One of the most important parts of almost any video is to have good B-Roll. And your announcement videos are no exception. Let’s take a look at how to do it!
So before we dive into anything else, the first question we need to ask is “What is B-Roll?” B-Roll is the footage used to enhance what is being talked about or the story that is being told. B-Roll could be used to illustrate a point or as a transition to get from one situation to the next, driving a story forward.
B-Roll is a super powerful tool to capture and keep the attention of your congregation if done right. “But Sam. How can you measure that? How do you know that B-Roll can keep someone’s attention? Prove it!”
As you know I make YouTube videos every week and I’ve made videos that feature a ton of B-Roll and videos that are really just me talking. I’ve I look at the data behind these videos, across the board, the audience retention rate is much better when there is B-Roll over my face. Is that a commentary on my looks? As soon as I cover up my face people start watching? Well, that’s hurtful, but none the less. It works!
The reason for this is because 65% of people are visual learners, so a way to enhance what they hear as someone is talking to SHOW as well as TELL.
So today I’m gonna give you my top tips for knowing what to look for when shooting B-Roll but also how to practically do it.
START WIDE ANGLE
When you get started and are gearing up to start shooting, put on your wide angle lens first. The shots that this lens will get is essential to the edit and typically these shots are easy to get early on in the shooting day. Today as an example I’m gonna get some shots of the traditional service at our church as a promotion. So that’s what a lot of these examples will be of.
Before I even walk into the church I’m gonna take this opportunity to get some shots of the exterior of the church with my Tokina 11-16 mm lens. We’ll be sure to get some shots of multiple angles. The more we get the better.
As we go inside I’m going to keep my wide angle lens on and get some shots of inside the church as people talk and catch up with one another. We’ll also get some shots of the interior of the church space. The reason I’m keeping this one lens on is because many times when you’re getting B-Roll of events, things are happening whether you are there or not so you don’t want to waste time changing lenses. Starting early and starting with your wide angle lens will give you time to get some of the establishing shots to show the space, where we are and who is there before we start getting the close-up shots.
SHOOT MORE THAN YOU NEED
This is true no matter what lens we are using. As I said when we were outside, we want to get multiple different angles of the church. We may only use one of those angles and that’s ok! But the last thing I want is to get to editing and think, “Man if only I had one more good B-Roll shot of the outside of the church.” Set yourself up for success.
Another way to make sure you shoot more than you need is to hold your shots longer than you think you need to. I’m always screwing myself over because I forget to do this. I start recording and get about 3 seconds of good footage and begin subconsciously thinking “Well I’m not gonna use any more than that” and then I stop recording! And I kick myself every time because I always wish I recorded a longer good clip.
ADD MOVEMENT TO YOUR SHOT
A moving shot is always more interesting than a static shot where nothing is going on. And you don’t always need to do some fancy move to achieve this, sometimes a simple tilt or pan on a tripod is plenty. And if you are looking for a video tripod to get those smooth and silky tilts and pans, I personally use the Benro S6 tripod. It doesn’t matter what tripod you get but be sure that it has what’s called a fluid head. That will give you the smooth moves.
Let’s talk about a few other ways to add movement to your shots. Another way to use your tripod is to do a Tripod tilt. Basically what that looks like is only using 2 of the 3 legs of your tripod and tilting into or away from the thing you want to focus on. It is an easy way to get a stable shot that almost looks like a slider or dolly shot. And again, the fluid head on the tripod is the key because as I push in with the legs I’m also tilting up at the same time, and it’s so fluid it isn’t obvious that there is a tilt up happening.
Another fun trick is to do a reverse blur. Before I knew this trick I would get so frustrated trying to get a shot that is completely out of focus and move into something to get it super crisp. I would always over move and it wouldn’t end up in focus. But here’s the trick. Instead of starting your shot out of focus and trying to push into be in focus, do it the opposite way! Start in focus and then pull out to be out of focus. Then in editing just reverse the clip and add a speed ramp and it’ll end crisp every time!
Another technique that is very trendy right now is to get a ton of slow-motion shots by shooting in a higher frame rate.
There are a couple of advantages to doing this, first of all, it just looks cool! And you have the capability of doing a speed ramp with your footage. The downside is you’re going to need a bit more light when you shoot in a higher frame rate because it’ll make your image darker. In some situations, you’re outside in the day time and that’s not a problem, but other times you’re in a darker church. So that’s something to keep in mind.
We’ve talked a lot about B-Roll, but what about the A-Roll? One tool that will make your stand-ups much easier for your host and much more streamlined is a teleprompter. A friend of mine showed me how to make one for $4. It makes life so much easier! Click here to check out that tutorial of creating a $4 teleprompter for your video announcements!