Using B-Roll to Shape an Edit
When I talk about shaping an edit, you can use B roll to shape an edit, either illustratively or esoterically. When we talk about B roll and shaping an edit what I'm really talking about is I don't even look at B roll. At all. Until I'm done with my rough cut. Like unless I'm absolutely, positively done with my rough cut. I don't have to get it down and chunked all the way through, but until I have my statements placed and the verbiage correct and the narrative set, I'm not gonna put B roll in. And the reason is, the minute I start putting B roll in, if I have to move things around in my primary line, my primary timeline, it's just wasted effort. Get your narrative set and then lay in footage after the fact. Before I jump into Premiere Pro to kind of look at footage with you guys, I kind of just want to take a second, slow down, and stop and, as we wind into closing out these high level concepts, ask you some more questions and kind of get a feel for where you guys are and what you guy...
s are thinking. I think that I purposely picked out B roll as a huge thing that for me was a failure point in a lot of my early shoots. If we want to hang on this topic a little bit longer and ask questions and allow me to help you guys work through stuff I would really love that.
How do you determine how much B roll of each subject to get? Say it's 30 seconds of this, 30 seconds of that and then cut it down, to know the B roll you're getting is actually going to be useful, it's not just film for film.
I'm going to tell you something that, and I don't mean to be rude, so please don't take this wrong. I want you to look in the mirror and when that person's staring back at you says you've had enough, then you've had enough. Because you're the person that's going to be editing that footage. You know what I mean? I think, for me, when I look at inaction and I go, ugh, okay, and I've spent like 20 minutes trying to record that action, I'm done. I know I'm done. And I can't get any more. If I feel that drive, if I'm not sure I've gotten it, if I want to get it one more time, I will keep going until I know I've got it. And I'll review and I'll look, but only you can be the barometer of how much footage you want to capture because the only person looking at all of it will be you. And I think that that's something, too. We're going to talk about reviewing dailies tomorrow. Reviewing dailies, that's why editing is so long. Let's pretend you captured 45 minutes of footage for the interview and then 60 minutes of B roll that's an hour and 45 minutes that you're going to have to go through and log and take a look at and discard or cut, make notes on, before you even start editing. I listened to the full interview like three or four times. Before I even started editing, just so I could get a feel. And I'll, I mean I could share with you the notes that I made when I had my basic timeline, of where what statement was, and what time code it was and I could go through and tell you, all right here's what I did. And I, there's a whole section where Ivan was like, you know, I started wrestling in high school, this, that, and the other thing, I cut all of that. Because I knew where I wanted to go with the story but unless I knew where I wanted to go with the story by listening to the footage I would not have known to cut all that. You had a question?
How do you manage to do that without getting burned out?
Lots of music. Lots of Red Bull. Frequent breaks. Joking aside, I think getting burned out is always a fear. You're gonna push really hard to finish an edit. I think you need to give yourself some creative space. Creative space is very, very important. It's a lot like negative space in artwork. Sometimes people are so in the weeds. When you just give some negative space to a subject and give some negative space to yourself you come back with fresh eyes. Again, you've gotta be, you have to be your own meter. In the way of what you're gonna do and how much of it you're gonna do. Once I get to the editing I just know I'm gonna plow through it but then I'll stop. I'll stop like halfway through once it gets to color grading and I'll stop and take a break. Because I can't look at color and do an edit in the same sitting.
How much of your B roll is staged and how much is authentic?
Per project. That's a good question. That is gonna be dependent on the project. Remember the violin maker? All of that B roll had been staged. All of it would have been staged, down to every action. I would have been like, no I need you to move from here to here and I need you to move it this slowly. I would have scripted every single action. And I would have gotten there and gotten every single detail as much as possible because that's what mattered. In this case I would say that 90% of the B roll was organic. I didn't tell anyone to do anything. I just photojournalistic'd it. Again, that leaned back on my desire to provide someone an authentic experience of what it would be like to be in the gym. Now what we did do was we had people come in at a time when there usually isn't a class. Normally classes there start at 5:30, or whatever, we had a group of people come in at 4:30 to go through a class. A real class, a shortened class it wasn't like something that normally happened, he brought in inexperienced people, he brought in experienced people. It was something that was different because they were all in gis as opposed to some of the other footage where they were all in tee shirts and shorts. It gave it a lot of diversity. So when you're talking about implanting B roll with your client, if there's an opportunity to shake things up a little bit and change the visual space by having a costume change, that's for sure what you're gonna what to do. I think it does add another dimension to the space, too, when you look at the video and you're like, cool, they have this thing where they're wearing gis, oh well now they're just like normal people like you and me. Oh, my God he was just in this thing and now he's wearing a tee shirt and shorts? Okay I can get down with this. Just a brief introduction to kind of how Premiere works. As you work with a timeline you work in kind of an editor, a non-linear editor, you have a screen over here that's gonna be what is playing on the timeline and on the left hand side is where you can review what your source is, the clip that you've selected you want to play. All right, so if I come here to my media bin, give me a second, If I come in here to my media bin I can double click on this piece of footage and take a look at how it's going to play out. You can see here, in my folder, this is my B roll. I believe I'm looking at the 5D Mark IV right now. I've labeled what camera came from where, what footage came from where. I just hit play. Everything is muted but what you're gonna look at is B roll is really messy. I didn't get all of the shot. I'm unframed, I've got this thing here. I don't even think this made it into the final edit. But I had to look at all of it to see what I thought was visually compelling. The whole purpose of me showing you this B roll is to get you into the mindset of that not everything you're gonna get is beautiful. Here's the thing. This entire clip is a minute, 43 seconds and nine frames. If I were truly gonna use a portion of this edit, if I was truly gonna use a portion of this edit, I'd probably go from from here to here. And if I were to drag that to the timeline, give me a second here, if I were going to drag that to the timeline, look how much time that takes up in the edit. I dragged it twice because I didn't think it was that much. It takes up, like, a few frames. You shoot a lot so that you can cut a lot. You can cut a lot. When we talk about B roll being illustrative or esoteric, if we take a look at B roll being esoteric or not, right? In something that's illustrative, the subject's gonna say something and the B roll will support that statement. It will illustrate the statement. In esoteric B roll, the subject will say something, and then it's going to be out of right field. The footage is gonna not make, it's not gonna pertain. In some of this edit I chose to be very literal. Very illustrative. So in this case here, let me see here. We're going to have some audio on this one. Watch this part.
They give it depth, and I enjoy it very, very much.
When you first walk into the gym you might be nervous. You might be nervous, like what am I get--
So what was that? When you first walk into the gym, you might be nervous. Oh, I'm nervous, because I'm watching this dude just kick some guy. Let's watch that again. Watch how I'm piecing together B roll to illustrate and emphasize my narrative, so it's going to be like...
Very, very much.
When you first walk into the gym you might be nervous, you might be nervous, like, what am I getting into, what is this, but--
What is this? Literally the guy's rubbing this guy's face like, what is this? A lot of the decisions that I chose for B roll was to help support that, yeah, I don't know what's going on. What are you rubbing his face for, what's going on there? And then, dude, that guy's jacked.
You come in here and like anything else it becomes a step by step process. You come in here--
So there he's talking about it being a step by step process, blah blah blah, yadda yadda, yadda, and then we cut to stuff that's like okay, well, make me comfortable. Again, very literal here.
You do a little bit of stretching, the coach guides you into a warm up, then teaches you a certain technique, and then little by little you start--
See, so when you think about it, I just showed you three or four clips of B roll, that helped illustrate the moment, illustrate the point, but let's look at how much B roll I captured. This is what I captured in the way of B roll. If we take a real look at it. So much, and that's just one camera. Just one camera, and I could totally put together an entire edit of other things involving other B roll because of it. Captured all the footage, you made the piece, what else could you use? What else could you use that B roll for and that B roll is valuable stuff. You can create other things to help emphasize other points, because all of those statements you've cut from the interview, you can resurrect them now. You can tell multiple stories from one interview. If you ask the right questions. You're going back to that mine, you're getting more stuff out of it. You can go back and dig, and dig, and dig, and get more things. Here's a really good example. I'm going to show you... Let's see here. Sorry, just give me a quick second. Okay, here we go, here's this part here. So, guy boxing, right? It's literally like a few seconds, how much of that footage did I get of guy boxing? Like, 11 seconds, over two clips. So, 11 seconds the first clip and nine seconds the second clip. And I used it for all of two seconds. When you're asking me how much of one thing am I capturing, I got it once, didn't feel like I was good enough on it, just didn't feel like it was good, so then I decided I need to go somewhere else and I need to get something different. So I got a second clip instead. I think that kind of really helps us understand, at a very top level, the importance of B roll. I did shoot different cameras, too, so let's actually take a quick second and talk about that. Let me just find my footage. Here's this DJI so let's go ahead and clear over. All right, you can see like, okay, so, again. So here's a good example, and the reason this video is pixelated is my playback is at 1/16th quality to help frame dropping. I just want to take a look at the footage. I don't care about the quality of it right now, I just care about what I'm getting. If I can use this piece of footage. Maybe I should have used this piece and it's funny because I'm thinking about this piece like, oh, that could have worked for another part. But I didn't use it because in that mindset of my edit I was thinking about other things. That was a 23 second clip. It goes like that but we only end up using a small portion of it. Here's another clip here. Think my computer's trying to wake up. Remember that little boxing, the guy on the speed bag, in the final edit? That was a few seconds worth. I sat there and I just held the camera, tried to get a good sequence. I had to be like, does he think he's doing well, does he think he's doing well? And then he noticed me, that I was there, and he was like, great. So I walked away, I walked away. And then I came back later, because he needed to lower it and he needed to do other things. A lot of the times I'll just let the camera run as I'm doing something because I don't know what I'm going to get. This is real, true, nitty, gritty, ugly B roll. You know, it's like, I let the camera run. Space is cheap, guys, it's free. It's totally free. You don't have to worry about it looking pretty. Just looking at another clip here, I mean, I can do this all day because this is what really I'm passionate about. Taking this amorphous thing. Here's an entire sequence that I shot that we just didn't end up using. Give me a second here. Here's, I had this idea, like, what would it look like to someone walking outside, you know? How would this look? Footage looks kind of cool but I got that little jello cam effect, it just didn't really convey it, it took too long to convey it, you know. You've got to be creative. You've got to think outside the box. You've got to try different things. You've got to, got to, got to, got to, because it's better that I cut this than to think that I needed it in the first place. See the difference? It was a long shoot. Did I want to do that? No. I didn't want to do that, I wanted to go home. I was tired, I was sweaty, I was sweating all day. It was disgusting. Like the film of sweat on my body for the time that I was in that shoot I was amazed that no one walked away because I stank so badly. But you have to get this type of footage, otherwise your edit's not gonna work. Again, when you take a look, it's just so beautiful to look at and go I could use that footage, I could use this, you know? That's a drill, that's beautiful. It's really, really nice, and the footage is stable. I mean, all of that prep work gets me here and I'm not done yet, right? We're not even in the edit, I'm just reviewing some of the B roll clip so that I can impress upon you the importance of B roll. How long, this clip is 36 seconds long. Did I use it in the final? Probably not. Should I have? Now that I see it, yeah probably. (audience laughing)
I was like, that's such a cool shot. Right? And this is why it's never ending. This is why you always push. This is why you always just try to find that one thing that makes you want to hit record one more time. I mean I could seriously do this all day because for me, helping you understand that we, oh, I love this, like... The different skill levels of people, going from someone who knows what they're doing to someone who's just learning. And just beginning, and coming here, just in the same room someone who's just a little bit more advanced, right? And just working, and I couldn't use that because it had people in the background. This is B roll. You don't get B roll by shooting it and thinking it's beautiful on the spot.
There's a lot there. How do you actually keep that in your brain or rate it or sort it or I don't know, in a way that actually turns it into something that's not just on a disc but useful for you later on?
There's two ways, okay, there's two ways. I could go in and I could tag and metadata in the clips. That's what I could do. Will I probably do it? I don't know if I will. What I would do here is, as I go through, a simple thing that I can do is just mark in and outs. If I come in here and I just mark an in and out, hit an I and then an O, it's gonna tell me what part of the footage I thought was nice. I can throw markers into there and I can do other things that actually I would do. As I review B roll, though, for the edit, I'm gonna take note of the file name, I'm gonna take note of the time code sequence, or time code, and I'm gonna write it down. Or I'll just take a note of, I'll throw all of, I edit really kind of like haphazardly a lot of the times because I'm trying to move really quickly, so if I see a clip that I like I'll just throw it into a bin. Throwing it into a bin is as easy as making another folder here and just dragging clips to it. In terms of non-linear editing in Premiere, you have your file structure and you have your bin structure. Your bin structure is nondestructive, meaning if I take clips and I'm moving them around into a bin, it doesn't move them around in my hard drive. So what I could do is, as I import footage and I see stuff, I just create a bin folder and throw stuff into it, if I like it. If I know I like it I can just sort of throw stuff into it. A lot of times, though, as I'm capturing I just make a mental note that I liked that shot. I download and I review and I look and I watch and I see everything, you know? It's hard. It's not like, it's not easy. There's mental notes you can take, there's physical notes you can take. The best methodology, seriously, pen and paper. File name, time. What it was. Cool shot of them drilling. File name, time, two girls kicking. That way you can start to understand where your footage is, and what. And when I say time, you've got your clip start here, or sorry, your run time here, and your clip length here. So this is the time you're gonna look for right here.
So are you using in and outs just like you did?
I can use in and out as a way to mark and then drag down so I use in and out--
So you're just making a rough in and out.
Yeah, yeah I'm just making a rough in and out. So if I identify a piece of footage, right, so if I identify a piece of footage, I'll hit in, and then maybe what I'll do is just drag it over here and just drag that entire clip to a timeline, just so I have it. And if you look at my final edit. Give me a second here. Let me just reset to workspace. If you look at my final edit you'll see here on video track four, I have it muted. That little eyeball right here in video track four, this little eyeball when it's got a cross on it means it's not being seen. So a lot of times I'll make a video track in my timeline that I'll throw clips to that no one's gonna see, so that I know that they're in the timeline and then I can come in and lay them down in later. The way I lay out my timelines is here's camera one, here's camera two, here's B roll.
I think this is more of an interview question than a filmography question, but when you're in the middle of a conversation with someone and there's something that you really want to make sure that you remember, like Chase has a great way of, that's a tweetable moment or if you don't want to break that fourth wall and you kind of want to stay in the moment, do you have a pen and pad that you're just making notes to make sure that you catch it when you go back and review your footage, so that you don't miss that again?
I think, yeah, in an ideal world, I'd have a pen and pad. I think this interview I didn't, and I think I missed some things that I had to go through and listen to, to kind of find again, so that's just time wasted. I think, like, it's okay, during an interview, for you to be like, hey, you know that was a really good statement, can I just take my phone out and just type something out real quick just so I can remember what you said? I think what that does is it reinforces to your client that you value what they're saying, that you're listening. Because I think a lot of the time, you know my big fear up here, I'm saying a lot of words but I'm wondering if people are listening, and I think that the feedback that Kendra gives me, the feedback that you guys give me informs me that I actually am saying thing that matter, right? The nodding of the heads, the smiling, the recognition, the acknowledgment. So I know, being in this seat, how valuable that type of feedback is, and that's only gonna make your interview better. And I think that's, in lieu of secretly writing notes, because I think the opposite side of the equation is, if you're sitting there and you're writing notes down and you're not telling somebody that you're liking what they say, it almost is like a shrink relationship. It's like, hmmm, okay, hmmm, oh, okay. (audience laughing) You don't want to get them into that kind of relationship, either. It's kind of like a, it's... I over communicate. I over communicate because you can never over communicate, you can just be an annoyance, and that's okay. (audience laughing)
You talked earlier about just rolling the whole time when it comes to the audio. This is from Sharon. Do you ever turn the camera on early when you're doing that interview in case the client says something amazing during the pre-interview?
Actually I did that. Actually that thing. We were kind of just messing around or whatever it was. I went to camera B and I turned camera B on and I just rolled for all that entire time that we were dead and we were down. I didn't end up using any of it but it's a good practice. It's something that, you're absolutely right. There is no, and here's the thing, there is no structured formula. There is no guaranteed way to package up the way you should shoot an interview. There is no methodology except the methodology that works for you, given that you've had the practice. Given that you've put in the time. Just because I'm doing something a way, it's only because I've developed a muscle memory to the way of doing it. Take what I say as a direction. Take what I say as a note, not as a dictation. Not as a definitive authority to the way you should do things. I think the minute we start doing that we start losing the reins of our own creativity. What I want you to do? Learn your camera. What I want you to do? Learn the differences between RGB channel. What I want you to do? Learn waveform, learn vector scale. Those are definitive factual things that we can lean on as content creators to speak the same language when we have a technical problem. But when it comes to process and creativity, my process will defer from your process. And me using two cameras in that way, off angle and primary angle, may not be the way you use two cameras. That's the difference here. The way in which we employ our rote knowledge is much different, but that rote knowledge is the same. We shoot at 24 frames a second, we shoot at a 50th of a second, we shoot at the lowest ISO possible. Those are immutable facts. Those are things that cannot and will not change. But when you want your camera here and I want my camera there, well that's up for discussion. You follow? That's what I mean. I could sit here and talk about all of the things that are fundamentally based in the art of film making, but then that wouldn't be this class. This class is the process from start to finish, not how to do it, from a technical standpoint. Yeah?
A little more on the technical side with the 4K, so are you dumping everything, if you're shooting the Mark IV, 5D Mark IV, are you dumping everything to 4K in the camera or are you using your monitor recorder, and along with that, are you just, you're always shooting in 4K as your primary and then using the B roll with 1080 or whatever else?
So, with the 5D Mark IV it only records 4K internally. That means I've got to stick a card in it. So everything that I'm recording on that 5D Mark IV, in 4K is to a card. The card is 500 megabits per second, Motion JPEG. It's a cropped video but it's still 4K. So I'm getting the full benefit of 4K--
But that doesn't record ProRes, correct?
No, it doesn't record ProRes. So inside the camera it's only Motion JPEG. That's the Kodak that is being used inside the camera to capture 4K. If Canon's 5D Mark IV had the ability to output that signal from its HDMI, had the ability to output that 4K signal out, I could have used my Ninja Atomos to capture that 4K and transcode it to ProRes LT. I could have done that. But the camera doesn't do that. The camera only records 4K to a card, ergo I had to use a card in that camera. So for that camera, for the DJI Osmo, I captured everything at 24 frames a second, in 4K. To their own cards. When it comes to the 5D Mark III, because the signal outputting out of the camera was 1080 and because the Ninja too could record that 1080 and then give me ProRes LT, I chose to do that because the capacity was bigger, I could leverage the benefits of that uncompressed signal, it got me into the editing room a lot more quickly. Much easier to work in that space. When I got to my timeline, my sequence, and I'll talk about this later, is a 1080 sequence, at 24, that I've laid out, and preset it and then as I'm dropping clips to it I am not conforming the sequence to the footage, I'm conforming the footage to the sequence. So we'll talk about that later and we'll kind of just dive through it. It's not going to be a nuts and bolts course on editing, but I'll tell you enough to help you get through some of your initial challenges. But really you want to talk about how moving clips around can change a story. Moving clips around can really change a narrative.
So why wouldn't, why would you buy a Mark IV, why wouldn't you just have two Mark IIIs, dump them to the Atomos and record that's a great question 4K in ProRes?
That's a great question. So for me, the 4K and, the Mark IV in 4K trumps all. Because of my ability to crop in. Here's a good example. So when we look at this, this is, here is my 4K sequence. I'm just gonna hide this. Shows my 4K sequence. Okay so I'm gonna play this for you right now. And I've pulled it down so we can see the full frame. When you look at this 4K sequence, can you see how that bag's swinging? If this was 1080 I would not be able to crop that out. That would just be swinging. And it would swing, and I couldn't do anything about it. The reason I'm shooting 4K here is because I can actually scale it up. Scale it up, crop out that moving bag, there you go. And I still have the quality. That's why I'm shooting 4K. The off camera is an off camera. I'm never gonna use all the footage from that off camera. I'm delivering in 1080 anyway. It was a good camera B. That's all I needed. I didn't need to shoot two cameras in 4K. that's overkill.