Truthfully, I didn’t appreciate the importance of relevant B roll (film that is not the actual scenes of the movie, but is used to transition between or add to scenes) until I got well into the process of editing. To help you understand what B roll would have been helpful, let me give you some examples.
In some cases, a daytime scene is followed by a nighttime scene. Going between the two would be confusing unless there were some visual clue to help the audience make the leap. For example, the transition might be traffic at dusk filmed at one place followed by traffic at night filmed at the same spot. It would be best if the two shots were at the same spot because evening traffic in one place followed by night traffic at another place might set up the audience to focus on locations switching rather than the lighting change.
Although almost all of the B roll for RIK is traffic, it was mostly either day or night, not evening or transitional taken from one spot. So it had to be used for transitions of scenes that were day-day, or night-night. We had only two really good day-night transitions, neither of them shot by the “red” camera as straight B roll. One was a drone shot that was done of the skyline. Our drone pilot, Sparky Sorenson, shot the scene both in the evening and at night, which makes for a beautiful passage in time. Another transition was shot by Angel from the balcony of my apartment. He did a time lapse with my SLR camera on a tripod from afternoon to after dusk. It is the only other spot-on day-to-night transition.
Had I appreciated the importance of B roll more, I would have assured that a number of shots of scenes without actors were filmed. I already mentioned in Part One that it would have been wonderful to have footage of the two professional kilns at the artist’s studio. Similarly, it would have been helpful to have film of the length of the bar in the bar scene (where we had extras that are not in the movie as a result of not shooting it), several close ups of the marionettes in the villain’s apartment, footage of the outsides of buildings that were used for interior filming, and so on.
One case in which there was an excellent example of B roll that we did have was the outside of the “college”. It shows the exterior of the building and several of the crew members are milling about as extras. You can see this film used as the lead in to the scene where there is a lecture at the college. We needed more footage of the building, however. So one day well after production had ended, Angel and I got Sparky the drone operator to do a few shot of the same building from above. I chose not to use much of this, however, because the season had already begun to change the trees’ leaves’ color. This limited how far we could photograph from the building and how widely, so as not to show the trees being different from the way they were when production was shot. This is why it is so important to get B roll at the same time as you film production.
Another way I got B roll is by cribbing some bits from scenes I decided not to use in the movie. For example, one unused scene was filmed at the villain’s house. I used a very eerie view of the house at night as the lead in for a short scene with the villain, and another of a marionette from the same unused scene when the villain is lying on his bed.
My advice to anyone contemplating making a film is that they go through the script in advance and mark where it is likely to require B roll and to specify what type of shots and lighting would be ideal. This is certainly what I’d do if I could do it all over again.