Video Marketing Tips for Filming B-Roll

How To Shoot The Best Video Marketing B-Roll

By Dave GrendzynskiJul 20 /2021

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, creating great video content is important. One way to help keep your viewers engaged while they are watching your video is to use b-roll — the moving images you’ll need to match the words.

If you’re producing marketing videos, it’s important to understand b-roll’s importance. It’s one thing to tell your potential or existing customers about your company, but showing them will provide an entirely new perspective. You can drive home your point or help your target audience understand your message more clearly.  

You never want to get to the editing process and not have the b-roll you need. So, let’s talk a little bit about what it is and how you can shoot the best b-roll for all of your video marketing projects.

What Is B-Roll?

Simply put, b-roll is the footage you’ll use to cut away from your main shot. It will support or complement the story you are filming.  

B-roll is typically used to “cover” an interview subject. You add pictures to match what they’re saying and it keeps you from having to stare at a talking head the entire time. Watching someone talk for a few minutes can be extremely boring. But if you place in shots of what the person is talking about or switch camera angles, it can help keep your audience engaged.

In this video, we use b-roll to reinforce what the doctor is saying.

Put Together A B-Roll Plan Before You Film

In order to get the b-roll you need, you should start thinking about it weeks before filming day. Think about what you want to say in the video and visualize what shots will cover it best.

A great way to lay it out is with a storyboard. A storyboard forces you to match pictures with your words.

Here’s an example of a storyboard for a video we produced for one of our clients.


Another tactic you can try is a site survey. Go out and look at the area where you’ll be filming ahead of time to get the lay of the land. You can also figure out if that spot has everything you need or if you might need multiple locations.

The 4 Don’ts of Filming B-Roll

1. Don’t be shy

One of the hardest things videographers have to overcome is shyness. If you want great shots, you’ll have to be outgoing and speak up. You may have to politely assert yourself in different situations.

In this video we filmed on-site, there’s a lot of b-roll of college students we met that day. We asked if they’d help us out, explained what we needed, and they came through for us.

If you’re having trouble getting the shots you want, don’t worry. People will understand what you are doing, so get up front and start filming. In my experience, when people see a camera, they either run to it or run from it. So, you’ll figure out immediately who wants to be in your video.

2. Don’t be afraid to direct

You can also save yourself some time and ensure that you’re going to get the exact shot that you want by simply telling your subjects what action to take.  

In this video, we worked with a number of different hospital employees to get the shots we needed. They were great to work with because they took a lot of direction from our team and got us what we needed.

We even had to use a drone for this video to get the shot of the hospital we needed. That took some pre-planning, but adds a lot of visual value to the video.

Here’s another example, but this time we were working with hired actors. And even though they’re professionals, they still needed us to steer them in the right direction.

Keeping your script handy (while you’re filming) will help. But if you don’t have a script, you can film your interviews first and make mental notes of what b-roll footage you’ll need to complement the story. If your interviewee says something during the interview that you know you will use, be sure to tell them that you will need to film the b-roll to match it, so they can take you there afterward.

3. Don’t stop filming

Keep the camera rolling as long as you can and shoot more b-roll than you think you'll need. You don't have to use all the footage you shoot, and if you don’t use it on the video you’re currently putting together, you may be able to use it in future videos. When capturing b-roll, more really is better!

4. Don’t rush

Taking your time during a video shoot is essential to getting great footage. It’s always a good idea to film establishing shots of your surroundings and to get shots of the details of those surroundings. This will give your viewers a better understanding of the setting.

You May Need More B-Roll After The Fact

Keep this in mind: you may need to go out and get a few more shots, even after the shooting day is done. There are times when you start editing and realize “I could really use a shot of (fill in the blank).”

If the shots you need are easy enough to get, go get them. It’s too important to pass up on a great shot that can make or break your message.

Don’t Underestimate B-Roll For Your Video Marketing Needs

Creating videos for your business can seem like a daunting task, especially if you don’t have an in-house video team. But don’t let that stop you from creating great video content. No matter what skill level you’re at, adding appropriate b-roll can boost the production value of your video.

B-roll is an important part of storytelling, so you should be thinking about it before, during, and after you film. And remember, to get the best b-roll don’t be shy, don’t be afraid to direct, don’t stop filming and don’t rush! These four don’ts of video marketing b-roll will save time when you are editing your footage and ultimately help keep your audience engaged.

Video Marketing

The Author

Dave Grendzynski

Dave uses the skills that won him three Emmy Awards as a television news producer to create compelling content for our clients. Dave honed his email, blog and social media writing skills in the Corporate Communications Department at Cleveland Clinic.