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Free Download: B-Roll Shot List

Izzy with Camera

Most videos need a lot of B-roll. They help us cover edits, and they add variety.

As a shooter, you might find that you sometimes struggle to come up with ideas for B-roll.

This B-roll list can help you unleash your inner Sherlock Holmes and notice the details around you. Get more B-roll with ideas like the ones in the list below. I counted 113 sample B-roll ideas, separated into 31 categories.

First, a few things to keep in mind…

  • The average length of each clip in the final edit is usually about 3 seconds.
  • If you’re making a two minute video, you might need 40 shots in the edit (120 seconds), so you need plenty more than 40 shots to provide editing choices later.
  • A video that’s nothing but B-roll is actually just a video montage…which can be pretty, but it tends to lack a story. Make sure you already have great A-roll.

Download the B-roll List

Click here to download the PDF version of this B-roll list.

You can print it out and take it with you on your next shoot if you want.

Here’s the list…

B-Roll List for Inspiration

Possibilities

  • Body Parts: Subject’s hands, feet, hair, neck, side of face
  • Location: Outside shot of building, vehicle, wide shot of environment
  • Machines Working: escalators, robots, hydraulics, conveyor belts
  • Tools: sanding, brushing, sawing, welding
  • Reaction Shots: audience laughing, interviewer smiling, looking concerned, nodding (aka noddies)
  • Gathering Places: malls, airports, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions, clubs
  • Low Angle Work: Subject is doing their work (typing, painting, using tools…and camera is showing them from a very low angle)
  • Faces: people staring directly into lens (not talking), smiling or serious
  • Holding: People holding something in their hands and showing camera
  • Playing: running, sports, playgrounds, surfing
  • On the Shelf: framed photos, awards, trinkets and doodads
  • High Contrast: Silhouettes, shadow patterns
  • Creating: painting, drawing, sculpting
  • Training for the Big Event: lifting weights, running, pushups, rehearsing
  • Transitions and Changes: Faucets on and off, power switches on and off, turning key in ignition, day turns to night, anything changing from one state to another
  • Coming and Going: Car, motorcycle, airplane, boats, skateboard, horse, dog, person walking toward, person walking away
  • Relationship Shots (between people or things): father with his baby, a girl and her motorcycle, a teen and his smartphone
  • Hot Shots: Fire, smoke, fireworks, sparks, explosions (humans love seeing fire)
  • Driving: Drive-by, backseat point-of-view
  • Mounted Camera: Mount the camera on something that’s moving: taxi, car (windshield, hood, dashboard, etc.), bicycle, grocery cart, dog, drone
  • Signs: Name of location, open/closed sign, public signs, funny signs, ironic signs, symbolic signs
  • Details Inside the Location: tables, menus, the bar, bar tender’s hands pouring drinks from tap
  • Landmarks: statues, famous buildings, famous businesses, famous bridges
  • Weather: rain, wind in trees, storm gathering
  • Nature: ducks in a pond, insects, squirrels, flowers
  • Entrances and Exits: People walking into building, walking out of building, getting into and out of vehicles
  • Busy-ness: Roads, freeways, intersections, overpasses
  • Bodies of Water: beaches, lakes, rivers, pools, fountains, streams, rivers, waterfalls
  • Time-Lapses: Sunrise, sunset, stars, long projects (construction), slow projects (pottery)
  • From High Up: from roof, looking down, looking across to other roofs
  • Panoramas: scan the horizon

Ideas to Stylize the B-roll

  • Focus Blur: Frame the shot. Hit record. Count to five then slowly blur the image by adjusting focus. Slowly bring the shot back into focus. Count to five again.
  • Tilt: Frame the shot. Hit record. Count to five. Then tilt up or down to a new frame. Count to five. Tilt back. Count to five again
  • Pan: Same as tilt, but pan the camera to new frames instead.
  • Diagonal: Same as tilt, but use a diagonal shot using both pan and tilt together.
  • Slider: Mount the camera on a slider. Use low angles or high angles, and slide the camera slowly for a count of 5 as you capture your shot.
  • Movement: There needs to be movement…something moving in the frame or the camera moving, or both. We’re not using still photos, so movement is a plus.
  • Extreme Low Angles: Shoot from an extreme low angle (such as setting the camera on the ground)
  • Extreme High Angles: Shoot from an extreme high angle (using a monopod – or hands – to hold the camera high up)
  • Slow Motion: Shoot any of the above B-roll clips at a high frame rate so you have slow motion footage later

Get Your B-roll

With all the ideas in this B-roll list, you shouldn’t have any problems getting the B-roll you need.

But if you do… Here’s a video that made me laugh the first time I saw it years ago.

Anyway, I hope you find the B-roll list helpful!

3 thoughts on “Free Download: B-Roll Shot List

  1. Great list! And when shooting any item, person, scene, etc. for b-roll, I learned from one of the master video journalists, Darrell Barton of CBS 24 Hours fame to think of shooting your b-roll subjects like a dance: “wide-medium-tight-tight-tight, wide-medium-tight-tight-tight…” You then have different fields of view and angles to cut together. For subjects in motion make sure to capture same/similar movements to match action when cutting together.

  2. You are really terrific. Your videos and information in general are always extremely helpful. I’ve been a memeber for 3 years, and intend to continue.

    Thanks so much,
    Artesia

  3. Thank you for this list! Very helpful

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