artificial lighting. As a result of learning more about this art through my first macro filming experience, I thought it would be helpful to provide a useful list of macro videography filming tips for anyone experimenting in this field.

Macro filming tips

The points below reflect some of the key learning I gained from spending some days filming close-up and macro videos.

Macro lenses vs extension tubes

For my first foray into macro filming, I used a set of extension tubes to try them out with my existing range of lenses. Using extension tubes is an affordable option as they are quite cheap. Although I created some high-quality macro videos using this method, I did not feel that I had sufficient control of the process. To explore macro filming options further, I decided to experiment with an Olympus M.ZUIKO 60mm F2.8 Macro lens for comparative results. Using this lens made me realise the difference in quality a dedicated macro lens could make to this type of filming. If you do not possess a macro lens, you might consider it more economical to hire one for occasional macro videography. From my London based experience, I have found the ‘Fat Lama website is beneficial in providing access to a range of quality video production kit for hire more affordably.

Macro filming location

Filming in an environment where you have control over the natural and artificial light will enable you to explore a more varied range of shots. Also, I found it essential to film on either a solid, vibration-free floor or remain motionless whilst macro filming. The vibrations of very fine movements will disturb the subject or the camera.

Lighting for macro filming

For macro videography, it would be preferable to have a choice of suitable hard and soft lights designed for filming a video, even more so if you decide to film with a very low ISO and a higher frame rate. For my studio lighting set up to film the freesia flowers, I found I needed 3 x LED panel lights and used a Dedolight DLED2 bicolour spotlight to backlight through the freesia flower petals. You might need to adjust how the light falls on the subject depending on the subject and the visual aesthetic you are looking to create.

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