Besides interview footage, B-roll is the main source of visuals for most corporate video productions. In video terminology, B-roll refers to everything from activity footage to architecture shots to food preparation and product footage. It goes alongside the primary footage to add emphasis or showcase what an interview subject is discussing. The primary reason for great B-roll footage is because it breaks up the monotony of just watching someone talk to the camera. If your company spokesperson is talking about an exciting new product launch, viewers want to see the product, not just hear about it. If someone is talking about a beautiful view from the hotel balcony, showing the beautiful view is far more effective and visually engaging than just hearing about the view. How do you obtain great B-roll footage for your corporate videos?
Know What You Need
The most critical element of obtaining great B-roll footage is to have a plan in advance of the shoot for what you want to shoot, how many locations need to be shot, and roughly what elements are required. For a technology video of a new product launch, you are going to want to show glamour shots of the product, show the product in action (which could mean showing software on a computer as well), and show any great features you want to highlight. Think about whether you want to show the product by itself or with someone holding it, demonstrating features visually, or describing them with text and voiceover.
With a tour video, you want to identify the best areas of your property and focus on what makes them special. If the view out the window of the dining room is beautiful at sunset, maybe schedule the shoot so you can capture the sunset. If the lobby is a great feature, make sure it looks its best. Do you need fresh flowers or plants? Are there small maintenance tasks that need to be completed? If you’re planning on talking about friendly staff and great customer service, have a receptionist available to pick up the phone, smile, and have a (fake) conversation. Planning and a proper schedule are essential to capturing great B-roll.
A Skilled Videographer
Selecting the right production company that works with highly skilled, creative videographers is essential to high quality B-roll. An average videographer with a lower skill set and a less creative eye simply doesn’t see the moments, the angles, and the potential of every situation. The best videographers are not just born talented; they acquire their skilled eye and creativity through extensive experience and shooting frequently. They know where to set the camera, how to frame the shot, what suggestions to make for elements in the shot, and how to execute the right camera moves.
Although editing has nothing to do with capturing great B-roll, it has everything to do with making sure your video has the best possible B-roll footage. All of the great footage in the world means nothing without an editor who understands how to cut the footage into a great video. With corporate video production, the key is to find the right moments to slip in appropriate B-roll footage. In an interview-driven video, you want the interview subject to lead the visuals, telling their story or driving the narrative, but then the B-roll complements whatever they are saying. It adds authenticity and credibility.
In a video driven by voiceover, the B-roll has to be cut appropriately to the voiceover script, so the pacing of the B-roll and transition between shots is essential. The visuals should be strong enough to tell a story by themselves, so that even if someone watched the video on mute, they would still have at least a general idea about the product or service. One trick is to make sure that text onscreen backs up or enhances key points of the voiceover. Communicating critical points through audio and video makes your viewers even more likely to take away what you want from the video. When you write your voiceover script, try to think about key points to put onscreen with text. For instance, things like “24/7 technical support,” “No monthly fees,” “No upfront deposit,” “Free trial period,” or other eye-catching elements that you want potential customers to know.