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Date: 09/29/10 20:22
Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: webmaster

I did not shoot these aerials, but the Ringling Brothers public relations department offered this B roll footage for your enjoyment.

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com

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Date: 09/29/10 20:50
Explaining the term "B roll..."
Author: Alco251

Railfans like to know proper "lingo." About once a week, I'm asked (by interns and PR professionals) where the term "B roll" comes from. So here's the explanation for the second time today.

In it's simplest form, "B roll" is the term for any non-interview footage used in a video news story.

Back in the days when TV news was the domain of 16mm sound-on-film, a CBS News producer named Don Hewitt wanted a quick and easy way to edit interviews together to avoid a jarring "jump cut."

His idea was to butt-edit the sound-on-film interviews together, and put them on one telecine camera--a projector shooting directly into a TV camera. This telecine machine, better known in the business as a "film chain" was designated by the director as the "A Chain" and the film on that system was known as the "A Roll."

To cover the jump cut, he edited a piece of film as a cutaway shot--often a reverse shot of the interviewer, or pictures of whatever the interviewee was talking about--and put an amount of black leader on this roll of film before and after the appropriate shot. This roll of 16mm film was carefully measured to coincide with the length of the interview. This piece of film was then put on a second telecine camera, designated the "B Chain" and the film on that reel was known as the "B Roll."

When it came time to run the interview, the director would roll both chains at the exact same time. Listening for cues and watching a clock, the director would take pictures and sound from the "A Chain" until a few seconds before the jump cut. He would then tell the technical director to "Take Video B" and viewers would continue to hear the audio of the interview (Chain A) but video from Chain B, thereby eliminating the jump cut. After a few seconds or whatever the script called for, the director would then call for "Video A" and the viewer would see the second part of the sound-on-film interview, all in sync.

As TV news programs matured, it became the universal practice to put all sound-on-film (interviews, on camera reporter standups, etc) on the "A Roll" and generic (non interview footage) on the "B Roll."

This practice continued into the mid 1980s until video tape replaced 16mm film as the medium of choice for field operations, and tape-to-tape editing made film chains and simultaneous "A and B Rolling" a thing of the past.

But the term continues today, and PR professionals often include "hand-out B-roll" in their packets of information distributed to the media.



Date: 09/29/10 21:08
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: cchan006

Thanks for sharing it here. Awesome 3-4 second clip from 0:46.



Date: 09/29/10 21:14
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: Harlock

Funny, I went through broadcasting school never knowing that story, but always assuming that it was B-Roll because it was like footage shot by a "B-unit" on a feature film production.

Good stuff. Love to see those rods'a'turnin'.

Mike Massee
Mojave, CA
Photography, Railroading and more..



Date: 09/30/10 04:30
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: cozephyr

Sweet video - thanks for posting! Perfect timing for early sunrise light and impressive train. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus train typically runs Salt Lake City, UT, to Denver, CO, during the night. Helicopter (Hughes model 369D) worked the train well.



Date: 09/30/10 06:32
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: cjvrr

Sweet light and steam....gave me goose bumps watching it!



Date: 09/30/10 08:48
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: wabash2800

It goes to show you that this was a win-win for UP and RBB&B. It provided PR for both entities. I would assume some of this special train coverage made the national news?



Date: 09/30/10 08:59
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: Electromotive

What kind of steam engine is that?



Date: 09/30/10 09:01
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: WP282

Wow, if that's "B"roll footage, what does the "A" roll look like?



Date: 09/30/10 09:12
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: RioGrandeFan

Electromotive Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What kind of steam engine is that?

Union Pacific 3985 is a 4-6-6-4 Challenger type. It is currently the world's largest operating steam locomotive.

Rio Grande Fan
Denver, CO



Date: 09/30/10 13:14
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: glennzky

Photographers on the ground are always looking for morning or evening light to take better photos. Seems like it would have been better to have higher sun for these aerial video shots. I found the big shadows behind the train distracting. Higher sun would have been better for the aerial angles.



Date: 09/30/10 14:27
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: Mgoldman

Looked like a clip from MS Train Simulator!

Thanks for posting!

/Mitch



Date: 09/30/10 15:09
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: scottp

Speaking of Don Hewitt, when he died I heard him receive credit for developing the "chyron" (graphics superimposed on the image, for example, "Len Hemperdinkal -- Asst. U.S. Attorney" to identify a talking head.) But Hewitt's most famous show, 60 Minutes, didn't use chyrons. The correspondent always spoke any such information.
(At least by the mid-1970s when I started watching.)



Date: 10/01/10 01:20
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: jackpot

Wonderful low-light--saturated colors and deep shadows. We all know how rare it is to get a UP steam operation in this kind of light--they tend to leave late in the mornings and arrive in early afternoon before the light gets nice again.

Sweet stuff!



Date: 10/01/10 17:33
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: steam290

this is a great video... wonderful. I really want to see that engine run, but it's so far away from where I live that it's hard to do it.

I couldn't get sound on the video... is it just me and my computer?



Date: 10/01/10 19:12
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: FBU32804

Thanks so much!!! I was hoping this would surface somehow. Thought it might have been YOU up there again :-)



Date: 10/05/10 12:22
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: rbx551985

FBU32804 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks so much!!! I was hoping this would surface
> somehow. Thought it might have been YOU up there
> again :-)

There was a TREMENDOUS amount of footage shot from the helicopter; I believe the show is preparing something special with that, but I'm not certain of what that may be, nor when it might be released. "Stay tuned..."

NOV. 2012 ADDITIONAL INFO ABOUT THIS:
SOME of the footage (a bunch, in fact) is now on YouTube, and while the film shows the Blue Unit's train behind the Challenger, the 2012 Red Unit DVD (available at the show at Concession stands) features about 5 minutes of footage shot from the helicopter during this Circus Train-run between Speer [west Cheyenne] WY and Greely CO. I know a lot more was filmed, as noted in my note above, as the helicopter swooped down during a portion of the jump about 20 minutes south of Speer and got nearly 5 minutes of close-up footage of me riding the lead vestibule of the show's Generator Car (at the center of the train), and I flashed the film-crew the familiar "Vulcan Salute" (from 'Star Trek') to which the cameraman gave me a thumbs up and they were following alongside the train close enough to see them smile and say THANK YOU for the on-camera gesture. I sure hope RBBB will release more of the footage soon, as I'd love to see how that part of their film turned out!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/16/12 09:27 by rbx551985.



Date: 11/16/12 09:22
Re: Ringling Brothers Aerials
Author: NKP779

My wife is a trained photojournalist and I always understood that "B Roll" stood for Background.



Date: 11/16/12 12:38
Re: Explaining the term "B roll..."
Author: JackWA7VNN

Don't stop B roll, it keeps going to C, D, etc. When putting together original footage for printing..

Jack T Charley
Clackamas, OR



Date: 11/16/12 16:39
Re: Explaining the term "B roll..."
Author: Trainphotog

Beautiful footage. Thanks for posting!



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