If there’s one thing I hate as a video editor, it’s having to edit videos with bad b-roll. If you don’t know, b-roll is video footage of something that is shown while the talent is speaking. For example, if your pastor is promoting small groups via video, it helps to have footage of some small group gatherings over him talking about it.
Here are some easy steps to ensure getting great b-roll and some things to avoid that will make your video editor (which in many cases is yourself) a happy camper.
1. Shoot subjects sequentially.
When you’re shooting a subject, try to get a wide shot, a medium shot, and a close-up. This ensures contrast for the video editor when cutting between two clips. Videos just look better when shots cut between wides, mediums, and close-ups.
2. Don’t be zoom happy!
One of my biggest pet peeves is when a shooter can’t keep his hand off the zoom and never leaves me (the editor) enough room to get a good clip selection. When you’re shooting, think about how what you’re recording will look like in the video. Find your shot, push record, and then let your shot sit for six or seven seconds. Now you’ve got a solid wide shot and are free to zoom in and get your close up.
3. Monopods aren’t for losers.
You may think you have steady hands, but when your shot ends up on the projector at church, those handheld clips show their shakiness a whole lot more than it looked in your viewfinder. Get yourself a light tripod or monopod and start using it for gathering b-roll. You will be amazed at how good your stabilized footage will look. Handheld is necessary many times, but try it out. Your editor will love you.
4. Get a WHOLE BUNCH of footage.
Every shooter finds themselves at a place where they think in their head, “Okay, I’ve gotten enough of this stuff.” Guess what… you don’t. There have only been a few videos I’ve edited where I have had an over abundance of b-roll shots. You ALWAYS want more. Ask anybody who has shot a wedding, and they’ll tell you that when you think you have enough, it means you need at least ten more different types of shots for the edit.
5. Move around.
It doesn’t matter how many shots you get of your baptism service if you stand in the same place for all of them. Zooming in and out isn’t enough. If you need ten clips of people getting dunked, then your shots are going to start looking very boring at the third or forth clip from Mr. Lazy Legs. Get different perspectives. Shoot at various angles. Don’t be afraid to get really close to your subjects. Think about how what you have in your frame is going to look like after the previous clip you just shot. Thinking like a video editor will change the way you shoot video for the better.