Video Lingo: What is B-roll?

There is a certain video production term that frequently gets thrown around. 

We, Boston video production company, Skillman Video Group, get asked questions about it all the time. What is it? This blog will teach you some important video lingo so that the next time you hear it, you will understand what it is.

The term is “B-roll.”

What Is It?

B-roll is supplemental footage that drives home certain creative points in your video’s narrative. What does that mean? For example, you do an interview. That’s called a talking head. In this interview, you’re talking about some new product that you have recently developed. The B-roll for that video would be beauty shots of that particular product. Its purpose is to help visually tell the story of the narrative of your video.

Where Does the Term Come from?

Back in the day, when you did video editing, you had something called video decks and you used tape. You’d have your deck A, which would be roll A. That would be the interview. The second roll, or the “B-roll”, was technically a second editing deck. The “A-roll” is any interview content (talking head content), and the “B-roll” is supplemental footage that should be supporting what was covered in the interview. 

In the age of computers, the idea of A-roll and B-roll really is kind of a moot point; there’s no such thing. No one uses tapes and no one uses a deck anymore. For whatever reason, the term “B-roll” has stuck around. So, if you hear it, you can understand what is meant by it. It refers to the footage captured that is above and beyond your interview. 

Maybe in the future you can throw the term at your vendor and they will be impressed by your video knowledge.

To learn more, contact video production Boston agency, Skillman Video Group, at [email protected] and see the YouTube video below.

Video Lingo: What is B-roll anyway?