Editing documentaries can be challenging at times. Not having ample B-roll can make a challenging editing session near impossible. Though B-roll is secondary footage captured in order to supplement the A-roll, it should be thought of as being just as important. The problem many beginner documentarians encounter with B-roll is not knowing what to shoot. When thinking about what kind of images to shoot, you should always consider topics discussed during your interviews. The easiest way of doing this is to listen carefully to the answers given by your subjects. Make a mental note of anything the subject says that could be used as B-roll, and then be sure to shoot it after the interview. For example, if your documentary is about the local animal shelter and your subject is talking about the wonderful dogs they have for adoption, be sure to get some compelling shots of those wonderful dogs before you leave. Some other possibilities when considering shots for B-roll are:April 15th, 2011
- Photographs, newspaper clippings, letters and documents. These are all great ways to visit the past and usually easily obtainable through the interviewee.
- Close-up shots of fidgety or expressive hands. These kinds of shots are visual clues as to how the person is feeling.
- If your interview subject is talking about an activity they partake in, shoot them doing that activity. For example, if your documentary is about an artist and your subject is discussing why they love to paint, try to get some footage of their creative process.