Here’s a Few Ways to Make Your B-Roll Look Awesome Without Using Slow-Motion

Slow-motion is the easiest way to make any shot look cinematic, especially B-roll. But it can become boring if it’s used too much. So, if you want to break away from shooting your B-roll in the typical 120fps, YouTuber Chris Hau has a few tips that will leave you B-roll looking great without needing slow-motion.

In the video, Hau details 11 techniques that will make all B-roll shots stand out. “It’s just a few ideas to help change up your type of B-roll that you’re shooting, so you’re not always relying on 120 frames a second,” Hau says.

Here are a few of the tips that he goes over:

Try rack focusing your B-roll shots

“It looks different,” Hau says. “You don’t always see people rack focusing.” When you are rack focusing, you are essentially changing the focus of the shot. As you can see in Hau’s video, he changes the focal point when he pans from a shiny car in the background to a graffiti wall. It adds interest to the shot, changing the subject of the scene at the blink of an eye.

You don’t always need dramatic movement to make your B-roll epic

If you’re fresh out of ideas for what thrilling actions you should be shooting for your B-roll, maybe try shooting scene without much movement at all. Grab your tripod and create a symmetrical shot and shoot a series of those; together those shots can make for a pretty epic and dramatic clip.

Use timelapse

Instead of slowing things down for B-roll, why not speed everything up. No one can say that a timelapse showing the city tops of Paris transitioning between day to night would be boring. But even the most seemingly boring shots, like people walking down a sidewalk, will suddenly become interesting because everything is moving faster than it should.

Shoot in a variety of frames

When at location, makes sure to shoot your B-roll in a number of different ways, giving you tons of options to choose from when you transition into editing and adding diversity into your sequence.

“When you’re at a location. Shoot a wide, shoot a close-up, and then shoot a macro shot,” says Hau. “Because having diversity in your shots can make for a more interesting sequence.”

So, while you may have a certain shot planned out exactly in your head, try shooting that scene in a number of ways. Who knows? You may end up liking one of the different frames better. If not, no harm done. You just have extra footage on you hands.

Drones capture shots you can’t

Try spicing up your B-roll with some aerial shots. Drones are great for this. You can opt for a top down view or you can track a moving subject, like a car for instance. A well shot aerial sequence never disappoints.

So, whenever you want to change up the way you shoot your B-roll, try a few of these suggestions. But remember, don’t feel like you can’t use slow-motion either, and in fact please do use it. These tips are here to help you expand your repertoire of B-roll techniques, not get rid of slow-motion.

“Hopefully this will change the flow of your types of videos,” says Hau. “… it’s actually a reminder to be purposeful with the type of B-roll that you’re capturing and making sure the types of shots that you’re getting support the content you’re shooting and you’re not always clutched on the same type of look all the time.”

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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