Every industry has technical terms. And you may have heard the term “b-roll” used by PR types. But what exactly is b-roll? And why might it be important to have b-roll footage ready to use?
We’ll spare you the history lesson of where the term comes from but give you the contemporary definition: b-roll is supplemental video footage. It can be used for cutaway shots that help tell a visual story. It can be footage of your company, event or organization that can be used for press and news footage. It’s also used in documentaries and films. You see it when a video cuts to a supporting shot while a person is describing something, or when an editor cuts out an anecdote or run-on sentence and replaces it with a succinct visual that tells the story more quickly.
Having high quality b-roll packages can be helpful if you need ready-to-use footage for press coverage or events. If you anticipate TV news coverage, you may want to have a b-roll package ready. There is less disruption to your office by a TV camera crew, the basic footage is available any time you need it and producing your own b-roll gives you the ability to control the quality of the video.
B-roll packages are usually 5-10 minutes long and should include a variety of shots pertinent to your company, event or organization:
- key people
- the location (both inside and out)
- a variety of close and far shots
- any important signage
- key activities
Most footage can be delivered electronically, so it’s easily accessible to anyone who may request it. It can become part of your online newsroom and press coverage to share openly with your followers. As an example, check out Facebook’s videos and b-roll in their online newsroom. Or check out a favorite b-roll clip we shot to promote Hartford Stage‘s GEE’S BEND.