Change Up Your B-Roll With These 11 Different Shots

B-Roll can add much-needed dynamics to enrich your story in your footage, but using the same type of b-roll over and over again can get boring. Are you stuck with using 120 FPS slow motion and find your work getting stagnant? Not sure what else you can do to change it up?

If B-roll is something you do, changing it up with new ideas isn't always simple. In this video from Chris Hau, he goes over eleven different ideas you can try out to add some variety to your b-roll to help you stand out. Some of the suggestions may require some extra gear if you don't already have them, but Hau also gives a suggestion to one of the tips for an alternative method to achieve the shot.  

  1. Shoot different frame rates
  2. Rack focusing
  3. Locked off / tripod
  4. Handheld / shaky
  5. Time-lapse / hyper-lapse
  6. Variety of Framing
  7. Mount your camera
  8. Drone / Aerial
  9. Stabilizer
  10. Point of view
  11. Slider / tracking

There you have it, eleven different suggestions on how you can change up your B-roll. Pretty simple right? Well, just looking at the list probably doesn't explain it all so definitely watch the video as Hau explains and gives examples of each type. Don't get stagnant with your work, add some of these suggestions to spice it up. 

What are some other ideas not mentioned in this video you can do to change up your B-roll? Leave your answers in the comments below!

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23 Comments

16mm Camera's picture

B-Roll is story driven isn't it? So shoot b-roll that best motivates the narrative of the film. It must be a filmmaking disconnect in generations as well because when I watch a film the cutaway shots i'm seeing aren't all under the B-Roll category. 120p is an online youtube thing almost exclusively and if you're using the tools he lists to get certain shots, pretty sure the filmmakers using them know HOW to use them...sorry HAU to use them.

So when did Chris Hau become the new Peter McKinnon around here anyway?

ps: someone want to tell Chris that it's a skatepark first and a place to shoot youtube videos second. ;)

Besides the nice car and hot chik... the rest is kindergarten stuff

16mm Camera's picture

Broll doesnt need changing up when it’s driven by narrative. It’s a fundamental thing none of these self proclaimed “professionals” with “influence” address as a core element.

None of these guys are professionals, they are professional hype men who hype themselves as professionals.

16mm Camera's picture

But their audiences eat it up like catnip which his crazy, perpetuated by validation on places like f-stoppers unfortunately. Thats my beef, there is some seriously high quality content here in the photography world and the video world, you get...Chris, Matti and Peter (although his videos have stopped being shared since "I don't make goals".

All these guys, this Chris guy, Travelfeels, Peter M, are not teaching people anything. Let's be honest their goal is not to train or help people, its to get views, go viral and make money by putting together videos of themselves doing 'cool' things. With the frequency of each one of these guys on Fstoppers at certain points it is really starting to look like it is advertising on F-Stoppers. Each one of these guys seems to go on a 3 month run with F-Stoppers to try to boost their subscribers.

Also, anybody else notice that these 3 guys all seem to make the same videos,'best b-roll', 'aerial'. Clearly, they are just making and repacking the same content over and over.

16mm Camera's picture

I honestly don't understand why they get so much attention here. I'm not sure if they're on the line with the editor directly or not, but when you compare THEIR stuff to the photography content that gets posted, it's night and day in terms of quality/takeaway. I know this isn't a videography focused blog, but IMHO better attention should be paid to FINDING quality video content creators vs this homogenized stuff that a) all looks the same b) they're all collaborators and c) is as vapid and empty as it comes.

I learned more in my media class in high school about b-roll than this video. Not to mention with less of the heroic self absorbed attitudes these guys portray. Sorry Chris, the guys skating at a SKATE park don't care you're shooting a youtube video.

I'd actually like to know what it was about this video and Chris Hau in general the OP of this article saw as valuable enough to share with a much larger established audience. Perhaps in that, I can better understand what it is about these guys that is so appealing.

Alex care to explain what is is about this video in particular you found so compelling enough to do a blog post on it? (Sincere question, i'm looking for something I'm probably missing when it comes to value here.)

Yup so Thirsty to be famous, the path is not to be good at your craft but get followers to try to validate what you are doing is good. It would be interesting to know actual demographics of these guys, it all highschool kids who dont know that these guys arent good or is actually adults who find it entertaining?

No matter what I have respect for Fstoppers as a brand so the only thing that makes sense here is it is paid content. Fstoppers is too critical of photography (in a good way) to allow garbage like this to be the story for video.

16mm Camera's picture

Agreed...pS: that rack focus" would look more organic had it been focus pulled manually vs pushing a focus area on a touch screen and have the motors do it inorganically. Especially because he shot that in slow motion the auto focus looks terrible. It's things like this, details that he just misses consistently and through inexperience.

Andrew Pantaleon's picture

As someone who hasn't had the chance to attend classes on cinematography – or any formal training at all – I find watching creators like these gets a spark of an idea going for technique and what can physically be done and molded into ones own narrative. I of course keep in mind they are trying to make a buck and become YouTube famous. That aside, would you have any creators/resources to point out that you feel give a more in-depth and proper foundation? A few I've subscribed to myself are Film Riot, Rocket Jump Film School (which seems to have gone the way of the dodo) and Apurture's 4 minute film school, along with other random videos I come across related to these creators.

16mm Camera's picture

That's fair enough. I learned the same way watching how films used shots/reactions, movement, composition to communicate to me. I'm still learning and i've been a working in the industry for 25 years.

I'm all for sharing knowledge of the craft, but because I do know what I know, the quality of that information in it's overall package matters. Because if you're going to teach something, teach it right. In this video for example he proceeds to NOT mention story being a critical factor when determine shots. Tone, pace, etc. 120p is a frame rate, it's not in of itself "b-roll".

You have listed some good creators,you should watch NerdWriter as well. His stuff is very cerebral, but if you watch his David Fincher one on camera movement, you'll get a lot of really deep stuff there. Filmmaking is all about the meta, about knowing more than your audience and doing the best to give them all the subtle and on the nose hints to incite an emotional connection. It's not easy.

You don't need formal training to pick up on stuff, study shots you see in films, how they cut together, pay attention to the narrative, watch how a camera moves and stops and why.

It's always how I viewed films even as a kid, it's what made me want to be involved directly with them because for as long as I can remember I was fascinated by them.

I just find it funny that some of these guys get an abnormally amount of shares on f-stoppers. It started with Peter and Matti and now Chris. I wonder what it is about these guys that's so enticing to the editors here because experts in the field seem to be highly critical of them, while novices think it's the bees knees.

Andrew Pantaleon's picture

I appreciate the suggestions, I've a long list of movies to go through and breakdown in my spare time. I'll also look into some of your suggested creators. I love Fincher's work and how much it gets into your head.

16mm Camera's picture

Ask yourself why Fincher gets into your head. It’s a combination of all the elements of filmmaking that does it. It’s a crazy balance, taking elements that are so disconnected and connecting them in a way that not only is watchable, but connects to the audience on a profound level.

If you listen to a DP speak they are highly calculated in what lens they use, lighting, shot composition and it all goes back to how it will be interpreted by audience.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

One shot I did 2 days ago.

I was shooting some meals as broll for a dietician. I was shooting on a 5d2 with a 24-70 f2.8 and only had my tripod (broke my crappy slider).

What I did is I only used two legs on my tripod and moved my camera to the closest focusing by leaning the tripod fowards. Opened my lens to f4 and focused on the beef patty. Then I pulled the tripod back amd reverter the footage in post.

Loved the look of it worked amazingly well. Client loved the shot.

16mm Camera's picture

It gives you a nice arc as well, that totally works.

Wes Jones's picture

Why all the hate here in the comments? Not every visitor to FStoppers is a "professional". I find these kinds of videos interesting. If I can pull a few nuggets of information out of them, then it was worth watching. If the video is too basic for you, just skip it. Problem solved.

16mm Camera's picture

Why can’t we be critical? They are given extra special attention and influence, revenue based on what they produce. They should be fair game to be critical of if the video is shallow and self indulgent.

What exact did you take away from this? That you can use a drone to get a different perspective? You don’t have to clutch on 120p (if camwra has ability to shoot it).

Story drives B-Roll, not sliders, drones, focusing or gimbals. Those are tools to vary the shots to tell a story. This isn’t professional level stuff here, it’s basic filmmaking.

Anyway happy you enjoyed it, I didn’t and find it strange these guys get as many shares as they do based on that.

The blind shouldn’t lead the blind get it?

Agreed, this is garbage. Not worth the posting on fstoppers, if someone wants to make crap than go ahead but doesn't mean it should be promoted.

Jurre Jan de Wit's picture

Wow, someone is being jealous of not getting all the fame.
Really curious now about all the video's you create!

16mm Camera's picture

Sorry mate, the "you're just jealous lets see your work" isn't a good metric of debate. I'm not here to promote my work.

Fame isn't a mark of success for me, it’s never something i've ever been interested in personally so no, i'm not just jealous of fame. And by FAME you mean a subscriber number...well, it's just a number and means little in the scheme of things.

I am a filmmaker though and I'm an advocate of the craft (more than I should be on this thread). This video is missing key components that should be standard in a video like this, but it’s obvious by their omission he doesn’t know enough to be “teaching” anything, or imho given this platform to do so.

So I am critical and well within my right to be.

Why don’t you tell me what you liked about it? What it taught you you didn’t already know.

Jurre Jan de Wit's picture

Hmm, so what I liked about it, well here it goes.
Since I have no experience with making films, but am planning on doing so. These video's are pretty easy to watch, nothing that goes to deep into the tech side of things, just an overview of techniques you could use while filming to make some interesting shots.
And ofcoure this isn't the most comprehensive video that shows you all the in- and outs of making film (b-roll). But for a beginner is a good start I'd say.

When I started out with photography I had to learn about the so many things as well. Creative wise and the technical stuff. I wish there we're some nice, well taken care of, easy to the eyes youtube vids that talked about some simple tricks or methods to implemend into your photography, instead of all the technical talk. Which can be a bit to much for the beginner.

It just gives an insight on some possibilties, entry level stuff. That your skills and knowledge lay beyond that doesn't really make it a bad video does it?

16mm Camera's picture

Thanks for the added context.

And no I don’t want some overly complicated tech review or detailed outline of making a film. You simply can’t do that effectively in one video.

I’m not going to get too deep into it, but the problem with knowing a thing or two about the subject is that you can evaluate it objectively. This video is imho shallow and self indulgent more than it is quality information. Chris experience is limited, he’s a self proclaimed professional and yes he has SoMe skill, he lacks the overall work experience to be professing expert on the subject. I can’t go into all that I found wrong with this video, but from a teaching of the basics imho it failed.

Story is what motivates B-Roll. And not all shot types are B-Roll (especially in a film which uses establishing shots, reaction shots etc) to tell it’s story.

I’m critical of those who have influence and don’t make the effort to incorporate the fundamentals into their teachings. The fundamentals teach more than you know as they are what allows you to be dynamic when shooting.

Any good teacher knows this.