When it comes to video production in NYC, a secret weapon often goes unnoticed but plays a pivotal role in creating captivating content: B-roll footage. While the spotlight often shines on a video’s primary subjects and narrative, the B-roll quietly enhances the storytelling experience, elevating the production value and keeping viewers hooked. Let’s delve into why a B-roll is crucial for a video production company and how it contributes to compelling content creation.

Table of Contents

What is B-Roll?

Types of B-Roll

Why B-Roll Matters

Where Is B Roll Used For

How a Video Production Company Makes Great B-Roll



Key Takeaways

  • B-roll footage adds depth and context to video narratives.
  • Strategic planning is crucial for an effective B-roll in video production.
  • Variety in shot selection enhances storytelling and viewer engagement.
  • High-quality equipment is critical to capturing compelling B-roll footage.
  • Creative composition in B-roll elevates the overall visual appeal.
  • Professional video production companies expertly integrate B-roll with A-roll.
  • B-roll increases video SEO by boosting viewer engagement and watch time.

What is B-Roll?

What is B-Roll?

B-roll is the behind-the-scenes footage that enriches the main narrative of a video. Imagine watching a documentary where a narrator talks about the bustling streets of New York. The B-roll would be the vivid, engaging clips of New York’s streets, people, and landmarks that play while the narration continues. This supplementary footage adds depth, context, and visual interest to make the story more immersive and engaging for the viewer.  It’s a crucial tool for video production companies, allowing them to weave together a more compelling narrative by showing, not just telling. 

A-Roll vs B-Roll

A-roll is the backbone of the narrative, primarily consisting of dialogue and direct interviews.  While a video can be made entirely from A-roll, it might not keep viewers hooked. That’s because A-roll focuses on telling the story, which can become less engaging over time. This is where B-roll comes into play, offering visual storytelling that enriches and complements the A-roll, which makes the video more dynamic for viewers.

Types of B-Roll

Here are some key types of B-roll that seasoned video production companies commonly utilize:

Cutaway Shots

Cutaway shots momentarily divert from the main action to focus on something else, usually at a medium or far distance. These are strategically used by professional video production companies to subtly introduce essential details or provide a visual punchline. For instance, while a character talks about feeling watched, a cutaway shot might reveal someone lurking in the shadows, unbeknownst to them.

Establishing Shots

Often seen at the beginning of scenes, establishing shots are panoramic views that set the stage for the narrative. An expert video production company might use these shots to showcase the exterior of a building or a cityscape, which grounds the viewer in the story’s location. The classic views of a New York apartment block at the start of many “Friends” episodes are perfect examples of establishing shots.

Atmospheric Shots

Atmospheric shots capture the essence of a location, object, or person to evoke a specific mood or atmosphere. A top-rated video production company carefully composes these shots to enhance the storytelling with visual depth and emotional resonance.

Candid Shots

Candid shots are spontaneous captures of subjects in their natural state, often used in documentaries and non-fiction productions. These unscripted moments provide authenticity and a behind-the-scenes look, offering viewers a genuine glimpse into the subjects’ lives. Video production companies value these shots for their ability to convey genuine emotion and narrative truth.

Dramatic Reenactments

Dramatic reenactments visually narrate past events, which adds a layer of engagement to documentaries and historical content. These enacted sequences, often accompanied by voiceovers, bring narrations and interviews to life. Seasoned video production companies employ reenactments to bridge the gap between storytelling and viewer engagement.

Stock Footage

Stock footage consists of pre-recorded clips that can be royalty-free or licensed. These clips are versatile, serving to illustrate concepts, demonstrate processes, or even add humor. A professional video production company might use stock footage to enhance their narrative without additional filming, which saves time and resources while still delivering high-quality content.

Archival Footage

This B-roll type includes historical images, recordings, and videos that glimpse the past. Archival footage often lends authenticity and context to documentaries and historical pieces. By incorporating such footage, video production companies can offer viewers a visual journey through time, making historical narratives more engaging and informative.

Repurposed Primary Footage

Sometimes, A-roll footage that didn’t make the final cut can be repurposed as B-roll. This approach allows video production companies to maximize their footage by using discarded takes or parts of them to enhance the narrative visually. It’s a creative way to add variety and depth to the video content without additional shooting.

Why B-Roll Matters

Why B-Roll Matters

B-roll is more than just filler content; it’s a strategic asset that seasoned video production companies leverage to craft compelling narratives. It serves multiple critical functions that elevate the overall quality and impact of the content.

Sets the Tone

B-roll has the unique ability to set the tone of a video, subtly guiding the audience’s emotions and perceptions. A professional video production company uses B-roll to create ambiance, whether it’s the tranquility of a serene landscape or the bustling energy of a city street, to immerse viewers in the story’s mood.

Provides Editors with Choices

One of the critical benefits of a B-roll is the flexibility it offers during the editing process. With various alternative shots, editors can choose the best footage that maintains viewer interest. This abundance of choices allows a top-rated video production company to refine its storytelling and make it more dynamic and engaging.

Offers Exposition

The B-roll is instrumental in providing exposition communicating crucial background details or context that add depth to the story. For instance, shots of a character’s personal space can reveal their interests and lifestyle without a single word. A skilled video production company uses a B-roll to convey these elements.

Emphasizes Key Details

A well-placed B-roll shot can draw attention to important details that might go unnoticed. Whether it’s a lingering shot of a meaningful object or a close-up of a character’s reaction, expert video production companies understand the power of B-roll to highlight critical elements.

Introduces Characters

B-roll can also play a crucial role in character development, offering viewers insights into a character’s background through visual cues. This method allows for a more nuanced and engaging character introduction, which enables audiences to connect with the characters more deeply.

Conceals Errors

In practical terms, a B-roll is a valuable tool for concealing errors in the primary footage. Whether it’s an unwanted object in the frame or a continuity mistake, a professional video production company’s strategic use of a B-roll can seamlessly cover up these flaws to ensure a polished final product.

Increases Engagement

An engaging B-roll keeps the audience’s attention, significantly reducing the likelihood of viewers skipping through the content or losing interest. A seasoned video production company can maintain viewer engagement throughout the video by continuously providing visual variety and depth.

Where Is B Roll Used For

B-roll is a versatile and powerful tool in video production, as it enhances storytelling across various formats and contexts. Here are some key areas where B-roll is particularly compelling:

  • Testimonials

    • B-roll significantly boosts the impact of testimonial videos. According to a 2020 survey, two-thirds of people are more likely to purchase after watching a testimonial video. B-roll enhances these videos by adding visual context to the speaker’s words, thereby increasing the credibility and persuasiveness of the testimonial.
  • Advertisements

    • In advertising, grabbing and maintaining viewer attention is crucial. The B-roll, when intertwined with the A-roll, keeps the narrative engaging. This ensures that the viewer’s attention is captured immediately and held until the call to action at the end.
  • Documentaries

    • For documentaries, setting the scene and establishing authority are essential. B-roll helps achieve both by providing visual context and supporting the narrative, making the documentary more immersive and credible to viewers.
  • News Reports

    • Originating from news reporting, the B-roll remains a staple in this format. It breaks the monotony of a reporter speaking directly to the camera, adding depth to the report and enhancing the story’s authority with relevant visuals.
  • Movies/TV

  • The B-roll establishes the tone setting in film and television and fixes continuity errors. For instance, scenes of school corridors and classrooms can visually amplify a character’s nervousness on their first day of school while also serving practical purposes, like replacing shots with unwanted elements, such as a visible crew member.

How a Video Production Company Makes Great B-Roll

How a Video Production Company Makes Great B-Roll

Creating an impactful B-roll requires creativity, strategic planning, and technical expertise. A top-rated video production company employs a comprehensive approach to capturing B-roll that complements the primary footage and elevates the entire video. Here’s how professional video production companies ensure their B-roll stands out:

Strategic Planning and Storyboarding

Before a camera starts rolling, a seasoned video production company invests time in strategic planning and storyboarding. This preparatory stage involves identifying the narrative’s needs and determining how B-roll can best support the story. By envisioning the final product, these companies can outline specific types of B-roll footage needed, from establishing shots that set the scene to close-ups that capture emotions or highlight details. 

Diverse Shot Selection

Variety is critical to captivating B-roll. Expert video production companies prioritize capturing a wide range of shots to provide editors with a rich palette of visuals. This diversity adds depth to the narrative and maintains viewer interest by offering different perspectives and textures. Whether it’s dramatic landscapes, intimate portraits, or dynamic action shots, a professional video production company knows that a mix of shot types will enhance the storytelling and viewer engagement.

Using High-Quality Equipment

The right tools make a significant difference in the quality of B-roll footage. Top-rated video production companies use high-quality cameras, lenses, drones, and stabilizers to capture crisp, cinematic B-rolls. Advanced equipment allows for a higher degree of creativity and precision, from smooth aerial shots that provide a bird’s-eye view to stabilized motion shots that bring dynamism to the scene. 

Creative Composition

Composition is at the heart of a compelling B-roll. Skilled videographers from a professional video production company employ creative composition techniques to make each shot visually appealing and emotionally resonant. This involves understanding the principles of framing, lighting, and movement to create balanced and engaging shots that draw the viewer’s eye. By applying these artistic principles, video production companies can capture a B-roll that supports the narrative and stands out as visually striking.

Strategic Integration

Integrating B-roll seamlessly with A-roll is a skill that a top-rated video production company excels at. This involves timing, pacing, and understanding the narrative flow to ensure that B-roll shots enhance rather than distract from the main storyline. An expert video production company carefully selects and edits the B-roll to support the narrative peaks, fill in gaps, or provide a visual break.

Embracing Spontaneity

While planning and strategy are crucial, the best video production company also understands the value of spontaneity. Capturing unplanned, candid moments can add authenticity and depth to the video. These spontaneous shots often become the most memorable parts of the B-roll, as they offer a glimpse into the moment’s genuine emotions and unexpected beauty. Professional video production teams are always prepared to seize these opportunities, blending planned shots with serendipitous moments to create captivating content.

Attention to Detail

A professional video production company’s attention to detail makes its B-roll stand out. This means focusing on the big picture and the minute details that can make a scene more engaging or informative. Whether it’s the way light reflects off an object or the subtle expressions on a subject’s face, these details can significantly enhance the storytelling and emotional impact of the video.

Dynamic Editing Techniques

The magic often happens in the editing room, where skilled editors from a seasoned video production company weave A-roll and B-roll footage to create a cohesive and compelling narrative. Dynamic editing techniques involve cutting, splicing, and using effects, transitions, and pacing to ensure the B-roll integrates smoothly and enhances the viewer’s experience.

Collaborative Effort

Creating a great B-roll is a collaborative effort that involves directors, cinematographers, editors, and other crew members. A top-rated video production company fosters a team environment where creative ideas can flow freely, and everyone’s expertise is leveraged to capture the best possible B-roll footage into the final product.


How much B-roll footage do I need?

The required amount of B-roll footage varies significantly from one project to another. A seasoned video production company typically shoots more B-rolls than they anticipate using to ensure they have enough material to choose from during editing. This flexibility allows for creative decisions in post-production and ensures the final product is polished.

Can B-roll improve video SEO?

Yes, engaging the B-roll can significantly enhance video SEO. By increasing watch time and viewer engagement, B-roll makes content more appealing to viewers and search engines. Videos that keep viewers watching longer are considered more valuable, thus improving their search rankings and visibility. A professional video production company understands this and strategically uses B-roll to boost SEO efforts further.

Should the B-roll have audio?

B-roll can be more than just visual; it can also include ambient sounds to add depth and realism to the footage. However, it’s often used with voiceovers or music, depending on its role in the video’s narrative. A top-rated video production company skillfully balances B-roll audio with the primary audio track to create a cohesive and immersive viewing experience.

How do I choose the right B-roll?

Choosing the right B-roll involves considering the relevance and visual appeal. The best B-roll enhances the main narrative, adding depth, context, or emotional resonance. It should be visually appealing, drawing the viewer’s attention and enriching their understanding and experience of the story. A professional video production company excels in selecting a B-roll that aligns with the video’s theme and objectives to ensure that every shot contributes to the storytelling.

Can B-roll be used in all types of videos?

B-roll is incredibly versatile and can enhance almost any type of video content. From corporate presentations and training videos to documentaries, commercials, and social media clips, B-roll adds value by providing visual variety. An expert video production company leverages B-roll across various projects to create more dynamic, engaging, and practical videos, regardless of the genre or platform.

Can B-roll be used in all types of videos?

Transform Your Videos with Expert B-Roll: Contact Mack Media Group Today!

B-roll is an indispensable tool in a video production company’s arsenal for creating engaging and dynamic content. Using it strategically can elevate a video from good to great, adding depth, variety, and professionalism. 


Mack Media Group, NYC’s most trusted video production company, excels in leveraging B-roll to create memorable videos that engage and resonate with audiences. Our expertise ensures your message is not just seen but felt and remembered. Elevate your brand’s video content with Mack Media Group’s unparalleled skills. Ready to transform your video projects? Contact us now and see the difference expertise makes.