Top 5 things to consider when Planning a B-roll shoot

A great deal of planning always goes into any production. In fact, this step has a name: Pre-production (or Pre-Pro). This is where you sit down and hammer out all of the details of your production so when it comes time to shoot you have everything covered. And of course, everything always goes according to plan. HA!

But what if all you’re shooting is B-Roll? You’re probably thinking, “no lights, no audio, no problem”, right? Well, it might not be as involved as say… an interview, but that doesn’t mean it requires any less planning. Here are 5 things to consider when shooting b-roll:

  • Crew – Who is going to be shooting? Will you be alone or have a second shooter? If you do have another shooter, discuss who will shoot what, and split up! Because like the man said, “you can do more damage that way.” A second shooter to carry the load is always an added bonus. Just make sure you stay out of each other’s shots.
  • Gear – What are you going to use to shoot? Which lenses will we need? How am I going to power everything? Your initial thought might be to load up a tank full of everything you have so you can be ready for anything. This is foolish. The key here is to keep things light and compact. You don’t want to bring anything you’ll regret having to carry should you need to be on your feet all day.
  • Subject – What are you going to shoot? You should probably know this going in. B-Roll is designed to compliment your story. What you shoot should have a direct correlation to the narrative. If you’re producing a piece on people who dress up like comic book characters and go to anime conventions, then strap on your utility belt and cape and find the most interesting costumes in the room and hit record!
  • Location – Where are you going to shoot? Having an understanding of the environment which you will be in will also help you determine what gear you’re going to need. Maybe you’ll need neutral density filters if you’re going to be outside. Perhaps you’ll need a fast lens if you know you’re going to be shooting in low light. Some places may also be sensitive to cameras and equipment. Arranging an escort is helpful so you don’t accidentally wander into a restricted area, never to be seen or heard from again…
  • Food – You think I’m kidding? You’re going to need something to eat to keep you on your feet. And no matter what camera you’re using, it’s going to get heavy after awhile. Plan on eating something beforehand or keeping a snack bar with you for those moments when your tummy starts to growl.

Keep in mind, these are just a few things you should consider before setting out to shoot B-Roll. If you can think of a few more, add them to the list!

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