Filmmaking Amateur | Get the Soundbites First (Day Twelve)

by Scott U
(Georgia, USA)

B-roll footage is a necessity when doing a news story or documentary. It's helps to tell the story and move the story along. Plus, it gives the viewer something to look at other than someone talking in front of the camera.

So yes, B-roll is important, but when doing a documentary or news story, you should first do the interview. If you shoot b-roll footage first, you better hope that your interviewee talks about the footage you've already shot.

It's much easier and better for the story if you get the soundbite of someone talking about sweeping with a broom and THEN getting a shot of someone sweeping with a broom. If you get the best shot ever taken of a broom sweeping and your interviewee doesn't talk about brooms, you've wasted the best broom sweeping shot ever.

This week, I'm at the Fuller Center for Housing's Millard Fuller Legacy Build. We had some rough weather the night before and I did a short piece on how the build site was muddied after the rain.

I started my morning off by getting shots of muddy shoes, puddles of water and people walking in the mud and water. Then I set out to find someone to talk about how the weather was affecting the day's build activity.

I finally found one of the site supervisors who used to be in radio and has a great voice. I was able to pull him aside and get him to give a quick recap and update. He did great in the interview. His voice came through very well amidst all the sounds of a construction site. Only problem was, he didn't talk about all of the mud on people's shoes or how people are being forced to jump over puddles. The footage I had shot didn't jive with what he said. So I had to go back out and shoot more footage that aligned with his words. It was a bit aggravating. Mostly because I know this rule: shoot the interview first.

The best way to learn is by making mistakes. Luckily for me, I learn every day.

Here's the video I'm talking about. (and apparently my audio was off a bit. If you look, you can see that the speakers voice and lips aren't quite lined up...Hmmm, it looked fine when I rendered it). But that's a lesson for another day.

Got any personal experience with this kind of thing? Share below!

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