B-Roll For Post Production | San Francisco
So, your client wants the edit to have more energy. What’s an editor to do? You’ve painstakingly selected all of the best takes, added in your best music track, worked to make the pacing awesome, cut it down to the essential messaging, but the client’s still wanting more. The answer is often b-roll.
B-roll is an antiquated term from the linear editing days. A-roll was the footage acquired of the actual subject matter. Then you cut in your b-roll to support the story.
And that’s exactly what b-roll is meant to serve – supporting the a-roll story.
Where to begin? First take out a subscription with Getty Images, Istock Photo (owned by the same parent company). Pricing packages vary. But you want “royalty free” content, so that you avoid having to repay the owner beyond the first licensing fee.
Next, consider the story and begin to put together a light-box of possible clips for your specific edit and theme. Then download the watermarked, low res, free versions of the clips you like, edit them into the video and share them with the client. That way, if your b-roll selects are rejected, you’ve lost nothing but some time.
Once your edit is approved, license the clips and download the high-res, non-watermarked versions for a final.
B-roll refers to supplemental or secondary footage that is intercut with the main footage (A-roll) to provide context, illustrate points, or enhance the overall visual storytelling in a video production. B-roll often includes cutaway shots, close-ups, and additional angles that complement the primary narrative.
How to Shoot Good B-Roll:
Plan and Storyboard:
Before the shoot, plan the shots you’ll need for B-roll. Consider the key points of the narrative that can be visually reinforced or explained through supplementary footage.
Capture Varied Shots:
Diversify your shots by capturing different angles, perspectives, and compositions. This includes wide shots to establish context, medium shots for detail, and close-ups for emphasis.
Focus on Details:
Capture details that might be overlooked in the main footage. This can include hands at work, facial expressions, product features, or any element that adds depth to the story.
Create Seamless Editorial Transitions
Pay attention to the flow of the video. Shoot B-roll in a way that allows for seamless transitions between the main footage and supplementary shots. This ensures a natural and engaging viewing experience.
Introduce dynamic elements through camera movements. This can include pans, tilts, tracking shots, or any movement that adds visual interest to the B-roll.
Pay attention to lighting consistency. Match the lighting conditions of the B-roll shots with the A-roll to avoid jarring transitions.
Capture Authentic Moments:
Look for candid and authentic moments that add a human touch to the narrative. Genuine reactions and interactions contribute to the overall storytelling.
Compose B-roll shots thoughtfully. Apply principles of composition such as the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing to create visually appealing footage.
Cover Editing Points
Shoot B-roll that covers potential editing points in the main footage. This allows for smoother transitions and helps in seamlessly cutting between shots during the editing process.
Using B-Roll in Post-Production Editorial:
Integrate B-roll to enhance the storytelling. Use it to emphasize key points, illustrate concepts, or provide additional context that may not be fully conveyed in the A-roll.
Edit B-roll seamlessly into the main footage to create smooth transitions. Use techniques such as match cuts, L-cuts, or J-cuts to maintain continuity.
Support Voiceovers or Interviews:
B-roll can be especially useful when supporting voiceovers or interviews. Use relevant footage to visually complement the spoken narrative.
Maintain Visual Interest:
Use B-roll strategically to maintain visual interest throughout the video. It prevents monotony and engages the audience by offering a variety of visuals.
Establish Setting and Mood:
B-roll is instrumental in establishing the setting and mood of a video. Use it to showcase the environment, culture, or atmosphere related to the narrative.
Cover Cuts and Edits:
Use B-roll to cover cuts and edits in the main footage. This helps in smoothing out any disruptions in the visual flow, creating a polished final product.
Create Visual Transitions:
Utilize B-roll to create visual transitions between scenes or ideas. This can be particularly effective in conveying a sense of time passing or a change in focus.
Add Contextual Information:
B-roll can provide contextual information or statistics visually. Use infographics, charts, or relevant footage to support data-driven points in the narrative.
Highlight Products or Processes:
For corporate or promotional videos, B-roll is crucial for highlighting products, manufacturing processes, or any visual elements that showcase the brand.
Incorporate in Montages:
B-roll is often integral to montage sequences. Use it to create dynamic montages that encapsulate themes, emotions, or a series of events.
In summary, B-roll is a powerful tool in video production that enhances storytelling, provides visual variety, and contributes to the overall impact of the video. By shooting diverse and high-quality B-roll and incorporating it strategically during post-production, you can elevate the visual appeal and narrative depth of your videos.