In this tutorial, we’ll be going over how to capture an event using B-roll. We used B-roll footage to show the Lansdowne Arts Festival from a different point-of-view. The B-roll shots captured the environment by catching footage of the vendors and the people enjoying the festival. We were able to show the Lansdowne Arts festival in action and also the work that went into it. B-roll footage enhances the story and makes the video more exciting and interesting. It is so important to take time out during the production process and get B-roll. Below you will find the do’s and don’ts of B-roll so that you may evoke feeling and catch the attention of the viewer.
Do: Capture the environment to evoke a feeling
It is sometimes difficult to capture the atmosphere of a location and the feeling attached to it through an interview alone. Part of our job as storytellers is to expand the story beyond words alone. It is the goal for each piece of B-roll to contribute to the story through the feeling that it evokes. A great way to do this is to simply film the environment. You never know what may happen when you just keep recording.
This clip stood out amongst the others because it captures the feeling of joy and happiness at the arts festival. Here we can see several people participating in the drum parade with smiling faces and enthusiasm. This gives off the feeling of community with the wide variety of people of all different ages participating in the parade. As for the video itself, it is steady and is focused on all of the different people walking through the parade. This B-Roll evokes the feeling of cheerfulness that was #ArtsOnAve.
Do: Make it relevant
The goal is to have all the B-roll coalesce with all of the other content in the video. If the connection between the clip and the central narrative is not obvious, then the B-roll is disruptive (Wistia). Our goal is to have a variety of shots, but make them all coincide with the greater narrative that we have established.
In our unicyclist video, a specific subject within a larger group catches attention of the viewer. Here we can see the unicyclist playing around with the kids at the arts fest. This is important because you can see the joy that he is bringing to the children around him who are participating in his games.
Do: Spice it up
It is easy to fall into the habit of shooting the same thing repeatedly at an event. However, it is important to find new things to shoot that may evoke a different type of feeling or catch a viewer’s attention in a different way.
This is a different type of shot compared to the other festival clips because it focuses on a few subjects. This clip effectively contributes to the story because it adds variety to the video and shows how even the youngest generation participates in the arts in Lansdowne. It also includes a slow-zoom into the dancers to bring the viewer’s attention to them. The clip is unique in that it shows a different group of players involved in #ArtsOnAve. In addition, it provides emotional content, which is one of Lambert’s seven elements of storytelling (Lambert 2006). The viewer is engaged in sharing the joy and cuteness of the young dancers perform for their community.
Don’t: Move too fast
When shooting B-Roll, it is easy to forget to pace yourself. The camera picks up each and every movement, and quick movements inevitably cause camera shake. Especially when filming still objects, it is important to move very slowly because quickness will cause blurriness--and not the good kind.
This video shows assortment of the pottery, but too quickly. In B-Roll it is important to slowly pan through the art, specifically from left to right. In this video it unsteadily rolled from right to left. In the future it would help if they started from the left and held the camera in a position that would enable them to hold the camera more steadily and slowly, getting a more clear B-Roll and beginning to create a story about the pottery.
Don’t: Try to capture more than one subject/scene in one shot
It is a common mistake to try to cram a lot of footage into one take, but this can be easily resolved through strong shot organization. Before pressing record, it is helpful to think about the purpose behind what we are about to shoot. This way we can be more mindful about effectively using opportunities for shots.
It is likely that this clip was intended to capture the environment of the festival, but it is trying to do too much at once. Quickly moving from one tent to another and then down the street to the music tent was too much for 28 seconds. There was little to no organization behind this shot, and it results in not contributing to the story. Most of what you see in this clip is people’s backs, which tells you little about the environment or the people. This clip was likely the result of running out of time for shooting. Better organization for this shot would have improved it greatly.
This goes back to keeping the clips relevant. Setting up shots to coincide with the greater storyline helps to maintain relevancy and eliminate distractions. Shaky, careless footage can be extremely distracting and a big pain when editing.
This clip is very shaky and did not give a slow roll of the products. The video pans in and out too quickly and shifts focus from the purses too quickly. To fix this in the future it would be important to get closer to the purses and zoom in slowly on the colors, each product, and maybe some of the names and prices. It needs to be relevant to the story.