What is B-Roll? How to Get Cinematic B-Roll for your Project

♪ ♪ Alright, alright, alright. My name is Elliot Rosen
with StudioBinder. And if you’ve ever
wondered what is B-Roll and how do you shoot it then this is a video for you. ♪ ♪ I’m going to show you 3 Pro tips
on how to shoot amazing B-roll. Plan it. Work smart not hard. And maximize your time. Before we begin,
don’t forget to hit that subscribe button and click that bell icon
to stay in the loop. All right,
so let’s rewind the clock. Back in the old days, filmmakers use two
separate rolls of film. One was labeled “A.” And one was labeled “B.” A-Roll can be considered
your main story or subject. And then B-Roll is everything
that you cut away to that bridges the
gaps in your story. B-Roll can hide mistakes
or jump cuts in the A-Roll. It visually tells your story. And if you’re clever, B-Roll can be a visual motif
used to enhance your story. Depending on your shoot,
B-Roll is typically shot M.O.S. which is just a fancy film
school term for “No sound.” Documentaries often
use B-Roll as coverage when it gets boring looking at
the same dude drone on all day, they cover it with b-roll
to keep it interesting. Now on the other
hand a narrative film might use b-roll for
a different reason. To enhance their script. “- Hello. I’m here. – Hi.” Take this example from Spike
Jones’s cyber romance film “Her.” In this story, the main character
has fallen in love with his Siri. “- Last night was amazing. I feels like something… changed in me and
there’s no turning back. You woke me up.” She’s evolving too fast, and they’re starting
to drift apart. “- Are you leaving me? – We’re all leaving.” When she starts to explain what’s
going on with her they cut to… This B-Roll shot. This B-Roll shot is
used intentionally to visually symbolize how her consciousness
is as intangible as that dust
clinging to the wall. Siri, will you date me? – I don’t really date humans. – If you’re an indie filmmaker,
here is my first tip. Plan it. Figure out the what,
when and how beforehand. We’re going to use StudioBinder’s
production software to organize our B-Roll shots. Elements such as… Actors. Props. Camera. Movement. The list goes on. Tip number two. Work smart not hard. Professional films rarely ever
shoot in chronological order and neither should you. Does your b-roll shot
involve an actor? Well, actors usually have
really tight schedule so you’ll want to
get that first. If you’re limited on time don’t go across town
to grab a B-Roll shot. Shoot it in your
immediate surroundings. Got a lunch break? Sounds like a great opportunity
to get your time-lapse shot. Those are some
really simple tips that aren’t going to add any
extra time to your shoot. Tip number three. Maximize your time. Use cinematic techniques
like shallow depth-of-field. Slow-mo. And gimbals to get the most
out of your B-Roll shots. These techniques not only give
you amazing cinematic footage, but they’re also
really time effective. If you shoot your B-Roll in a
shallow depth of field like f 1.4., it blurs any distracting
elements in the background and you get that beautiful
cinematic background. Shoot in slow-mo framerates, like 60 or 120 frames per second to turn one second of
footage into three seconds. Try setting up your camera on
a dolly or gimbal beforehand, so you can get that
cinematic camera motion. You can always choose to
keep the camera static but it’s good to keep
your options open. Okay, let’s take an example. Let’s say you have a script
with a line of dialogue that reads I buried
her under that tree. It’s probably a
great time to cut to you guessed it b-roll. So I’m going to mark it
down in my shot list. And depending on how you
shoot your B-Roll shot, it can have a totally
different meaning. Let’s say you want
to make it seem like something evil is
buried underneath there. I’ll shoot this B-Roll shot in a
low angle and dolly-in very quickly to emphasize the importance
of that specific spot. But let’s take a totally different
stance on the same line of dialogue. Let’s say that was actually
a sad heartfelt line and I want the audience
to perceive this tree as a peaceful final
resting place. So instead, I’ll shoot this
B-Roll shot at eye level and a wide-angle lens
to catch that sun flare. And then I’ll add a little bit of
dolly movement to give it some grace. Both of these shots
are B-Roll shots recorded with the exact same
equipment and camera settings, but the shot specs are
slightly different. With just a little
bit of upfront thought and some minor adjustments
to the shallows they communicate totally
different meanings for your story. And I was able to shoot
both of these shots within one minute of each other because I properly
maximize my time. So what are some of your
favorite types of B-Roll shots? How do you go about
shooting them? We love to hear from you,
so let us know in the comments. And if you’re planning a
shoot with some B-Roll shots, you’re probably going to
want a shot list them, right? Check out the description below to sign up for StudioBinder is
totally free to get started. And don’t forget to subscribe
to our YouTube channel and click the bell
for notifications. We have a ton of
videos like this and we love to
show you some more. And now let’s cut away to
some StudioBinder B-Roll. ♪ ♪

Comments 70

  • Great Video!!

  • Does anyone else think he looks like Shaun Mendes

  • 👏👏👏

  • I have a film project and forget to add this. Thanks for the video!

  • Amazing 🙌🏻

  • Why are these videos free?

  • But the point where you use a chair to roll around and film, technically isn’t that c roll? Lol! Thanks guys. I’ll be here all week.

  • keep making people fool with partial information ✌️

  • My phone is spying on my thoughts.
    My thought: What's a B-roll?

    SB: here you go

  • StudioBinder, I beg you, post a link to 3:15's audio track, it's… m-m-mmm!!!
    Haha! I found it. Guys, if you want to listen to this dope track it's called "Tribal War Victory by Kyle Preston" (found on Artlist.io) – you're welcome. 🙂
    P.P.S.: Also, look up Battle Drums by Kyle Preston, it's repetitive but still dope.

  • 1:54 Don't you mean his Alexa? 4:07 Also, it's "slow-mo", not ""slow-mode".

  • You sound drunk.

  • What's that thing you used on the lens at 5:14 for manual pull focus?

  • Never thought I’d see Matti Haapoja or Devinsupertramp in a Studio Binder video 😂

  • Or: "I buried her under that tree"

    CUT TO: Subject breaking the fourth wall, looking straight into the lens with that creepy smile.

  • Every week I am learning so much about filmmaking from this channel.. Thank you so much 😊❤️ I mean it…

  • Yes I'm in the Loop 🤟

  • How to sell script in Hollywood

  • Nice job

  • My experience on getting B-rolls for my upcoming short film.

    1. Most important things are climate, time and place you are shooting for B-roll, if you are shooting eshtablishment shot for a restaurant in morning and if the scene is evening, it will not match. Same goes with climate, if your next scene is cloudy or rainy and if you have a scene transition shot that is sunny, it will not match. Keep entire theme of your story in mind while shooting it, you can tell a story even with B-rolls and not just for scene transitions or cutaways. Best example is Manchester By sea, how they use climate and the landscape to communicate protagonist's emotions.

    2. Have B-Roll Stocks with you if you are a filmmaker, go out and shoot something when you have free time and store it in your archieves, you never know which footage can be used to enhance the story, the magic happens in editing.

    3. Collaborate with your fellow filmmakers and share footages with them, I remember listening to Blade runner audio commentary by Ridley scott where he says he borrowed footages for it from Stanley kubrick which was shot for 2001.

    4. Keep an open mind, I was very stubborn and denied in the beginning when my DP suggested a stock footage for a shot, I said, what's the purpose of saying it my film if someone's footage is there in my film. Later in the post, the one we shot was not that good and that stock footage suggested made perfect sense and I then I realised that there is nothing wrong using stock footages, end of the day, it is your film and your story. Martin scorsese had a local filmmaker shoot the wig commercial in goodfellas, a war scene in Inglorius basterds was not shot by QT, If pure filmmakers like them did it then I can do it as well.

    5. Don't stick to high FPS all the time, know your story and plan it accordingly. Have a rough cut of the entire film in your mind if possible, it is the best way to get a best B-roll, if not entire movie, atleast scenes that are before and after in the story.
    6. Shots used for Montage also come under B-roll category depending on the montage. It is the toughest B-roll to shoot, try to capture many angles, FPS and lens possible, you never know what works in editing. More footages you have, better the final product.

    7. One more important thing is timing. For example, If a character sees from left to right in a specific speed, your B-roll ahould be in same speed. If you do a quick pan, and if the character looks slowly then the cutaway is unusable, if you try to slow the footage in post, it will look ugly. so while shooting character cutaway, plan the speed and angle from character point of view.

    8. If you are shooting a scene in a specific area, try to get a few shots around that place as a back up if you have time. You can use them to create an ambience for the scene. Not neccesarily major, even small things like insects moving in desert in Breaking Bad or tap water dripping etc. You may not have that in mind while storyboarding or may not have planned to have it but again like I said before, you never know what works in editing.

    9. B-rolls was my least priority before the shoot but since I am editing now, I came to know how much important it is and how much of a quality it can bring to your project and enhances your storytelling. It is as important as shooting major sequence and so don't take it for granted, don't trust your DP or assistants blindly to shoot your B-rolls. I just told my DP to shoot a couple and went on concentrating on other things on set and I regret now in post. You should know the look and feel of every frame of your project and so be behind the camera for every frame you shoot for your project.
    10. Last but not least, It may sound cliched in filmmaking world but the best way to learn anything in filmmaking is by making. Videos like these or any channels, courses and masterclasses for that matter, will help you with basics and get started but the real knowledge of filmmaking only comes by making films. Most of it is solving problems is real time and there is no theory to follow it, it only comes by experience.
    I Hope this is helpful, Best of luck guys.

  • I think it's important to emphasize that a cinematic look has nothing to do with using a gimbal or shooting slow mo. They surely are important tools to be creative with and they really can create a cinematic look… if they work to a purpose. The way you approached it made it seem like the camera movement or the stabilization will tell the stories themselves. And to be honest I found those tree shots terrible, not telling any stories, not cinematic at all.

  • In the era of Peter McKinnon, Matti Happoja, Sam Colder, Parker Welbeck, Daniel Schiffer, JR Ali, Brandon Li, Ben TK, Matt Komo: everybody is so equipped with B-Roll. They kinda drive a generation to realize the definition of B-Roll and it's importance. Though, I despise the overuse of this term.

  • Nice vid, thanks

  • B-Roll is unavoidable, it's a MUST for filmmaker so Thanks StudioBinder for explaining fantastically awesome for a better understanding

  • Yeahhhh…

  • What's your favorite film that has awesome B-Roll footage?

  • Love you Studiobinder 😀🕺🏽🎥🏖🇦🇺

  • cool video makes a lot of sense

  • Plan it. Work smart. Maximize your time. Not exactly earth shattering insights.

  • But what should be considered b roll in the script, what should be main photography?

  • Great host! Love the video as well.

  • Work smarter not harder aka Kiss keep it simple stupid. Also good job. Host was pretty good.

  • Keep 'em coming StudioBinder!!!

  • Thanks Studio Binder

  • Thanks for very useful episode 🙏

  • almost popoular youtubers are in this video 😍

  • Most of filmmakers time and even money are spent on shooting b-rolls, if youre working hard not smart, youll end up wasting production budget for a long trip to capture few seconds of brolls.

    This video sums everything up for anyone whos stressing about B Rolls

  • So to catch a sun flare there is always a wide angle lens necessary?

  • I appreciate your effort, but does anyone check your work? How do you say Buried? And you don't wear a button down blue shirt with that jacket. Pick up the pace please.

  • I always thought B-Roll meant barrell roll effect until i got curious and searched it up. Boy was I so wrong!

  • I think there will be alot of b roll shots in each movie right from character titles to conclusion.

  • How Kubrick, Spielberg, and Inarritu Stage their Scenes

    bring back the narrator on that video

  • There is no such thing as B Roll in narrative filmmaking. Those shots are referred as inserts not B Roll.

  • Not to be rude, but can we get rid of this guy and go back to the British guy, or something similar. The British guy was never too flashy and his narration was calm. There is just something about this new guy that doesn’t work.

  • shallow depth of field equaling "beautiful cinematic background" = something said by someone who doesn't actually understand cinema.

  • gimbals make it cinematic? these a storytelling tools and every movie uses different techniques from handheld to steadicam, so consider changing up the verbage

  • Thnx guys for all this information..there are several other YouTube channels on filmmaking and all but they seem rather boring or complicated.
    Your content is so simple to understand….thnx again…for sharing all this knowledge…keep it up guys🔥🔥🤘

  • Totally lost me at point 3. Shallow DOF, Slow Motion, and Gimbals don't automatically mean good b-roll. They have their place in cinema, but saying those 3 things make something cinematic is just plain ignorance.

  • Falls in love with his Siri? Are you serious? Fire these idiots from the channel please…

  • Great video! Can't wait to try these out.

  • 2:25 – ''This B-Roll shot is used intentionally to visually symbolize how her consciousness is as intangible as that dust'' – How do you know that? How do you know that that's exactly what the director wanted to say? Seriously, where do I ''learn'' stuff like this? I often see similar interpretations of films by various people and I always think to myself ''Wow, how come I didn't catch that?'' Not for nothing I somethimes think they talk out of their asses and that they have no idea if that's true or not, so all of the intepretations are subjective to a point. But seriously when you say it like that in the video, I think every person out there when they saw it, they instantly got it and understood it and that I'm the only guy who thought it's just a random shot. Of course it's not a random shot, since every shot has a story to tell and convey something, director chose it for a reason, but how come you know that what you think is the reason – is the reason? There are thousands of those ''film analysis'' channels on youtube like ''Every Frame A Painting'' and such, and when I watch it, I feel like I'm learning something, but at the same time I can't be certain of the authenticity of what they are saying.

  • young Tony Northrup LOL

  • great job. Thanks

  • B roll is the second roll after you finish smoking your first roll

  • You video made me want to make a movie immediately, but wait I have no cameras…

  • Just wanna say thank you so much


  • Shocker, With Megadeth. Anyways Question . How often do u use b roll in a video ?

  • So, Terrence Malick's movies are eternal B- Roles?😂
    (I love his movies!)

  • i'm a noob (that's why I'm here) but when comparing those two shots, no mention of the difference in music used or color grading and how they affect the mood? THe first shot to the root could be a lot less ominous if you had used the pleasant music and graded it warmer.

  • It's really very helpful! Thank you! Am a beginner to this realm of videography and editing and really wanna pursue it down! But I am quite disheartened to see people not giving much attention to these works. I mean, it's really a very difficult job to capture those moments and put them in a really fancy way. But people take that for granted and do not recognize the efforts behind it. One would be seeing like 1M likes in some worthless videos which might involve a hot chick waving throughout the video and nothing else!
    Leaving all that behind, really good work man! I have been following a lot of videographers on YouTube! All of you are wonderful!

  • Thank u bro

  • there are called 'cut aways'

  • You look like cr7. 🙂

  • Very informative

  • How can you teach people about camera moves, do you have academic knowledge or what is your authority .Dont shit people.!!!

  • This was actually good. Lol.

  • Amazing job man. Good done.

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