Thread: Is highspeed B-Roll overused?

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  1. #1 Is highspeed B-Roll overused? 
    Senior Member Dean Butler's Avatar
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    An inside look at the impact that shooting too much highspeed B-Roll has had on a “cinematographer” and his brother.

    So although my passion is in filmmaking, primarily as a writer/director (I just make shorts) - a big part of my day job as a corporate/commercial shooter is creating branded content. Lots of mini-doc storytelling. I love shooting handheld, I rarely touch a gimbal and leave that to others... But ever since owning a Red Scarlet-w (and now Ursa Mini Pro G2 and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6k) I've developed an overreliance on 100-120 fps highspeed shooting to create images and sequences that clients respond really well to.

    Now 100% high speed shooting has a place in branded content and it's a popular feature for a reason, but if I'm honest I've started to use it as a crutch to make otherwise uninspired compositions just seem a bit better (if that makes sense?). When I think really I should be mixing it up and shooting more onspeed (and 50 fps... I'm in Oz) not just dreamy 100 fps shots. There's just something that that framerate does to handheld movement that I really like and clients seem to respond really well too.

    However I think I'm holding myself back from finding more interesting ways to capture sequences and scenes. I'm just relying on the same tricks, the same sets of sequences and shots just in different locations with different people.

    This "Mini-doc" was really a self deprecating look at myself and my own work. Anyone else 'stuck' shooting too much highspeed b-roll? Do you think you're using it as a crutch? Is there anything wrong with that? Or should I be exploring more diverse ways of shooting?
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Daniel Stilling's Avatar
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    Yes...
    Daniel Stilling, DFF (Danish Society of Cinematographers)
    Director Of Photography
    www.danieldp.com
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Mark Phelan's Avatar
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    LOL! That was great.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member Dean Butler's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Am I alone feeling like I'm overselling (edit: over relying) on high frame rates? Is that a problem? Anyone else feel the same?
    Last edited by Dean Butler; 03-05-2021 at 11:46 PM.
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Steve Sherrick's Avatar
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    If I can be honest, we've probably reached the saturation point for youtube videos about filmmaking and what you should be doing. They fill up my Facebook ads, the internet is just loaded with them. And some of the content is fine, some of it actually really good. Every camera that comes out, WHY THIS CAMERA IS THE BEST YET. or WHY YOU NEED TO BE SHOOTING 120 FPS. You get the point. They have their place but they can also start to make everything seem a bit - overworked I guess. When you see good content, you just know it. The shots seem appropriate for the story, whether it's normal frame rates or high speed. When it all comes together in a good way, it's almost like we're only aware of them on a subconscious level and we just get immersed in the story.

    For example, I loved this film. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12888462/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    I wasn't looking to see what cool camera tricks they used or what camera models, at least not while I was watching it. I was too immersed in the story to get distracted by that stuff.

    Yes, trends do happen. Whether it's camera movement that makes no sense at times, or overgrading just because you can instead of what fits the mood of the scene/story. That's why some stuff stands the test of time better than others.
    Steve Sherrick
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Dean Butler's Avatar
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    I'd hope your always honest Steve ;-) But yeah your comment "When you see good content, you just know it... etc" I think you hit the nail on the head there.
    Speaking of trends, I remember when sliders came out... never seen so many short tracking shots lol (I'm guilty).
    I missed watching My Octopus Teacher with the fam, will have to check it out. Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective. I appreciate it.
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