OK so what are some good examples of B-Roll footage?

12th October 2020

As we’ve already mentioned in our previous article, B-roll is powerful footage that can elevate your story and keep your audience engaged. When you find the right combination of face-to-camera shots, voice overlay and visuals in your story – you can achieve some magical results.

What exactly is B-Roll?

B-Roll footage, Broll or B roll is any supplemental video footage that is considered to be secondary to your primary footage. B-roll can be gathered with a separate unit, acquired from stock footage, or obtained from any source other than your principal photography. B-Roll footage will take your videos to a whole new level of sophistication. 

Where/how you source your B-Roll:

  • May be shot by second unit crews.
  • May be pulled from stock footage libraries.
  • May not require sound.
  • Provides supporting imagery and cutaway shots.
  • Can also be used for establishing shots.

Projects such as Reality TV rely on B-roll footage for transitions, establishing shots, and covering gaps in the edit. However, if it can work for TV it can certainly work for you. So let’s take a look at how you can shoot, edit and create your own videos with some epic B-Roll.

B-Roll footage can be done well and on a budget

The cool thing about B-Roll is that you can use the same piece of B-roll footage cut with upbeat, ominous, intense, or inspirational music and each time viewers will get a different feeling about the video on screen. 

You can amplify this feeling through visual means when you know the final purpose of your footage, and you can alter your shot specifications to capture B-roll that supports your intended use with greater precision. Once you’ve scripted out your video, you’re ready to dive into just how you can achieve great B-Roll without breaking the bank.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when taking your camera out:

Who

Seldom will B-roll footage feature human subjects that aren’t extras, or ‘civilians’ going about their day. But it’s smart to identify beforehand what you may need — like a clip of a festival dancer at a carnival you’re promoting.

What

Often B-roll will be of landmarks, exteriors, landscapes, animals, machinery, or really anything that helps build a more complete picture. Identify what you might need to make your story clear or give your video some zest.
Let’s say you have a script with a line of dialogue that reads “Let’s reach sky-high engagement.” You might video something skyrocketing into the blue sky above, you’ll then slide this footage into your edit right after this line is read.

Remember to make your footage work for your story, play with your ideas and experiment with different angles. You can shoot your B-roll at eye-level, in real-time, and on a wide-angle lens to catch a little sun flare, and add a subtle dolly movement.

Or maybe for something more dramatic you shoot this B-roll shot at a low angle and dolly in quickly to emphasize the importance of your hero feature. With some simple planning and consideration, you can visually communicate different meanings with the same subject.

The best advice we have is to get yourself a high capacity SD-card so you can shoot and re-shoot and shoot some more. The delete button is your friend, you don’t have to use everything you shoot but it’s better to have the option when the time comes to edit.

Metigy’s first real attempt at some B-Roll footage

We recently used extensive B-roll footage for the introduction of our web series Small Business over a Small Coffee

Check out the great results below:

Peter McKinnon shares some great examples from his B-Roll challenge to content creators

In the prior article, I included a really useful video by Peter McKinnon, whose practical explanations, I really love. Peter ran a bit of a challenge with his vlog followers to submit their best B-Roll. Then he put together a great review to share it. You should check this out as it has some great examples of content creators just making the most out of their surroundings to cut some really simple but effective B-Roll. Which is exactly what most of us making video content need to do. Some inspiring ideas to get you thinking about your own approach to video content creation.

Now you know what good B-Roll looks like

Hopefully, all these examples have inspired you to take your video content production to the next level. It is not as hard as you might think to go form amateur video producer to a pretty capable creator that will inspire and excite with a new version of your corporate stories. Have you created any videos for your small business? Did you use B-roll footage? Post the link to your video in the comments below, we’d love to see it!

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