December 14, 2017

How to Shoot, Edit, and Use B-Roll to Make Better Films

Even though it's considered "supplemental," b-roll footage is just as important as anything else you shoot.

Where there is beautifully crafted principal photography there is often overlooked b-roll supporting the hell out of it. Seriously, b-roll is crazy important. It keeps a boring talking head segment interesting, alerts us to important items within a scene, and silently reveals important aspects of a subject's character through the magic of visual storytelling.

If you want to become a rockstar at shooting and editing b-roll, then check out this video from John Luna. In it, you'll get to learn not only how to how to use supplemental footage in your projects, but also how it can help you tell more dynamic stories.

Like principal photography, b-roll requires a lot of thought and preparation before you just go off and shoot. A lot of beginners treat it like an afterthought but don't fall into that trap, because there's a very apparent difference between carefully planned b-roll and b-roll that was shot randomly within the last half an hour you were at a location.

So, what are some best practices when it comes to capturing b-roll? 

  • Shoot a lot of it: Like, shoot until you're like, "Damn, that's a lot of b-roll," and then shoot about 4 times more. Like, when you say, "Seriously, this is way too much fucking b-roll," you're about halfway there.
  • Get a lot of different kinds of shots: Ah, variation. That's the key to good b-roll. Capture every angle and every shot size (coverage), move your camera, don't move your camera, zoom, rack focus, and do pretty much everything you can think of because the more you shoot the more you have to work with in post.
  • Shoot at a high frame rate: Shooting at higher frame rates gives you the ability to slow down your footage in post, which, of course, gives you those beautiful and epic slow-mo shots. Check your camera to see how high the frame rate settings go. 60 fps is okay, 120 fps is better, and anything higher than that is golden. 

What are some other tips on shooting b-roll? Let us know down in the comments.     

Your Comment

5 Comments

No, do not always shoot extra footage at 60 or 120. If shooting overcrank without a specific plan of how it will be used in the edit, its best to stick to multiples of the project frame rate so that those clips can be easily played at real time speed without any interpolation if needed. So, yes 60 and 120 for projects that will be released at 29.97p (or 30p), but for 24fps (or 23.976) projects shoot your over crank at 48, 72, 96, or 120. For 25fps projects, shoot over crank at 50, 75, or 100. You get the idea.

December 14, 2017 at 11:10PM, Edited December 14, 11:12PM

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Jamie LeJeune
Director of Photography
207

and which one can you reccomend as a proffesional?

December 15, 2017 at 11:20AM

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manuela aumick
Freelance writer
104

Well explained.
Thanks.
But, extra footage not always shot in higher frame rates. Unless they are just beauty shots. I guess.

December 16, 2017 at 1:59PM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
1069

You explained very well sir. Very nice. Thanks for the post on http://imp.mn/OgWjK http://imp.mn/98CIx http://imp.mn/FKozO http://imp.mn/Qg3sn

Regards,
Roon.

December 17, 2017 at 6:57AM, Edited December 17, 7:00AM

5
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Another thing can also be transportation

December 20, 2017 at 12:20AM, Edited December 20, 12:20AM

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