B-roll Is to Your Video What Kelly and Michelle Are to Beyonce

B-roll footage is key in producing videos that tell a compelling story. Think of it as the supporting actor in a movie, or the Kelly and Michelle to Beyonce. It is the extra footage that is shot to provide context and complement the main message, while keeping the story moving forward so the audience doesn’t lose interest. It is also an effective way to cover up any mistakes such as a stammer or pause during the main interview.

But even though b-roll footage is meant to be “extra” or supporting footage, that doesn’t mean it’s comprised of random shots. On the contrary, quality b-roll content is as carefully planned and executed as the primary footage. Here are a few tips for capturing and creating b-roll footage that will take your video from basic to binge-worthy.

Capture as Much as You Can

How much b-roll do you actually need? A good rule of thumb is to shoot 2-3 times more footage than the length of the interview. For example, if the on-screen interview will last one minute, plan to shoot up to two to three minutes of b-roll to ensure that you have plenty of options you can cut to while the subject is speaking in order to break things up.

Focus on the Details

Look for relevant objects, and environmental shots to help tell the story. If the subject mentions a particular product, area of the building, or employee, you need footage of it. In a nutshell—if they say it, you show it!

Get Moving

Try and avoid using static shots throughout the entire video. Break off from the tri-pod and add some interest by using a slider or a gimbal. These accessories allow you to capture steady movement without any shakiness.

Know Your Angle

Variety is the spice of life—and videos! Keep things interesting by using a variety of different angles such as a close-up, wide shot, or bird’s eye throughout the finished product.

Be Prepared Ahead of Time

When shooting corporate videos, every minute counts. You may have an hour to shoot and an additional hour to get any b-roll footage you need. That’s why it is important to prepare yourself ahead of time. Familiarize yourself with the brand guidelines, and adhere to those throughout the planning stage. Send e-mails to the people who will be interviewed to determine topics and questions. Create a shot list that includes things like:

    • Location
    • Entrances and exits
    • Actions
    • Angle of shots
    • Time allotted for each shot

Avoid waiting until the last minute to handle these details. You should always have a basic plan in place with room for flexibility once the shoot is underway.

Consider Your Edits

As you are planning your b-roll content, consider how you want the shots laid out, and where you want the edits to be. For example, you might open with establishing shots of the location or your subject hard at work before cutting to a person speaking. Do you want music in the background? Titles listed under the people being featured? Having a general idea of where your edits will appear can save a lot of time when it comes to determining what shots you want to capture.

When done correctly, b-roll can create a company perception that goes beyond what the speaker or speakers are saying. It can provide background and insight into a company’s culture in a way that few other mediums can. If we can help you capture what you need to create compelling content, let us know.

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