Today on The Slanted Lens I’m here in the SKB factory just gliding around.
I’m looking for good B-roll to add to the doc style shoot we did of the owners here at SKB. So what we’re going to do is talk about what B-roll is – how to get it and how to light it, and some creative ways to capture it. Let’s get started and see what we can do.
We’re going to use a run and gun Litra light today – the LitraStudio. This light is going to give us light in quick easy places. It’s an RGB light which allows us to create color in some areas and to light out B-roll. That’s one of the most important things you can do.
We cut B-roll into a shot to do several things:
Cover Up Mistakes or Glitches
If the two of them are talking and they flub up and want to start over again, we can always cut to a B-roll shot and then pick up on the next take of that same interview point.
Transition Points for Different or Rearranged Clips
We may want to use the interview from the beginning, then cut to a part in the middle, then cut to a part at the end. B-roll gives us transition points to be able to cut to different parts of the video.
Gives Context and Depth
But most of all, B-roll just makes our interview more interesting and more enjoyable to watch. Rather than just telling the story we get to see the story. So when the guys say the very first case they made was for a saxophone, I asked them if they have it, and they did so we shot a B-roll shot of that case and cut it into the video. That gives us a visual reference for the things that they talk about.
That’s what B-roll is. The interesting things we cut into a piece, visually rich, enjoyable to watch and helps tell our story. There’s a lot you can do with emotionally driven b-roll, but in our doc style video today it’s about the B-roll that’s going to help tell the story of the founders of SKB.
Ask Where and How You Want to Shoot
One of the secrets to b-roll is to simply ask! “Can I out my camera in that case?” “Can I put the camera over in this corner?” If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
Use Back and Rim Lighting
Don’t put the light in front. It’s so tempting to just put it up front and light your subject.
When I get it back here it’s a great rim light and looks so interesting on your subject matter. Experiment with different placements to find looks that are new!
Use Small Lights to Illuminate Confined Areas
I think it’s really advantageous to use a small light when you’re shooting this stuff. You can stick a small light in the machine – I’ve got the LitraPro in there, or use the LitraTorch. They’re just really easy to bring a light into the machine and it makes it a little more interesting.
Shoot Interesting Angles
My formula is *WIDE, TIGHT and INTERESTING.
I want to get a wide shot to establish it, a tight shot to see what’s going on, then I want to get an interesting shot that gives me a creative outlet.
The in post you can cut between those 3 and it flows extremely easily.
Place Camera Inside Boxes or Objects
I’m going to have him open this up, to reveal what’s inside here – in fact, I’m going to throw my light in here really fast so that I’ve got just a bit of light in here as he opens this up and looks inside.
Get Creative with your Shooting
If your b-roll is all looking the same to you, then get creative – stand on a table, put the camera in a different place, use a small slider to give you some motion and change the perspective, rack your focus, put a 200mm lens on to get a different depth of field.
Get Imaginative when Shooting B-roll
There are so many ways to get interesting b-roll, just make sure you don’t shoot things at eye-level. I hand hold things all the time, I’m find hand holding the camera, letting it be a little fluid. It allows me to get quicker shots that are WIDE, TIGHT and INTERESTING.
So I love the RGBWW CCT capability of this light because it gives you so many options. If you don’t have an RGB light, bring some gels – it can give you a little warmth or cool tones in the background.
Really for me, the ease of use with this light is the app. The app allows you to change all settings, temperature, turn the light off and on, and I can set it to any color I want.
The RGBWW is really easy to control.
The app makes this soo easy to use!
We’ve been using all Litra products. We used the LitraStudio – this is a super compact, rugged, waterproof (not water resistant, fully waterproof) light.
So I can put a softbox on it – it’s an RGBWW light so I can get white light as well as RGB – I can put on a grid and a set of barn doors.
One of the things I like about it a lot is that it has a handle. This is great because I can have an assistant carry this around and light from the background – it makes it easy to run and go fast with this light.
This has a gel mode if you want to be able to work in a gel mode here. You can go to different gel settings and change it up in there, which is just a really fabulous way to work. Every light should have that if they’re going to be of value on any set, so you can match it to different gels that you’re using.
Really for me, the ease of use with this product is the app!
It also has an effects setting where you can have a candle, clouds, colors cycling through, dance club – which is really fun. Or simply run in CCT mode from 2000 to 10,000 degrees. Today we had it mainly at 4300 degrees, matching the florescent.
Another really interesting thing about this light is that it has a flash setting. You can use it as a flash – it’s got a sync cable so you can go to your camera and flash sync! I’m going to test that and play with it more in the future.
So there you have it! How to get the best B-roll – wide, tight and interesting video that you cut into your main narrative or doc style narrative to make it more engaging and get your viewer involved in the story. Tell it with pictures, not with words. That’s always going to be more effective.
Keep those cameras rolling and keep on clickin.