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Shooting an Epic B-Roll HandHeld and How it was Done


Photographer Josh Yeo alongside his colleague Tommy Callaway just released a very cool handheld b-roll video with many interesting transitions and in-camera “effects” together with a “behind the scenes” look at how the whole thing was shot.

Yeo and Callaway did a pretty amazing job shooting this short clip of fixing a OneWheel unit. This 45 seconds B-roll is packed with different moves, transitions, effects and a lot of very cool editing (which we hope to bring you in a future video when it gets published).

As amazing as this sound no motorized gimbal was used for this shoot – everything was done handheld, with manual focus using a Sony A7 III camera (which has some serious discounts as we speak) and 85mm Zeiss Batis and a 15mm and a Venus Laowa 15mm f/4 all at 120 frames per second (at 1080p upscaled to 4K and sped up in post).

Lighting is super critical when shooting at fast shutter speeds and you need a lot of light – Yeo uses two lights for this shoot a 300D (with a softbox) and a 120D II (for a hard edge)otherwise you will be looking at a LOT of noise in your final shots.

Starting with the first push in shot, the first tip for handheld shots will be to make your camera heavier (so use a cage or special weights) that will prevent your camera from shaking too much and help you hold it better (and of course stabilize in post).

Getting the most stability possible is really important when shooting handheld – there are many ways of doing this – you can use a strap to help with another point of contact.

There are some cool ideas for shots that you might not have considered in this video like rolling the camera using a tape (put the lens inside and roll it on the side – you will need to macgyver a way to hold it to the tape though). Other cool ideas include wrapping the lens is saran wrap for protection and using paint or sprays, but the coolest idea is to clamp the object that you are shooting to the camera in such a way that when it is moving, the camera will be moving at the same speed so that the focus distance will not change (this requires some DIY skills and some clamps but it turned out really well).

More cool ideas in this video include hanging objects from the ceiling using fishing wires and painting the wires black to eliminate them from the shot, making it looks as if the object is hovering, using a butter knife to create sparks (use a filter or some other sort of protection on your lens though!), working with Atmosphere Aerosol and even placing an RGB light inside of a gas mask. 

You can watch more HDSLR and video techniques on our dedicated HDSLR channel here on LensVid. You can find Josh Yeo’s other videos here on LensVid.

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