GEAR & TECHNIQUES FRAMES PER SECOND
particular video. Boyechko has honed his shoot-to-edit approach to a fine
science, and is currently traveling to local PBS affiliates around the U.S. to
train their producers on making Web shorts.
Directors who have edited their own work tend to develop an
intuitive sense of how much and what types of video clips they need to
collect, Slater says, so it pays to edit your own work or at least familiarize
yourself with the process.
Many B-roll shoots are “bring your own” as far as cameras and lenses
are concerned. But on larger projects, Chapman likes to ensure
consistent camera platforms are used across the project for ease of
editing. The gear used on B-roll, he adds, should be more “agile and
free-flowing” so the B-roll operator can more easily capture unique
and offbeat angles.
For Boyechko, being nimble means relying on a monopod, not a
tripod, while shooting B-roll. He also uses B-roll filming to switch up
focal lengths. If he’s shooting alone, he’ll mostly rely on the 24–105mm
f/4L lens on his Canon EOS C100 and
keep it “super close” to the subject as the
tight shots are easier to edit. For variety,
Boyechko also leans on an 11–16mm f/2.8
Tokina, a 70–200mm telephoto and a slider.
Remembering how the human visual
sense evolved helps Slater compose his
B-roll. “People’s eyes are built to take in the
savannah and broad fields: We don’t want
a slow zoom on the lion, but a quick cut to
the thing we care about,” he says. In terms
of gear, that means using dollies when
possible instead of panning and zooming
because dolly shots mimic “how your eyes
physically move through space,” Slater says.
Whatever your technique, B-roll is the arena for your creativity.
Putting shooters in a B-roll position “is the best way to see how
good they are,” Rothstein says.
TOP LEF T: On assignment
for Vogue, Josh Rothstein
learned that cultivating
relationships with both
director and subject, is
key to getting quality
B-roll. TOP RIGHT: Rothstein
collected B-roll for a Puma
spot featuring Usain Bolt.
BOT TOM LEFT: Slavik Boyechko
collects clips at every
opportunity, even in the sky.
BOTTOM RIGHT: Boyechko and
Travis Gilmour, often make
running shot lists.
GRANT SLATER: “People’s eyes are built to take in the savannah and broad fields: We don’t
want a slow zoom on the lion, but a quick cut to the thing we care about.”