Tips for Making Outstanding B-roll Shots

In this video photographer, Jay P. Morgan from The The Slanted Lens demonstrates several useful tips and tricks for taking B-roll shots in different environments.

B-roll shots are super useful for many types of videos and productions. One important example talked about by Morgan is when you need to cut an interview (for example when the person interviewed makes a mistake) you have the option to cut to a B-roll and continue from a different part or if you want to show something the person that is being interviewed talks about. We use B-roll for basically most of our videos on LensVid (apart from the intro/conclusion bits) and it is the most amount of work we typically do in terms of shooting for most of our videos.

B-roll helps tells the story and there are some really creative things that you can do. For example, you can put a camera in a box or a create and when it is opened you can see the person opening it (you can do the same with an oven for a kitchen shoot or behind a door when somebody walks in and so on).

Another nice tip by Morgan is not always to light from the front – you can place lights behind and above and get a nice rim light which can always look cool (depending on what you are trying to get from your shot).

Morgan has a very useful philosophy on the types of shots he takes for a B-roll. First, he takes a wide shot which is typically called establishing shot – letting the viewer understand the scene. Then you have tight shot and finally a closeup look – using these in sequence makes a lot of sense.

Try and get interesting shot from different angles – never use only angles from a single highest or angle – go low, go high, go from different sides and try and incorporate camera movement whenever you can – use a slider, a gimbal, put your camera on a moving vehicle or a jib – anything that has movement – even some handheld movement can look good especially if you can fix the shake in post.

Racking focus can also create great B-roll as well as out of focus backgrounds using fast or telephoto lenses.

On the video, Morgan uses 3 different LEDs by a company called Litra from San Diego. These include the LitraTorch 2.0 ($85 on Amazon), the LitraPro ($250 on Amazon) and the larger LitraStudio RGBWW ($650 on Amazon).

You can find a lot more lighting tutorials on our photography lighting section here on LensVid, and you can find all of Jay P. Morgan’s videos here on LensVid on the following link.

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