How to Capture Compelling B-Roll Footage

I watch a lot of YouTube photography videos. Whether inspirational, educational, or somewhere in between, the videos that stand out to me all have great B-roll footage. B-roll is supplemental footage used to set mood, drive the story in a certain direction, visually demonstrate a point or concept, cover cuts between clips, and generally make a video more engaging and interesting to the viewer. This video provides excellent tips on how to capture compelling B-roll footage for your next project.

Presented by Matti Haapoja of TravelFeels, this video brings up an important and oft-missed concept: B-roll should always enhance your storyline. Too often, I watch videos where the secondary footage is assembled together in ways that don't make sense. It's capturing beautiful shots for the sake of it with no regard to the overall story. It doesn't matter as much how the footage is captured as long as it's in service to your story. In some situations, epic, cinematic, 120 frames per second slow motion footage will be the best approach, but in other instances shaky iPhone footage will be a better choice.

Just like with your main footage, B-roll shots should be planned to achieve the best results. For example, if you know that you are going to have a couple of clips in different locations, you may want some footage to link it all together. Capturing footage of travel between locations or time-lapses are great ways to make your transitions more cohesive and elegant. Other considerations to keep in mind are the gear you will want to use as well as the various angles and coverage you will need. Filming wide-angle shots and close-ups for example will give you more options to work with in postproduction.

[via TravelFeels]

Aneesh Kothari's picture

Aneesh Kothari is a Houston-based travel, landscape, and cityscape photographer. He enjoys reading, traveling with his family, and making lists of things he enjoys. He yearns to be a Civil War buff but has yet to finish the Ken Burns series.

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Awesome, thanks for this! I've done only very basic video shooting and editing in the past, and I'm about to intern at a production company, starting next week. This is a very helpful article with very useful info! :)

That's awesome - best of luck with the new gig!

Thanks man! I'm better prepared now after this article!

God I need to start shooting more video

Sounds like a great 2018 resolution!

definitely one for me, too! Also want to get into timelapse...!!

Great tips, I love B roll, my fav

Mine too. Half the time it feels like its more fun to capture B-roll than the main footage.