The videos on this page are two I created for Darlene Quinn, an author who wishes to promote her award-winning books. If you watch the videos, you will see where I took multiple shots of her books from every conceivable angle possible. I used these shots a whole lot in the finished videos.
I took 39 shots of the one book to be exact. Now that is a lot of shots of a book! Video like this is called b-roll. B-roll is an extremely common term in video making and it means the shots you use to create your story. B-roll does NOT include interviews. Interviews are known as A-roll, but that is not as common of a term as b-roll.
To edit a fast-pace, visually spectacular video you need A LOT of b-roll shots to work with, so you have to get creative. In this case, the visual possibilities were slim. I had a book and a website. Talk about milking it for all it’s worth…I took nearly forty shots of just the book! This way, I could keep a fast pace to the video and not just hang on one boring shot of the book.
That kind of video variety usually surprises video novices, but it’s standard technique in the professional world. Take a look at just about any show on TV. If you want to be able to switch shots every 5-10 seconds like a professionally produced TV show, you need as much variety as you can possibly get.
By watching the video, (short version above, longer version below), you can better understand how the technique works.
No matter what I am shooting, I always use this technique to one degree or another. You always need as much variety with your b-roll as possible. When the subject matter is a book, I have to carry it to extremes or I simply won’t be able to edit a video of the caliber I want. More visually stimulating stories would feature objects, or people, who actually move so getting a variety of b-roll is easier.
If you want to learn to be a videographer, learn to see video in individual shots: tiny segments of the world that have meaning and help tell a story. When you really look at the book cover for Webs of Power, you can easily see the multitude of possibilities I was able to capture. I could have gotten another twenty shots but I didn’t need THAT many. 🙂
Look around your environment right now and see if you can duplicate the practice. Isolate at least ten different shots– close, medium or wide– of the room you are in, or, of an object in the room you are in. That’s video making in a nutshell!
The more you get into professional-quality video making, the more you will see the word around you in terms of b-roll shots.
Thanks for reading Video Production Tips