The Secret Benefit of Shooting Incredible B-Roll

April 7th, 2021 Tribe Pictures

B-roll footage is often the saving grace of a bad video or the extra oomph to dress up a good one. The extra shots you collect on set and from the archives serve many purposes for your company’s film, and should never be overlooked.

Ease your subject’s nerves

When time allows, I like to shoot b-roll with my subject before we shoot any speaking parts. This establishes on-camera trust before we ever step on set. This way, my video subject can become familiar with the filming process and the crew without the pressure of being “on.” It can also save my subject’s breath. Let the b-roll set the scene and fill in the details. That way, your subject can focus on telling only the most essential parts of the story.

Bring your story to life

Some stories really come to life when the b-roll is added in. When Tribe was choosing subjects for a video series for pharmaceutical company Actavis, we came across many illuminating employee stories. Keith Maynard’s personal journey inspired us. Keith gets emotional when telling us about losing loved ones to leukemia, and how he raised money for cancer research by walking from one English coast to the other. The scenic shots of Keith trekking across the countryside tell their own story beneath his narration. The b-roll brings his world into view.

Great b-roll yields a great performance

As a director, I try to find ways to make the b-roll feel natural. Sometimes, the CEO I’m working with will offer better suggestions than I could think of. This comfort in front of the camera is a welcomed by-product of b-roll. And, ideally, it’ll calm some nerves for the speaking parts to come.