PNN B-Roll Challenge Encourages Students to Expand Their Technical Boundaries


Courtesy of Angela Kim

Senior and executive producer Angela Kim said that in order to capture crisp natural sounds in her footage, she placed the mic near the subject in action. In this shot, she filmed her mother chopping carrots, which will be an ingredient in making kimbap, a traditional Korean seaweed wrap.

PNN is most well-known for its presence on set, producing informational videos for the student body. Beyond their usual lights, camera and action, crewmates also engage in instructional opportunities such as the B-roll challenge to further expand their craft.

Supplementary shots of a teacher doing her tasks, watching her monitor or talking to a student are all examples of B-roll supporting the main footage of an interview with a teacher, which is called an A-roll. B-roll is essential in adding more depth to a story and enhancing a video, according to broadcast director and senior Peter Pan. 

In the challenge, members of PNN filmed footage for three different B-rolls with at least six or seven shots each, all of which captured natural sound. The purpose of the assignment was to improve students’ abilities to incorporate rich, natural sound from the filmed shot itself, without artificial sound effects. 

Pan won second place in the challenge and says that it was a good refresher for him to get back into working with a camera, as this year, his main role is mainly directing. For the challenge, he filmed at a mechanic’s shop where his car was being serviced and a park where his friend learned to fly a drone.

Courtesy of Peter Pan

“My idea for filming at an auto shop came from my interest in the mechanics of cars and the abundance of natural sounds that it provides,” Pan said. “To be honest, the entire class exceeded my expectations, but if I had to name a few, it would be Madison E, Skye Lee because they are usually on camera instead of being behind.”

Pan also said he believes the challenge highlighted the unexpected cinematography talents of new members, which will give the team insight into forming new segment teams next semester. 

Senior and executive producer Angela Kim placed first in the challenge, receiving a $10 gift card to Chick-fil-A as a prize from visual and performing arts teacher Tina Murphy. Kim’s shots had a theme of heritage, as she included footage of her sister drawing a traditional Korean flower and her mother making Korean foods such as kimbap and pork cutlets.

Courtesy of Angela Kim

“Natural sounds are so important to adding a different dimension to what your shots look like because it feels like without sound, it feels like you are losing a sense,” Kim said. “If you add [sound], it feels a bit more natural and more human. Another good takeaway that I got was that I could shoot really beautiful shots even without a good camera. I probably shot two of those shots with my cheap DSLR camera. I didn’t even use the school cameras, so I learned that you can create something beautiful even without spending a lot of money on equipment.”