- What Does B-Roll Mean?
- Tips for How to Shoot B-Roll: Make a Detailed Shot List
- Tips for How to Shoot B-Roll: Record Different B-Roll Shots
- Tips for How to Shoot B-Roll: Experiment With Angles
- Tips for How to Shoot B-Roll: Always Record More Footage Than You Think You Need
- Final Thoughts on How to Shoot B-Roll
- Recommended Photography Gear
- Wide shots
- Close-up shots
- Master shots
- Medium shots
- Point-of-View shots
- Over-the-shoulder shots
- Invest in the right videography gear (camera, lenses, lighting, stabilization, etc.).
- Understand the best camera settings for videography.
- Learn to manipulate light in your favor.
- Play with different camera movements (pans, tilts, zooms, etc.)
- Don’t forget about audio.
- Understanding Photography Composition Techniques: Tips for Framing Your Shots
- 4 Smartphone Photography Accessories to Level Up Your Game in 2024
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B-roll, b-roll, b-roll. The term b-roll gets thrown around a lot in video circles, but what exactly is it, and how do you shoot it? Well, you are in the right place if you have recently asked yourself either of those key questions!
In this ultimate b-roll guide for videographers and filmmakers, you will learn everything there is to know about b-roll. We will start by providing a clear definition of b-roll. Then, we’ll explore four tips for how to shoot b-roll. Lastly, we’ll share a few more videography tips and tricks guaranteed to improve the quality of your content.
With that in mind, join us on our journey to discover the hidden mysteries of b-roll!
If you are a beginner interested in learning more about shooting and editing b-roll, check out the video above by Think Media.
Table of Contents
What Does B-Roll Mean?
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In the world of video, b-roll is any footage that supplements the main footage (a-roll) or storyline. A simple way to identify the difference between a-roll and b-roll is whether or not someone is speaking in the scene. If the answer is yes, then it’s most likely a-roll. If not, it’s b-roll.
Since on-screen dialogue cannot make up 100% of a video, recording b-roll is crucial to any production. Moreover, every type of video uses b-roll, including Hollywood blockbusters, documentaries, YouTube videos, and commercials. B-roll doesn’t just make videos look better, either—it can also help establish scenes, complete transitions, and add underlying meaning.
Tips for How to Shoot B-Roll: Make a Detailed Shot List
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Before filming a video, people usually create a script for the scenes with dialogue (a-roll). Likewise, you want to have a good plan in place for how to shoot b-roll. The best way to do that is to create a detailed shot list. Making your shot list well in advance can also help when you need permits to film in certain areas.
That said, we understand that filmmaking is a fluid process and that plans can change. In that case, you can always shoot specific b-roll clips later to help you stitch together your project. Please remember to use the same video settings (frame rate, resolutions, etc.), though.
Tips for How to Shoot B-Roll: Record Different B-Roll Shots
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Recording your b-roll using different lenses and focal lengths is a must. That’s because it’s impossible to know which footage will look best with your a-roll until you start compiling your footage in post-production.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular types of b-roll video shots.
Tips for How to Shoot B-Roll: Experiment With Angles
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Similarly, you want to experiment with different camera angles for b-roll. We recommend always shooting the same scene from at least two angles. You will be surprised how often the angle you didn’t originally plan to record ends up being the one you like best. The two most common angles are eye-level and low-angle shots.
The OctoPad is a great tool for low-angle videography. It’s a one-of-a-kind tripod alternative compatible with digital cameras, smartphones, and action cameras.
It can also hold camera accessories like external microphones, lights, monitors, gimbals, and more. Additionally, its patented design ensures it remains sturdy even on sloping, uneven, and wet/slippery surfaces.
Think about it - you can mount your mirrorless camera or action camera to Octopad, set it on a slippery surface like a rock near a stream, and get low-angle b-roll for a landscape-themed video. Alternatively, you can set your camera and Octopad on the ground for low-angle footage of an interview or footage of you performing some sort of task to weave in with your primary footage.
The point is this - the more angles you can record, the more interesting your final video will be, and Octopad can help you accomplish that!
Tips for How to Shoot B-Roll: Always Record More Footage Than You Think You Need
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Trust us, even though it may take a little longer during shooting (and it takes up more storage space on your hard drive), having extra b-roll footage is always better than not having enough. Too often, we have had to travel hours to a specific location just to film a few-second clip, which could have easily been avoided by shooting more originally.
Once you finish editing your video, guess what? You can delete all the unused footage to free up space!
Final Thoughts on How to Shoot B-Roll
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While it isn’t the most important part of a movie, good quality b-roll can absolutely make or break a video production. So, now that you know how to shoot b-roll, what are you waiting for? Grab your camera and tripod and start shooting better b-roll today!
A great tool for capturing stunning b-roll footage we haven’t mentioned yet is drones. Drones provide unique aerial views perfect for transition and opening shots. Finally, here are a few bonus videography tips that will help you further enhance the quality of your videos: