Assembling Assets: A Roll / B Roll / Audio

Assembling Assets: A Roll / B Roll / Audio

This week we are going to go a little deeper into the shoot experience. The next video we do will be one a bit more advanced than what we just did. We are going to blend several features together to make a video that has more depth of layers than just moving pictures.

While I suggest a storyboard for this, I think many of us can do it with a shot list.

The final video will be 2 – 2 1/2 minutes long and will contain shots done in two locations, audio track, music, and ambient sounds we have collected for our clip.


A place of interest to you, or a video portrait of someone you want to feature. Find and locate the place and make sure there is a secondary set as well. For instance: video portrait of a cactus expert at a botanical garden where you can shoot outside, and an office where you can get a different perspective. Or a musician in rehearsal and at a quiet place that will respond well as a contrast to the rehearsal scene.

If you are doing a place, it should be something that is easy to get to, and try to do it at two different times of day… morning and evening. Busy and empty. Opening hour and closing down. Contrasting sets for the shoot.


I love doing the interview first and then shooting a ton of B-Roll to fill in… mindful of the conversation and looking for things that would go well over the top of the interview. One of the things I like about it is the audio is well controlled and the same throughout the video. And remember, you can cut the audio just like you do the video so make sure to get more audio than you need. Edit as you would the video, since the cuts can be covered over by B-Roll.


Here is where the magic happens. You have the text or the interview in front of you, so you can find great stuff to add to B-Roll that will accompany the video. A singer talking about a microphone may work well under a shot of their hands working with the microphone. A landscape architect discussing the challenges of working in the southwest can be seen with tools and sketchpad on a piece of land taking notes.

Think still shots that move. Heh. We are doing the same thing here… making a set of images that will flow together and move with the extra added narration and music.


I hope you got a few clips in your library by now. Remember there are always free ones each month at AudioJungle, so start grabbing them every month to have them in your library. Last week’s assignment has a list of places to get music clips with no fee as well. Use the music to intro the work and then fade it out when dialog begins. Fade back up in places where you want it and fade it in and out at the end of the piece. You can edit the music into short clips as well with the same software. Also, consider Audacity if you need a stand-aloneĀ audio software. It is open source and free.


I would imagine the easiest way to get these is to grab them on your camera and microphone. Need the sound of surf, get some. Need traffic – go and grab some traffic sounds with your camera and mic. I want you to have at least a couple ambient sounds in this video – ones you have captured yourself.


Stop letting the camera roll for long segments (other than if you are gathering A-Roll or an audio track) and start shooting small clips. 8 – 10 seconds of video can be painfully long or simply fly by depending on what you are showing us. It is the same as with still photography.

  • What is the subject?
  • Where are they in the frame?
  • Why are they there?
  • What is in the background?
  • Why did you choose that background?
  • Does the background help define the subject
  • Does the subject’s demeanor, or gesture help the story?
  • What is the light doing to the subject as they move with or through your frame?
  • Do the colors look good?
  • Will this clip seamlessly fall into another clip, or will we need a transition to make it work?

Those and a few dozen other questions you will have to deal with in about 3 seconds, so be ready and be deliberate.


Zoom with your feet… MOVE the camera in and out. Use a Gimbel if you have one.
Gimble for DSLR / P&S cameras.
Gimble for phone cameras.

If you don’t have one, make sure the movements match the type of image you are shooting. If the subject is running or climbing the camera may have a bit more movement allowed. If they are gliding on a bike, it would be very awkward to have lots of camera movement.

Prepare for these shots by scouting the area well, looking in the shot list to find the images you want to make there and use special effects if you think it would work well.

Slow motion / Time Lapse can both be used when you want to create a more smooth transition for your subject to get from one place to another.


The pieces and parts of this assignment that you have gathered. Even if you do not have it all shot, you should have most of your assets together – audio, music, some video, some B-Roll, and the ambient sounds you plan on using. You do not have to share them with us, we will give the screen over to you to share some of your assets and thoughts on the work you are building. Make sure they are in a place where you can access them easily and quickly.


A Great Example of using all of the abilities we have to make a nice, complete feeling video.

Beautiful and simple. Note the use of ambient sound, and music to build tension.

Some extraordinary shots in this short film (about 8 minutes) and fascinating as heck.

Deliberate shots planned to tell the story.

A Promo for a photographer.


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