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What is B-Roll?

editmate episode 2

If you’re just starting out on your video-creating journey, you may be asking yourself: what is b-roll? Today, we’ll talk about what exactly b-roll is, why it’s an important part of any video, provide tips for filming it and share helpful video examples to help illustrate what b-roll can look like. 

In Episode 2 of our own video series, Film Director Leef Parks shares what B-Roll is, the history behind it, and why it’s important. Watch this for a quick lesson in b-roll:



So, What is B-Roll?

B-roll is the extra footage that’s used to enrich the story you’re telling and provide greater flexibility during the video editing process.

Having shots of your environment makes a finished piece all the more interesting and having extra “safety” footage is super important for a great edit.

For example, there may be moments in an interview piece that works for audio but not video (like when an interviewee scratches their nose), and b-roll can help save a piece by covering up these edits.

It’s fun to get creative with b-roll and while it may not be your first priority on a shoot, it’s absolutely vital to producing an engaging video.


Tips for Shooting B-Roll

1. Variety is key

Shoot wide shots, close-ups, low angles, time-lapses, bird’s eye view… as many interesting shots as possible


2. Move around!

Don’t just stick with static shots… panning shots will help the pace of your project.


3. Capture the details

Close-up shots of relevant objects can illustrate important details in an environment or situation that can help you tell the story.


4. If you’re shooting an interview, be sure to shoot b-roll of the person you are interviewing

Alternating from the talking-head interview to footage of the person in their environment not only makes things more visually interesting but can help connect your audience with your subject further.


5. Shoot entrances and exits of the location you’re shooting

This can help add context to a video. If you’re following a subject, let them enter and exit the frame without following them with the camera.


6. Get b-roll on location AFTER an interview too

You’ll know what topics are covered in the interview and can be more strategic in capturing relevant footage. For example, if a man mentions his partner and kids — be sure to get shots of his family or get footage of their family photos.


7. More is always better

It’s always better to have way too much than not enough b-roll.


To watch examples of b-roll variety, check out this beautiful b-roll video by Cameron Danzey:



Now, watch videos created by EditMate customers to see if you can spot the b-roll featured:

T&G captured footage of their event in Berlin, celebrating their 120th Anniversary. 


The World Masters Games collected user-generated videos to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the athletes.


EditMate helps businesses all over the world create authentic videos featuring their real community.

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