Video In PR

B-Roll Best Practices

Good B-roll can often tip the scales in your favor, convincing a TV news producer to run a story on your firm. But without the B-roll they might take a pass. Here's the information you need to use B-roll to obtain televised PR placements.

Chances are you've seen a lot of B-roll video footage and didn't even know it.

B-role footage includes shots of people, places, or things news producers use to illustrate a story. While A-roll footage features dialogue and/or natural sound, sound is a secondary consideration for B-roll. In other words, B-roll is the background scenery video editors use while the story is being reported.

What most news viewers don't realize is that with out quality B-roll footage, it's impossible for producers and editing professionals to piece together an effective news story. In fact, many news stories are limited by the amount of B-roll footage that is available. If there isn't enough B-roll, the story won't run – at least not in the way you would like it to run.

Public relations efforts that rely on video have to consider the amount of B-roll footage that is passed on to news producers. A video news release that lacks adequate B-roll has a slim chance of success. With that in mind, there are at least three kinds of B-roll footage you might want to include in your next piece of video PR.

  • Event-driven. Good B-roll continues to tell the story you are telling through video. If your story is based on an event like a trade show or a company-sponsored community day, your B-roll footage should include ample wide-angle footage of the event and closer shots of some of the featured activities. The rule of thumb is that good B-roll should give news stations the same footage they would have obtained if they had sent their own cameraman to the event.
  • Product driven. Some video PR initiatives are designed to highlight the features of a specific product or product-line. For this kind of video PR, B-roll should include a variety of shots that capture the product(s) from multiple angles. Always use a neutral background to focus attention on the product, incorporating both close-ups and panned shots into the footage.
  • People-driven. Yet another type of B-roll footage is based on a person. If your PR piece is designed to promote a specific individual, your video news release will include A-roll interviews and sound clips of the person speaking. But you also need B-roll footage that will run behind the actual reporting. For this, producers often rely on shots of the subject doing something in the background. A common B-roll shot covers the individual walking out of the company's headquarters with the company's sign featured prominently in the background.

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