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B-Roll Perfection

This is part two of video recording your performances and practices. I mentioned B-roll, so I thought it might be good to have a post specifically about B-roll and how to effectively use it.

What is B-roll

A-roll is the main video, the interview, the main performance, whatever the main purpose of your video is for. B-roll is the extra footage added to help tell and accentuate the story. For example, you could be shooting a promotional video to show to potential program directors; while the main video might be, what is generally referred to as, a talking head video, you can add interest in the video by overlaying clips of the team practicing, or building sets, etc.

5 Essentials

When I was working on my degree in visual communications, we had a class specifically centered around digital media and video creation. There I learned that there are specifically five B-roll shots to have every time. I have also found that if you incorporate them into your shots in this order, you will come out with a great composition.

1 The Wide Shot

This is a shot like it sounds, it is distant enough from the subject that the viewer gets a sense of location, even if it’s in a general sense; the where shot for the sake of establishing where the subject is.

2 Close Up Action Shot

This shot gets close in on the subject. This shot established the what of the video.

3 Close Up of Face

This isn’t always a face, but you get the drift, it’s not an action shot as much as it is a shot that concentrates on the subject specifically and not what they are doing; the who shot.

4 Over the Shoulder Shot

The is is one of my favorite POV (point of view) shots. This is a combined shot of the 2 and 3 as it shows both the who and the what in the same shot.

5 The Alternative Shot

Last but not least, this shot is always one to shoot. It is the previous shots from different angles with different lenses, color grades, etc. This allows the video to have similar shots, but not look like they are the same shots re-shown.

Other Shots

Of course there are extra shots that make for good footage. Don’t limit yourself. Even if you don’t use the footage you collect, keep it for future projects or just to pull out every so often to Remanence or take note of how much you have improved over time.

Inserts -These are random,, quick shots patched together to establish location, example would be like if you go on a missions trip and you have a series of quick shots of where you are visiting, general location shots...If you are creating a video of a trip to Mexico, this would be independent shots of Mexico...or wherever.

Steadicam- This is a shot using a gimbal or anything that allows you to track or pan a movement without jerks or bounces so as to give a gliding effect with the camera.

The Hero Shot

Similar to the close up, this is just a quick shot of the subject in a direct pose not doing anything but being the center of attention in this short shot.

Rack Focus-This is another shot that I like doing and creates depth to the video. The shot starts out of focus and then goes into focus, creating a visual sharpness that actually grabs attention as long as it isn’t done too often. Most editing programs now allow you to create this effect with just about any footage.

Super Zoom- This shot is difficult to do without editing, but I know you have seen it in many movies and even commercials. It starts with a wide shot that pans into a closer shot, but the movement between the two shots is sped up.

Slo-Mo Shots-This is just as it sounds, its when the speed of the video is cut. Usually this is done with a voice-over or a music track overlaid as voices would sound garbled.

Aerials- If you have a drone, this shot is going to be standard and great footage to get when you have outside performances.

On the Cheap

With the smart phones we have now days, most of these shots can be done and edited right on your phone. Don’t be intimidated about trying to create quality videos, it’s easier than you would think and B-roll in your videos makes you look way more professional.


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