What is B-roll footage in film and TV? What is the difference between A-Roll and B-Roll? How to Shot B-Roll? If you want to find the answers to the above questions, this post is actually what you need. Besides, you can also know what can you do with B-Roll.

When shooting a video (whether it’s for a documentary, news, a feature film, or a TV), it is always careful with extra shots that you can use in multiple ways. Combine B-roll video footage to turn your video from amateur to professional with just a few extra scenes and transitions. Now, let’s get a deeper understanding of B-roll.


What Is a B-roll?

What is B-roll? B roll footage, Broll or B roll is any supplementary video that is considered secondary to your primary footage. It can be collected in a separate unit, obtained from the library or any source other than the main photographic work.

B-roll might be shot by second unit crews and be pulled from stock footage libraries. Maybe it does not require sound and it can support imagery and cutaway shots. It can also be used for establishing shots.

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Types of B-roll

The following are the types of B-roll footage.

  • Dramatic reenactments
  • Pick-up shots
  • Stock footage
  • Atmospheric shots of location or inanimate objects
  • Archival imagery
  • Undirected footage of subject/people
  • Establishing shots

A-roll VS B-roll

Now, let’s turn to the A-roll VS B-roll part. A-roll is the main shot you want to focus on. A-roll shows the scene’s main theme, while B-roll shots are supplementary shots, showing everything else. A story with just an A-roll footage may make you feel unbalanced. That’s also why it’s important to take a B-roll.

What Can B-roll Be Used to?

What can B-roll be used to or what can you do with B-roll? The details are as follows:

1. It can be used to set the tone.

2. It provides flexibility in the editing process.

3. It can be used to establish characters or settings.

4. It can be used to break up the monotony.

5. It can be used to cover up gaps or errors.

How to Shot B-roll?

It’s important to take the time to capture enough B-roll when planning your film and making a pre-production schedule. The last thing you want to do is go into the editing and post-production process. And you should realize that your interview subject or the person in charge of the conversation is describing what should be displayed visually on the screen.

Here are the four steps to shot the B-roll footage.

Make a Plan in Advance

First, you need to think about your main material and build around it. Take an example, if you want to interview an object in his home, you need to plan to capture the entrance and exit shots of the space as well as the surrounding shots and shots. You should make sure you can tell the whole story by creating a list of the “must-haves” and the “nice-to-haves”.

Scout Locations

Maybe you may have only a few minutes to get quality B-roll footage, thus, you should search for locations in advance to plan exactly how to get the required alternative material.

You will also learn what special equipment may be needed, especially in dark or confined spaces. At last, you will be ready to take the most attractive and colorful photos of the day, which will make your videos more attractive. Maybe, you are interested in this post – Top 10 Photo Editors Make Your Pictures More Beautiful.

Find Different Angles

Next, you need to find different angles, that is to say, you need to gather various shots of planning the same thing without a subject.

Gather Enough Shoots

Finally, you need to gather enough shoots. During the filming process, you plan to collect an “image library” that does not necessarily strictly belong to your planned shooting list. Some directors schedule a day or more of shots that can be used in multiple ways in editing.

Also see: The Best Royalty Free Stock Video Footage Websites

The End

It’s time to make a conclusion. From this post, you can know what B-roll is and what the difference between it and A-roll is. Besides, you can learn what you can do with it and get the methods to shot it. I believe that this post is helpful to you.

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