For anybody who shoots videos, especially on their own, shooting b-roll can be a bit of a pain. You have to have it, though, really, to stop your video just becoming some kind of long monologue. It’s the supplemental footage that shows what you’re actually talking about, or just provides context for what’s going on or the topic at hand.
It’s something Sean Tucker knows all too well, having gone out in the past carrying far too much gear in order to shoot it and ultimately using very little of it. In this video, he talks about going back to the bare minimum to shoot his b-roll with just a Sony A7III and a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens.
Carrying too much gear to a shoot is something many of us do, especially after we start thinking about the b-roll. We want the slider and the gimbal and all the other fancy kit that manages to creep its way into our bags. But it often does more harm than good. We fall into that trap of having too much choice, that often holds us back from shooting anything at all.
When we force ourselves to go back to the minimum amount of gear, we’re always ready to shoot. And we’re looking for interesting things far more often because we’re not worrying about the shot being missed by the time we set up a slider or bust open the lights.
Sean shoots his b-roll now with just a Sony A7III and a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens. This gives him less to worry about, and more freedom to concentrate on really finding the shots that help him to tell his story. He shoots everything at 120fps, which might be something a cliché for b-roll these days, but he doesn’t shoot that frame rate just because he expects to slow everything down to a fifth of regular speed. He shoots that speed because he doesn’t know until the edit whether he wants to or not.
I often do the same, although the camera I usually use for my b-roll doesn’t go faster than 60fps, but it’s the same principle. If I want to slow things down, I can (and it can be a lifesaver for some shots, due to the illusion of stabilisation it can provide), but when I want to play it back in realtime, I can do that too. If I shoot 24fps for everything, the option to slow things down has evaporated.
What do you use to shoot your b-roll?