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Stories By Rachel Jellinek

What Is B-Roll and Why Is It So Valuable?

B-roll is the extra footage captured to enrich the story you’re telling and to have greater flexibility when editing. Instead of featuring only talking heads on video, you want to have other images you can cut away to that will add dimension to your story. B-roll can include additional video footage, still photographs, animation or other graphic elements. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your film shoot: Depending on the type of video you are creating, evenly divide filming between recording interviews and capturing b-roll. In our experience, having plenty of good b-roll makes a video more powerful. Because the times for capturing b-roll are often fixed (a certain activity only happens at a certain time), start by identifying the must-have footage and inserting that into your filming schedule. Fill in the rest of the schedule with interviews and nice-to-have b-roll. If you discover, due to limited timing, that you need to sacrifice either a must-have piece of b-roll...
Let's Talk Equipment

Let’s Talk Video Equipment

For the self-producer, here are some things to consider when selecting equipment: A video camera. This is pretty obvious, of course, but which one? There are thousands from which to choose that will be perfectly adequate for the DIY producer. Even something as modest as the video recorder on a smartphone will work. We usually suggest, however, that something a notch above  is preferable. Kodak’s Playtouch video camera, for example, is a low-priced option (about $175) that shoots decent video, and, just as importantly, has an input for an external microphone. Microphone. Using an external microphone should be a priority. Lousy audio is the easiest way to lose the audience for your video. We usually tell folks to go to Radio Shack and get a basic lavalier microphone that will clip on to a shirt. Plug that into your Playtouch and you’re good to go. Headphones. Headphones are not a must-have but definitely  worthwhile. If you have a simple camera in which the head phones share the same input...
Do-It-Yourself Video

Do-It-Yourself Video?

A video producer explores the limits of DIY and the absolute importance of b-roll. I never argue that all video must be professionally made. In many cases, creating your own video is in fact the best approach. But all of us also know that self-produced business videos can look … well, self-produced. Frequently they suffer from some combination of poor audio, awkward camera angles, unflattering lighting or odd settings (interviewees in cluttered offices or against a blank wall). Many of these problems, however, can be easily avoided. So as you consider embarking upon a video project, you need to consider two things. First, should your video have a professional look or will a well-made, do-it-yourself video suffice? And second, if you are leaning towards the DIY approach, do you have the capabilities to do it well? Think clearly about your market. What are your clients’ or prospective clients’ expectations in terms of their viewing experience? What do they associate with you and your brand?...