Video Answers. Episode 20.

As with any industry, the film, video and television production world has its own unique terms. “B-roll” is one of those. It’s a term that is used often and one you should know.
What is B-roll?
That’s the question we’ll answer in episode 20 of Video Answers.

B-Roll is the term used to designate extra cutaway shots or generic footage the editor uses to make your story more visually engaging.

How and editor uses B-roll

You can think of the main subject matter of a video, say an interview, as the A-roll. So if, in my interview, I’m talking about working at my desk, that’s the main subject or the A-roll. It’s called the A-roll, because in editing software the A-roll is always what you start with and it’s always on the bottom of the timeline.

Now, if we add supplemental footage of me working at my desk that’s called B-roll because it secondary to and goes over the A-roll.

Better for the editor

Setting all of that aside, B-roll gives the editor greater flexibility.
B-roll has four purposes:

    1. It enhances the story
    2. It adds context to the scene
    3. It hides un-wanted content [Like those pesky jump cuts!]
    4. It adds interest to static shots

When it comes to B-roll, this is all you need to know: B-roll makes your video much better.
That’s what B-roll is and what it does for your video.

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