B Roll Tips for Corporate Video Production

Sep 24, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Ambient Skies Productions Blog

Posted by Trenton Massey


What is B-Roll footage? 

It's the insert footage that enhances a video and fills in the empty spaces to keep a video presentation engaging for the viewer. With B-Roll, you visually explain things or tell a story. It connects the dots and implements important facts needed for the audience to fully understand what they're viewing. B-Roll is basically any filament footage not captured while shooting principal photography on any given production.   

 There are a couple ways to acquire B-Roll footage for corporate video production.

  • The first and simple way of doing this is to search online through a number of stock sites that sell B-Roll footage. Sites like Nimia, Pond 5, Shutterstock, and many more provide B-Roll footage for a licensing fee. This is definitely a good option if you are in a jam or do not have the money to shoot any further footage. Keep in mind that you will lose a great deal of control over the look of your project by using stock B- Roll from another production house. In a nutshell, this option keeps you some what limited in your creative control. If you do come across quality B-Roll, chances are the licensing will be very costly because of yearly rights to usage fees. 


  • The second and most effective way of acquiring B-Roll footage is to get with your production team and shoot the footage yourselves. This would definitely be the preferred method for corporate video production. Schedule to shoot on days in between or after you have wrapped principal photography. It is recommended that you schedule these days during the initial pre-production phase of a project to avoid misunderstandings and surprise invoices.

Benefits to shooting your own B-Roll

When you opt to shoot your own B-Roll, you have the ability to match continuity with the principal photography and give it a very professional look. You have full control to satisfy your camera preference, resolution, and stabilization. There are endless options to choose from when it comes to gear and technique and they're all at your disposal when you and your team execute the shoot yourselves. You also have full control over blocking, wardrobe, makeup, props, location, etc. The ability to manipulate the content further to meet the needs of the client is for sure an added benefit.


One last tip -- Treat the B Roll footage like principal photography and do not rush through it. It's just as important/effective and in many cases can make or brake a project.