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How B-roll Footage Can Be Used to Spice Up Your Interviews & Videos

Every interview or video has a point of focus, whether it is a political leader being interviewed for a politics bulletin, or a company trying to raise awareness about their brand and products.

However, keeping the audience glued to that one subject for the entirety of a video can be boring and unengaging. Your video needs to be dynamic and engaging for it to effectively pass the message to the viewers. There is a superb way to make sure this happens; great B-roll footage.

What Is B-roll Footage?

B-roll footage is any supplemental footage that complements the main footage in a video which is also known as A-roll footage.

B-roll footage is any supplemental footage that complements the main footage in a video which is also known as A-roll footage.

In a political interview, for instance, the A-roll footage is the interview itself where the interviewer engages with the guest political leader. The B-roll footage is any other shot other than the interview that is featured as the interview proceeds. This can be a video of protestors in the country or parliament proceedings.

Sometimes, all the footage in a video may be considered B-roll if the shots have equal importance across the video. A video can also have A-roll footage without any B-roll footage.

However, superb video production utilizes both types of footage to create content that captures the audience and keeps them interested throughout the full length of the production.

If you’re looking to spruce up your interviews and videos, here are some simple yet effective ways that you can use B-roll footage to create better productions.

If you are still having trouble coming up with a good strategy for your videos, check out this guide on how to create a successful video campaign to get a full picture of the process involved in video production.

1. Keep It Relevant

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It is a bad idea to use B-roll footage that is completely unrelated to your main content.

B-roll footages must always be related to the main idea of the interview or video. You do not want to be interviewing a veterinary surgeon only to include a video of humans in a hospital.

B-roll footages must always be related to the main idea of the interview or video.

If the secondary footage is not clear at a glance, it will just be a distraction to the audience.

When you begin shooting the B-roll footage, think about what the video is all about. If it has a script, go through it and align your shots with the script.

After completely understanding the purpose of the video, try to create a scene that underpins the message with various shots that bring the topic home and full-circle.

Then, when shooting your B-roll footage, make sure it adds to the nuances of your production, rather than distracting the audience from the main purpose of the video.

Keep it extremely relevant and allow the footage to bolster the original purpose of your video, instead of taking away from it.

This video was created for the Government of Alberta to highlight the different aspects of the province and what makes Alberta unique and special.

We made sure our footage complemented the dialogue of each subject and gives their words life and meaning to the viewer. These people love their communities and province, so we used our B-roll footage to enhance their messages and drive it home for the viewer.

2. Proper Editing Techniques

The editing process can be very definitive of the quality and impact of your video or interview. As you plan your video and B-roll, consider the final layout of the production.

Think deeply about where you want the edits to be located, and for how long they should run.

For instance, if you are interviewing a professor at a college or university, open with shots of the school, his classroom, and his students. Continually bring back shots of this footage throughout the interview to boost his points and subject matter.

If you want titles displayed at the bottom of the screen when your subject is introducing themselves, plan these out before the editing process so you can streamline the entire creation of your video.

If your B-roll footage is supposed to follow a certain order, say from question to question, make sure the content is laid out accordingly and planned properly.

You can do this by storyboarding your video beforehand.

Your transitions should make the video seamless with quick and flawless effects that add to the overall experience of your production.

If some of the footage does not cater to the main purpose of your project, it is okay to cut it out or find another purpose for it. Get creative and add some additional flare where you can.

It’s extremely important to find some great background music that will add that extra ‘flavor’ to your production.

3. Show, Don’t Narrate

Your A-roll footage will take on the narrative role within your production. Compliment it with a demonstration.

Use illustrative B-roll shots to adequately show what is being discussed in the interview or video.

This makes it easier for viewers to follow through and understand what the interviewee is saying.

For example, a brand awareness video for an interior design company should have some great footage of them putting together an amazing space in the background and show the different nuances of their process.

Adding such footage to your video also breaks the monotony of it instead of watching one person explain their process for the length of the video, you get to see their words in action which is much more exciting to watch and keeps the viewer interested.

4. Take A Variety of Shots

It is important to ensure that you have a variety of shots to more strongly bring out the message that the B-roll is trying to put across.

Variety helps to give a fuller picture of what the interview or video is showing. Your aim should be to give the viewer a full picture of the message you are trying to convey.

When you will be editing, you will have a variety of B-roll shots to play around with. If you carefully select them, you will be able to create an amazing video with a good storyline.

For example, this video that was produced for Pinnacle Digest, has shots taken from across Canada to demonstrate their campaign to provide boots-on-the-ground knowledge of Canadian companies throughout their growth-cycle from coast to coast.

5. The Timing of the Shots

The length of your B-roll shots may vary depending on the purpose and nature of your video. A promotional video of less than one minute, for instance, will have very short B-roll shots.

These must be clear, concise, and spew out relevance in a second. A longer video aimed at demonstrating a certain process to the viewers can have longer B-roll shots of between 10-30 seconds.

Some footage can exceed this time, so long as they are engaging, and shift from one shot to another, showing different angles.

As you are shooting the B-roll footage, make sure the raw footage exceeds the target length of time for the final video. This will come in handy during the editing process.

When we shot this video for Sangudo Custom Meat Packers, our B-roll footage was used to enhance the special points of what makes the family-run company unique and special to their community.

We made sure to highlight those areas using the footage we shot over our stay at their facilities and timed them to the script to make sure it flowed together seamlessly.


Final Thought

B-roll footage can give your video production new life and create a sense of professionalism and interest that can’t be done with just A-roll content.

It is engaging, and in most cases exciting to the audience. If well-edited, it can add dynamism and relevance to your content in such a manner that no other technique can.

To spice up your video, keep the B-roll shot relevant to the video’s content by making sure it is inherently related to your A-roll footage.

Stick to the script and support the purpose of the video. Edit your video in such a way that your B-roll footage blends seamlessly with the main footage.

Make sure it all flows well, and that the transitions are concise and seamless.

With these tips and great B-roll examples, your interviews will be quite informative, interesting and will attract an audience that is motivated to watch to the end.

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