This last week and a half has been one whirlwind of a pre-departure class session. I have learned SO much about the history of the Catholic Church, the Final Cut Pro video editing program, how to conduct and film a successful interview, how to approach a profile writing assignment, and how to relate all of these things to a completely new culture that we are about to immerse ourselves in. Additionally, I have learned a lot about the eight other students and three faculty members just as excited about this experience as I am. It is amazing to see how quickly a group of strangers can come together and begin to build a community around a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we are all enthusiastic about.
It is hard for me to pinpoint just ONE thing I have learned so far as being the most important. I feel like because everything we have discussed is so new to me, it is all important. But there is one aspect of the class that has come up in conversation everyday, and I think it really can be applied to any situation life throws at you.
B-roll. I had absolutely no idea what this term meant for like, the first two days of class. But now that I do know what it means, I understand just how pivotal it will be to the editing process of this documentary. B-roll refers to the additional footage you shoot aside from the person you interview. It is what we can potentially intersperse into the documentary when necessary. From what I have seen so far, I think B-roll adds an exciting dimension to the interview process, and it really brings to life the stories told in a way that just staring at the person on camera does not. Tim Guthrie, our amazingly talented camera/editing/computer person told us to ALWAYS be thinking about what we can shoot for B-roll. He told us to keep our eyes and ears open to what the interviewee is telling us during the interview, and then to figure out how we can supplement their stories with such additional footage.
Not only is this good advice for film making, but also for life in general. Over the past few days, I find myself really listening to the sounds around me and where they are coming from, or truly watching and listening to the people I talk with more actively. Thinking about B-roll is helping me to take a minute from my fast-paced life to stop and smell the flowers; because life—as cliché as it sounds—is not always about the destination, but about the journey we take to get there. And the journey, just like B-roll, should include everything we encounter along the way that can potentially enliven our experiences and help us make the most out of what we’ve got.
Now that I finally understand what B-roll is, I like it.