Before talking about b-roll considerations, let’s chat about what it is first. According to Wikipedia, b-roll is the supplemental or alternate footage intercut with the main shot in an interview or documentary.
At 522, we use b-roll quite a bit within corporate videos, short documentaries, testimonials and marketing videos. B-roll helps support the story, adds another dimension to the visuals and provides overall variety to the video. Therefore, it is just as important to plan for supplemental footage as it is to coordinate the main interview content.
In order to ensure your next video grabs the audience’s attention with captivating b-roll, let’s explore some of the common mistakes with b-roll and understand the solutions to those challenges.
Common mistakes when capturing b-roll
- Not having a shot list
- Not scouting locations
- Lack of subjects or activity in b-roll
- Waiting until the last-minute to shoot b-roll
- Lack of a schedule or plan for obtaining shots
Ok, so now that we’ve uncovered some of the mistakes made when considering b-roll for a video, let’s unveil a checklist to use. The following is a list of items to consider when setting out to include b-roll within a video production.
- Determine how b-roll will help tell your story (refer to the treatment or concept document)
- Reference a moodboard to start brainstorming
- Establish a shot list for b-roll
- Identify locations (including options) for capturing b-roll
- Determine how to get access to the locations (check to see if permits or special permissions are needed)
- Identify a location representative for each spot that involves complex filming
- Identify the equipment needed for the shoot (include information on any special accessories such as lenses, gear, etc.)
- Develop a production schedule to capture the desired shots
- Identify the need for any props or talent
Ultimately, when planning a shoot with b-roll these tips should spare you time and help you get much more meaningful images. You shouldn’t under estimate how much this can add to your story.