How to Shoot B-roll Footage with your Phone

October 29, 2019 New York, NY, USA


Need help shooting b-roll footage? Here are some easy tips to implement to make your b-roll footage pop only using your phone!

Shooting B-roll Footage with your Phone.
If you're filming videos for personal projects, social media, or professionally, using b-roll footage will enhance the look of your video. If you have an interest in videography and don't have the funds to go buy the camera of your dreams, don't worry! Everyone starts somewhere and if that means using your phone then use it. Don't underestimate the power of your phone, we are all attached to our phones if you want to admit it or not. No matter what kind of phone you have at the moment, if its capable of taking video footage you have no excuse to get started. You'd be surprised to see some of the most viewed and subscribed youtubers still use their phones to film their videos. 

I know many people who wanted to start making video projects. They went straight to buying an expensive camera and video editing software. A few weeks later, they lost interest and haven't touched their gear. I always recommend people who are interested in video projects to use what they have first, perfect their skills before investing in expensive gear. Many people like the idea of video projects but maybe don't know what really goes into planning, shooting, editing, and processing those projects from beginning to end.


Nowadays phones have high quality video footage comparable to a point and shoot camera. If you want to get started, use what's already available to you. Sometimes it's easier to pull out your phone and film something quickly as opposed to getting out your camera, put the right settings, and start shooting. You could've missed the shot you wanted to capture because of that or maybe you wanted to film something more discreetly, your phone isn't going to draw that much attention. I see many people make some mistakes when they do film with their phones. Here are some tips I highly recommend doing before, during, and after shooting video with your smartphone!

What is B-roll?
If you're new to the whole video shooting thing you maybe confused to what the term b-roll really means. There's A-roll which is your main footage. Let's say you're doing a documentary and you have videos of many interviews, that would be considered A-roll. Or to make it more simple, if you're doing a cooking tutorial on YouTube, the parts where your explaining the steps and directions would be considered the A-roll as well. B-roll is essentially secondary bonus footage. You would include b-roll footage to enhance what you're talking about in your A-roll footage. Going back to a documentary style video, your b-roll would actually be using video footage showing what the person being interviewed is talking about. For the cooking tutorial, your b-roll would be showing the food, seasoning the food, putting the food to the pan and then plating it. Showing visually what your trying to portray in the message of your video  is what b-roll footage is used for!

Video Settings.
I actually didn’t realize you can switch your video settings until maybe about a year or two ago. To change your video settings all you have to is click on settings app, scroll down until you find camera, click on that and go into record video. On my iPhone 7 these are the video settings that are available:

  • 720p HD at 30 fps
  • 1080p HD at 30 fps
  • 1080p HD at 60 fps
  • 4K at 30 fps
You can also change the setting for slow motion video. Here are the  slo-mo video settings:
  • 720p HD at 240 fps
  • 1080p HD at 120 fps

In the video below you will see all the b-roll footage I shot with my iPhone 7 was recorded on 1080p 30 frames per second. As of right now my phone doesn't have much storage so for the sake of making this video these were the settings that work for me. Just keep in mind if you plan to shoot in 4k, it will take up much more space on your phone because it's a larger high resolution file. 

Clean Your Camera Lens.
Before filming any kind of video, always clean the camera lens. Use a napkin, your shirt, or whatever is nearby to clean the camera lenses on your phone. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes I see people do when posting videos online. We are constantly touching our phones with our fingers and placing our phones on all sorts of surfaces. Our phones are bound to have finger prints or just be a tad bit dirty throughout the day. You can see the difference in quality when it’s not cleaned vs when the lens is cleaned. Here are some screen grabs from the video below where you can see the significant difference.

How to Shoot B-roll Footage with your Phone

Film Horizontally.
If you’re going to making videos for YouTube always film horizontally. Horizontal videos are preferred on the YouTube platform. I personally don't like watching videos on youtube that are filmed vertically, it just doesn't look appealing to me. If you're filming videos for other social media such as Instagram, vertical videos do much better on that platform. It all just depends on what platform you plan to share your videos. I know vertical video is sort of the new thing but to me horizontal videos are timeless. Just think about it, old home videos have always been filmed horizontally and big production movies are filmed horizontally as well. Also to note, horizontal video captures more of the setting, landscape, and surrounding areas than vertical video does.

Use all Video Features.
So now that I have discussed basics things out the way. I recommend using all your video features all on your phone to your advantage. So on the iPhone there is regular video recording, slow motion recording and a time lapse feature. Watch video below, to see each of these video settings in action. If your phone has different or more advance video settings use them to your advantage! Incorporating these kind of different video settings to your b-roll just gives it more dimension and it takes your footage to another level as opposed to just shooting one setting all throughout!

Film in Different Perspectives.
When you’re shooting your video don’t always shoot everything at eye level. Getting a variety of shots will bring different perspectives. A few examples to dynamic footage to capture is getting  down below, framing your shot in a unique way, getting shots from above, including movement/action shots, and etc. In the video below, you can see in action what I'm talking about. All of these factors just brings your footage together and makes it more everything more lively!

Use Phone Accessories.
There are many phone accessories to enhance your video production on your phone. If you don’t have the latest phone you can always get phone accessories on amazon that are really affordable that don't break the bank. There are so many phone accessories nowadays on the market and it doesn't matter what kind of phone you have, you will find something compatible for your phone. These are some accessories I recommend using to enhance your video production:



Phone lens clips are a fun way to change the way your footage looks. There are many types of lenses out there such as macro lenses, wide angle lenses, telephoto lenses, fisheye lenses, and etc. By incorporating lens clips to your phone camera, it will set your footage apart. It also gives your video a more advanced look as opposed to just shooting straight out of your phone without any lenses on. Click here to check this lens clip bundle out on Amazon.





Underwater cases are also a great phone accessory to have to diversify what your footage can look like. Whether you use it to film fun things in a pool, at beach, or while snorkeling. Underwater cases will give you endless of unique perspectives when filming b-roll without damaging your phone! Click here to check out these universal waterproof cases.





phone gimbal/stabilizer is such a great phone accessory to have if you want the cinematic look to your footage. What this accessory does is make your footage super smooth. If you're not too good with creating smooth shots by recording handheld than this tool just takes care of that seamlessly. I bought the Zhiyun brand a few years ago and highly recommend it. Phone gimbals are way more affordable than camera gimbals. Click here to check out this phone gimbal stabilizer.






You can also buy a microphone attachment for your phone to make the audio quality better. So if you’re doing more sit down talking videos, interviews, capturing sound effects,  and etc, using an attachment microphone will take your video to another level. Click here to check out this audio attachment.





Lighting is so important when it comes to videos. So if you're in a situation where you want to film but the lighting isn't the best, using a clip on light ring can help! There are many lighting accessories for your phone on amazon that you can browse to see which one will be the best fit for you. Click here to check out this lighting clip.



It's all about Editing.
Everything comes together in the editing process. I'm not going to get into all the technicalities of editing a video in this post. Editing is very subjective. Everyone has their own style and vision when it comes to the video you want to make. My editing style maybe not be your style and vice versa and that's okay. From adding text, color grading, adding effects, transitions, the music you choose to use and etc. It’s really up to you at the end of the day. There's no one way of editing a video and no one should tell you otherwise. If you don't have a editing style quite yet, you can always gather inspiration from other people you admire and videos that you gravitate towards. But just keep in mind the more unique your editing style is the more it sets you apart from others. I also wanted to mention that you don’t need to get the most expensive editing software to make your video look good. As I said mentioned before master your skills with what you have first before investing into programs that require a lot of money. The more you you practice the better you get, so just start!

Youtube Video.



Comment Below,
What are your go to b-roll tips?

69 comments

  1. I think it would be fun to tinker with my phone to learn more about video settings and shoot some test videos. Practice makes perfect, and the final product could end up on my YouTube channel

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hehe...I ain't got any. It's my first time hearing of the term "B-roll". It makes sense now, now that you have explained it this way. It's the sort of thing I see everyday in videos. It makes them more palatable. I will try it out on my phone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you learned something new through this post! I agree it makes videos more palatable.

      Delete
  3. Kristine Nicole AlessandraJanuary 8, 2020 at 5:53 AM

    My kids got me a new smartphone for my birthday. I am still trying to figure out how to use those hi-tech features. I will try to discover how to do these things you've discussed. Actually, this is the first time I've heard about A-roll and B-roll.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so sweet! Have fun learning the features on your phone.

      Delete
  4. Perfect! I am starting a youtube channel and definitely interested in this!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great information in this post - I learned some new stuff. I'm always being told that I don't know how to take pictures

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy to hear this! Practicing and learning new techniques always help improve your photography skills.

      Delete
  6. Cool tips for shooting B-Roll on the phone. Thanks for sharing. I am a professional videographer with years and years of experience, those tips are spot on. Especially filming horizontally! So many people film for Instagram these days, and it drives me nuts! lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Yes I know and then they use that vertical footage for other platforms and I'm like stop, it doesn't work here haha.

      Delete
  7. The most important tip probably is to film horizontally!! I hate it so much when people film vertical :D
    Thanks for the great tips and the explanation of A-roll and B-Roll (I knew about B-Roll but had no clue about A-Roll) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For sure, filming horizontal is always preferred! Glad you learned something new today :)

      Delete
  8. I totally agree about horizontal versus vertical videos. The difference is enormous actually. Vertical just doesn't look professional at all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. Horizontal videos are so more classic and better on the eye!

      Delete
  9. I'm not the best when it comes to photography, so I really appreciate this post! I need to practice all these new techniques. Good to know about B-Roll!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've always played around with videos, but never got very far because it was trial and error for me. These are great tips! I have a gimbal that I haven't practiced with (yet!) Thanks for re-inspiring me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so happy to re-inspire you! Gimbals are so fun to use and can get your creative juices flowing.

      Delete
  11. Oh wow that's really cool - I don't record many videos on my phone for some reason but I need to start!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's fun to capture video footage and look back on it!

      Delete
  12. I have once again started my YouTube channel, and posting my travel vlogs while shooting with my phone. This was so much of an help to me!

    ReplyDelete
  13. really enjoyed my reading of your sharing here, learnt the tips from your sharing here. gonna planning for a greater captures of my photos. cheers, siennylovesdrawing

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow these are great tools for B-roll. I want to get these clip on phone lenses too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The lens clip are so cool to get a fun effect with your video or photo!

      Delete
  15. You're so right about the lens. It gets dirty and we don't realize and then our video is messed up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's something I always make sure to clean before taking any video or photo!

      Delete
  16. Seriously, I did not know about "B roll" - Now I do! Thank you so much for explaining it so well.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I travel a ton and want to get into video. These are FAB tips. Ha - I totally need to keep my lens clean, too. Great advice!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am the one who doesn't possess any talent for taking photos or videos..but I should start somewhere....and this provides me some sort of spring board.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Practicing helps, the more and more you do something you get better at it!

      Delete
  19. I am trying to do more videos this year. Thank you for the helpful tips and links to some great products!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm trying to do more video content this year so this post is perfect for me!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've been looking for info on filming! Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  22. nice and worth reading article. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I just took a look at my phone. There are many more camera options than I realized. It could be fun to figure out what it can do. Thank you for the tips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many people don't realize you can change settings but theres many options to choose from!

      Delete
  24. These tips are so incredible and so helpful! Thank you for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks for this insights, I in the beginning I didn't even know what is b-roll and now I have hope of better pictures and video for my site

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone starts somewhere, good luck on your journey :)

      Delete
  26. I bought extra storage on my old phone and have normal on this phone. I bring the old one with me for video when I travel but I didn’t know there are different settings. I guess I need to go to a park and play with this to figure out the best plan. I love my light ring and have the extra lens but they don’t clip onto the camera right, they cut into the frame. Maybe I’m not using them right. Great tip to wipe the phones lens! It’s so tiny I often don’t think about it. What do you us for editing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't buy extra storage, I just put the things I want to save on a hard drive! Maybe taking off your phone case if you one will make the lenses clip better to your phone.

      Delete
  27. My husband is a videographer, and often, he prefers an iPhone to a DSLR when it comes to filming b-roll. He takes all my video footage for me, and he's taught me some of the best tips - which are most of these, along with using a particular app that gives you more freedom to edit!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I have always wanted to take good pictures from my phone. Didn’t know about these settings. Got a canon mirrorless. But can’t use it all the time of course.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I had to learn to start cleaning my phone lens the hard way. I used to always wonder why my phone pics were never clear until one day my husband wiped my lens. I was appalled lol great tips!

    ReplyDelete
  30. argh this is perfectly helpful for me as I film youtube videos on my phone!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I can never have enough b-roll footage and the great thing is that you can always use it in other videos too!

    ReplyDelete
  32. This is a very useful post. Some of us have high-quality expensive phones and we don't know how to maximize its use.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I have never heard about B-roll before. Can't wait to try this out. Thank you for the guide.

    ReplyDelete
  34. These are great tips! I always struggle with the lighting.. I am thinking about getting one of the light rings - they seem to work really well!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Wow! I haven't heard about B-roll before. It looks like a great video tool! Good job! I'll use it soon.

    ReplyDelete
  36. This is interesting, I've not used the video on my phone much. Must check out soon.

    ReplyDelete
  37. This is a super helpful post! B-roll is my favorite part of YouTube videos, mine included. I usually film everything with my tri-pod at home, but I can use these tips for my phone.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love photography and have shot my share of videos without much thought to what works. I will bookmark this post for future reference.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Nice tips..! The accessories that you've mentioned sounds so useful. And also I could relate to what you'd said here that you find horizontally shoot video more appealing.

    ReplyDelete
  40. When you take a gander at the expense of purchasing another cell phone out of agreement, this may cost you more than $500 dollars.Display reparatur

    ReplyDelete