In the ever-evolving world of video production, a new technique is on the rise: Open gate shooting (aka flexible framing). Made possible with cameras like the Panasonic LUMIX S5II and LUMIX S5IIX, flexible framing unlocks the full potential of your camera’s sensor. But what does flexible framing actually mean? In this article, we’ll go over what flexible framing shooting is, its benefits, and some ways you can use flexible framing to improve your content creation workflow.
What is flexible framing shooting?
Normal video capture uses only a portion of the camera’s sensor. Most image sensors have a tall aspect ratio compared to standard video formats. For example, if you have a full-frame or APS-C camera, the image sensor has an aspect ratio of 3:2. Micro Four Thirds sensors have a 4:3 aspect ratio. On the other hand, full HD video uses a much shorter and wider aspect ratio of 16:9. That’s why most cameras automatically record video in a narrow slice from the center of the sensor, cropping out the top and bottom pixels.
By contrast, flexible framing uses every pixel on the sensor to shoot video. This leaves you with a taller 3:2 video format that takes advantage of the sensor’s full resolution. From there, you can crop the video to fit your desired aspect ratio in post-production. You can even crop the same video in multiple ways, either for different destination platforms or to add variety. With flexible frame shooting, there’s no need to define your aspect ratio before shooting.
What are the benefits of flexible framing shooting?
As we mentioned above, flexible framing shooting gives you more total resolution to work with in post-production. With this oversized image, you’ll have the flexibility to crop in on different parts of the shot without impacting the overall quality of the video. This is a great way to add variety to your clips and keep your audience engaged when you don’t have a variety of angles to work with. You can even use the extra resolution to simulate pans and other camera moves in post-production.
The ability to freely crop and reframe your footage also makes it much easier to keep up with all the different social platforms, from YouTube and TikTok to Instagram and beyond. Each platform has its own requirements and expectations, so tailoring content for all of your different audiences takes up a lot of your time. And that’s time you could be using to engage with your audience or brainstorm fresh ideas.
Fortunately, flexible framing can make keeping up with your upload schedule easier. With flexible framing shooting, one video clip can be cropped into a standard 16:9 video, a square 1:1 video and a vertical 9:16 video, all while getting the most out of your image sensor’s resolution.
On top of better image quality and more flexible cropping, capturing video at the full sensor resolution also allows you to stabilize the footage in post without eating into your output resolution. If you ever need to shoot handheld without stabilization, the option to crop further in to hide camera shake can save your shot.
How to use flexible framing shooting for social media
Now that we know what flexible framing shooting is and some of its benefits, let’s see how flexible framing shooting works in practice with some example use cases.
YouTube and YouTube Shorts
For our first example, let’s say you’re a YouTube creator. Your channel is slowly growing, but you see an opportunity to tap into a new audience with YouTube Shorts. Here’s the problem: How do you add Shorts to your workflow without giving yourself a ton of extra work? The solution is flexible framing shooting.
Standard YouTube videos and YouTube Shorts often overlap in content, but it’s difficult to shoot horizontal video that also looks good when cropped vertically. This leads many creators to shoot an entirely new video just for YouTube Shorts, even after recording a similar clip for a full-length video. Alternatively, you could crop in uncomfortably close to have your video clip fill the entire vertical frame. This works but feels less inviting than a properly composed video with enough headroom and look space.
Luckily, with flexible framing, there’s no need to shoot two separate videos. The extra-large frame means you can simply crop your footage according to your needs in post-production. Using this method, you can easily edit a 16:9 YouTube video and a 9:16 vertical video for YouTube Shorts from the same video clip.
For vertical video in particular, the extra height of the 3:2 sensor resolution allows you to get the right aspect ratio without cropping as much of your video. That means you can give yourself or your subject a bit more breathing room and avoid that awkward, crowded-frame look.
Instagram and TikTok
Flexible framing shooting will also come in handy for the common Instagram/TikTok influencer pairing. With flexible framing, you can create square, 1:1 aspect ratio videos for your Instagram feed using the full height of the sensor resolution. Then, like with the YouTube Shorts example above, you can use the same video footage to create vertical videos for your Instagram Stories, TikTok, Snapchat or any other vertical video platform.
For both square and vertical video production, the final video will benefit from the extra vertical resolution provided by flexible framing shooting. The taller frame allows you to preserve more image quality and include more of yourself and the background in the cropped frame. At the same time, you can save time in production since you only have to record one video clip regardless of how and where it will be used.
How to shoot flexible framing using the LUMIX S5II and LUMIX S5IIX
To access flexible framing video shooting in the LUMIX S5II and S5IIX, turn on the camera and make sure it’s in Creative Video mode. This will allow you to access the proper record quality settings. Then, find the Image Format Menu within the Video menu and navigate to Rec Quality. From there, choose 6K (3:2)/Full to set the camera to record using the camera’s entire image sensor.
When you hit record, you’ll be capturing an extra-tall video file using the full height of the image sensor. However, it may be useful to turn on some guides to help you frame your shots for your intended use. You can turn on Frame Markers in the Monitor menu. The frame aspect ratio options range from the super wide 2.39:1 to 16:9 and 1:1 all the way to vertical 9:16. Or, choose a custom setting. You can also adjust the frame color and the opacity of the frame mask to your liking.
Making the most of flexible framing
Flexible framing shooting with cameras like the Panasonic LUMIX S5II and LUMIX S5IIX allows you to streamline your video production workflow, helping you reach more platforms with less work. With access to your image sensor’s full potential, you can crop your image to suit different platforms, add variety and movement to your videos and even correct camera shake. Wherever you post, flexible framing shooting can improve your content creation workflow. Learn more at panasonic.com.