A-roll vs. B-roll

We all know the importance of including video content in a marketing strategy. But creating your own videos from scratch might not always come naturally if you don’t work in the field. 

That’s why in this blog we’re reviewing two essential types of footage that should be in every video: A-roll and B-roll.

  • A-roll is the primary, narrative footage that tells the story. It provides the audience with the necessary information for the story and is usually shot in an interview style format.
  • B-roll is the secondary, supplemental footage that shows the story. It provides context, visual interest, cover-ups, cuts and edits, and it increases the production value of your video.

For example, let’s look at our client Roman Sharf. We’ve been working with him for years and have helped him grow his YouTube Channel from the ground up. 

He now has over 115,000 subscribers, all thanks to the stories he tells through A-roll and B-roll!

A-Roll: Roman Sharf describes the gears on the back of this luxury watch

B-Roll: Roman shows the gears on the luxury watch

Roman Sharf showing off a watch

So why should you care?

Whether you’re considering doing your own filming or working with a video team, knowing the difference between A-roll and B-roll is essential. It will help you during every phase of your project: 

  • Pre-production phase – you’ll be able to better define the shots
  • Production phase – you can clearly communicate your vision
  • Post-production phase – you can easily edit the final product

Pre-production phase

In the pre-production phase, it helps you define the shots you need to get. In a table-based storyboard, we lay out the A-roll and associated B-roll so we know what to capture during the production phase. For example:

Pre-production phase example

Production phase

In the production phase, it’s an important way to communicate with your film team on-location. For example:

Client: Our CEO flubbed the line in the middle, do we have to take the whole section over again?

Director: Nope we’ll cover it with B-roll. We can use the shot of the team coordinating the on-site work.

Talent: 🙏

 

Post-production phase

In the post-production phase, it’s important to be able to communicate with the editor to make the necessary revisions to the final product. That way you can easily piece all the footage together in a way that stays consistent with your brand.

Show me, don’t tell me!

We tell stories to help connect with people and make them feel something. Sometimes seeing a-roll of our interviewee breaking down helps us feel their pain and connect with their story of struggle. 

Other times b-roll that shows off beautiful pastries as they come out of the oven or the amazing capabilities of state-of-the-art equipment makes us hungry and able to see new possibilities.

Whatever your vision, knowing the lingo will help communicate it to your video team and allow them to bring it to life.

DID YOU KNOW?

We can help you set up your own studio and navigate the filming process. Our remote production services have helped numerous clients become self-sufficient and less dependent on filming in one physical location. 

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in and need help getting started, contact Video City Productions and we’ll figure out how we can help!

About The Author

Jon Sherman

Creative Director