By Rachel Jellinek published October 10, 2011

What Is B-Roll and Why Is It So Valuable?

B-roll is the extra footage captured to enrich the story you’re telling and to have greater flexibility when editing. Instead of featuring only talking heads on video, you want to have other images you can cut away to that will add dimension to your story. B-roll can include additional video footage, still photographs, animation or other graphic elements.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your film shoot:

  1. Depending on the type of video you are creating, evenly divide filming between recording interviews and capturing b-roll. In our experience, having plenty of good b-roll makes a video more powerful.
  2. Because the times for capturing b-roll are often fixed (a certain activity only happens at a certain time), start by identifying the must-have footage and inserting that into your filming schedule.
  3. Fill in the rest of the schedule with interviews and nice-to-have b-roll. If you discover, due to limited timing, that you need to sacrifice either a must-have piece of b-roll or a nice-to-have interview, we often recommend sacrificing the interview. The value of b-roll should not be underestimated, not only because it can strengthen the impact of your current video project, but also because it can serve as key footage for additional video assets created down the road.

Get an inside look at the value of b-roll in this video by Rachel Jellinek. Rachel presents two alternatives of a single video–one with b-roll and the second without:

Author: Rachel Jellinek

Rachel Jellinek is a partner at Reflection Films. Located just outside of Boston, Reflection Films is a video production company with experience in marketing, fundraising and training videos. Reflection Film clients choose video to share success stories, distinguish themselves from competitors, increase brand awareness in their target market and communicate in a more personal way with their audiences.

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