I get this question a lot.

I get this question a lot “What is B-Roll“, so I thought I would give you my version of the definition in this video.

I show an example video of my sister Tracey Dugdale rock climbing Bastille Crack in Eldorado Springs State Park about 10 minutes from where I live. The climb is one of the most famous in the United States. I created the climbing video pretty fast and didn’t get enough b-roll coverage to last the entire two minute video. I feel like the video starts to drag a little in the last half.

The climbing video was shot with the Canon 5D3, T4i and 60D also the Tarmon 24-70mm and Canon 70-200mm.

Also, I am working on a “Getting Started Guide for the Canon T4i/650D”, it should be out pretty soon, hopefully when I finished my T4i vs 60D comparison (finished).

Tracey Dugdale (My Sister) Climbing Bastille Crack

Rock climb video shoot

Eldorado Springs State Park

Tracey Dugdale

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  • Question. How are you creating your slow motion shots? Are you using a seperate add-on like Twixtor? Are you shooting at a higher frame rate and slowing it down?


  • I like how your cuts are synched to the video. I have done the same thing in a video I shot, and as long as the pace of the music fits the video material, it works out great:

  • Nice video Dave, I really liked some of the angles you shot. Did you use a zoom lens on some sort of platform? I’ll think about using the ‘b roll’ footage to break up some footage next time.

    Here’s a video I did (actually my first DSLR vid) with some friends climbing at our local venue.

  • Loved this video, Dave. And it brought up an interesting question/challenge regarding b-roll and pace of cuts in general: the need for cuts on a video about a specific activity is inversely proportional to the viewer’s interest in and knowledge of that activity. For example, I thought the pace of the climbing video was lively and nice, even toward the end. My husband, meanwhile, who has intimate knowledge of that climb (we lived in Eldorado canyon) was REALLY wanting you to just STAY with some of their shots as they moved up the rock.

    We make horse riding and training videos, and the same conflict comes up. If I make a two-minute general interest video of highlights from a show, for example, then the people who actually compete in that sport are wishing I had stayed with one rider, following their movements so they could see detail over time, whereas non-horse viewers find anything over three seconds a bit long… well, unless someone is about to fall off or there is some other exciting action 😉

    Anyway, I am trying to figure out how and when to balance that, or perhaps I just need to make different versions of my highlight/trailer videos: one for real enthusiasts (who have hi-Rez knowledge of the activity) and another for everyone else.
    Thanks for another wonderful video. My husband was in love with several of your shots and said it really captured the feeling of climbing it.

  • @Kathy, that’s neat that you used to live there! It is truly an amazing place. That is an interesting point. When I played the video for my sister and her boyfriend the other night, they never said, oh I wish you held that shot longer. However I was thinking that they might ask me to re-edit it, I guess there were being nice.

  • Ah, I just watched Ian’s video (linked to in his comment), and that was indeed the kind of stay-with-it shots a person who is genuinely, deeply interested in climbing wants/loves to see. I have to think on this more.

    One problem with DSLR video is that I am ALWAYS struggling with focus on moving subjects, so I *rely* on super quick cuts and b-roll to cover the fact that I rarely get usable, focused shots that are more than a few seconds long, given how fast and far my subjects move. Or at least for a-roll. My b-roll shots could often go much longer, because it’s often a shot of a horse grazing, or in his stall, or of a rider tacking up… Things where focus is consistent. Sigh.

  • @dave — your sister and her boyfriend don’t *need* to see “what happens next? Where did she put her hand and foot?” etc. But I reckon any time someone wants MORE of your video (like my husband did), you are certainly doing something right 🙂

    Cheers and thanks again for all your work. I have learned so much from you.

  • Dave, don’t be so critical on yourself. I think you did a great job with B-Roll mixing in through out the video.

    We are always our worst critics. If the client, (in this case your sister) loves it, that’s all that matters 🙂

  • Hi Dave,

    Do you do the same when you use the slider. The issue that I have is that when ever I slow down 24fps (which I always shoot at) the video kind of breaks when i slow it in production.

    Your videos have really improved throughout the years. The colors, the music are pro level and simply outstanding stuff..

  • @Dave they did make it to the top, however my lens really wouldn’t reach them at the top and I didn’t have any climbing gear myself. It was a quick video for me, I didn’t have a lot of time to do it correctly.

  • I was wondering how you got such smooth shots, but then I saw you’re shooting with the 70-200 2.8 IS. Was the entire piece shot with that lens? It’s very smooth and clear.

  • HI Dave
    just found your website and looks really promising I hope I will learn a bit more of what I miss to improve my vids. Had never heard of b-roll before but for a climbing video I think the amount was just fine.
    Really nice to see climbing videos in a website like yours. It is what I like to do and watch the most. You do a lot of pan and they are pretty smooth, Are they made just manually with your tripod?

    if you have time would you mind giving some advice on this one

    it is my fisrt video and I know that the sound is pretty poor (we had no mic, no lighting equipment) and I now know that all my settings (speed to frame rate ratio, iso, etc, was far to be ideal….)
    shot with Nikon 3100d 16-85 3.5/5.6 and a tripod and a go pro.
    I now have a 35mm f1.8 and ordered a very wide lens. do you think it is worth spending money in lighting, micro, and a steady cam? My aim is to keep doing that kind of video. If you are too busy to answer all this never mind .-)