Your guide to B-roll footage: What it is and where to find it

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In the world of video production, B-roll footage takes center stage as the supporting actor, adding depth, context, and visual interest to your main footage. Whether you’re working on a documentary, corporate video, or music video, incorporating B-roll footage can elevate your storytelling and captivate your audience.

Keep reading to find out when to use B-roll footage in your videos, how to film it, and where to find it.

What is B-roll footage?

B-roll footage refers to additional footage that is used alongside the main footage in a video project. It serves to support and enhance the storytelling, provide context, and add visual interest and variety to the video.

While the main audio or video content continues to play, B-roll footage is overlayed or intercut to provide additional visual information or to cover up cuts during scene transitions.

B-roll footage can encompass a wide range of shots, often featuring: 

  • establishing shots of locations
  • close-ups of objects or details
  • shots of people or actions, scenic views
  • anything else that adds depth and visual appeal to the video

B-roll is often captured during the same production process as the main footage but can also be obtained from external sources or archives.

Whether captured during the initial production or sourced from external libraries, B-roll footage plays a significant role in elevating the visual quality, narrative coherence, and audience engagement of videos across various genres and industries.

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Why we use B-roll footage

B-roll footage serves various purposes, from providing context to covering up cuts in your video. It enriches the visual narrative, allowing you to showcase locations, environments, and people beyond the main focus. B-roll footage is also a great way to add variety, making your video more engaging and dynamic.

Enhance the storytelling experience

Capturing and including bonus footage enhances storytelling by providing supplementary visuals that support or reinforce your narrative. B-roll can show the environment, set the mood, illustrate the subject matter, or convey emotions in a more vivid and engaging way. 

Add a sense of time or place

B-roll footage is also an excellent way to add context and a sense of place or time to your main content, allowing viewers to better understand the broader context of the video. 

Establish it’s nighttime with a shot of the skyline at night, or convey that your next interview is taking place at a hospital with a shot of the outside of a hospital.

Keep things visually interesting 

B-roll also serves as a creative tool to maintain audience interest, prevent visual monotony, and cover up cuts or transitions seamlessly. Humans don’t like looking at the same thing for too long — B-roll footage offers you some other tools to pull from your toolkit. 

Pair a voice-over segment with relevant B-roll to keep your audience engaged and connected to your story.

Bring your video’s genre to life

Different video genres benefit from B-roll footage in unique ways. Documentaries thrive on B-roll to provide a glimpse into the world being explored, while corporate videos can use it to showcase the workplace and employees in action. Even in music videos, B-roll footage adds a visually captivating layer to complement the lyrics.

No matter what kind of video you’re making, B-roll is a tool you want to keep in your back pocket.

How to film B-roll footage for your video

When capturing B-roll footage, it’s crucial to gather ample footage during the shooting process to have more options during editing. Aim for a variety of angles, shots, and movements to infuse depth and visual interest into the final video. Remember, it’s better to have too much footage than too little.

Keep shooting 

An easy way to generate some B-roll footage is to simply keep the camera rolling in between takes of your primary footage — you never know what you’ll capture that might be helpful later. 

Grab some establishing shots 

Every time you move to a new location, grab some establishing shots that clearly convey where you are and what time of day it is. This might include shots of buildings, signs, people, or popular landmarks. Remember — you don’t have to use everything you shoot, but it’s better to have it just in case. 

Go on a B-roll mission 

It’s never too late to capture some B-roll. Even if primary filming is all done and dusted, grab your camera and set out to get yourself some B-roll. B-roll is generally quite generic, so it’s unlikely audiences will notice if your B-roll is from a different time or place. 

If shooting your own B-roll isn’t what you’re looking for, all hope isn’t lost. It’s easy to find relevant B-roll online for all types of videos and messages.

Where to find B-roll online

If you find yourself lacking B-roll footage from your initial shoot, don’t fret. Numerous online resources provide a wealth of B-roll footage that you can use at little to no cost. These resources offer a vast array of clips to enhance your video and fill any gaps in your visual storytelling.

Try our favorite free and premium stock footage websites to get started with your search. Or better yet, tap into Biteable’s huge library of stock video footage, ready to add directly to the Biteable video maker

When choosing your stock footage, you want to ensure: 

  • the video style matches your project 
  • the footage is high quality 
  • the video is royalty-free or you have a license to use it 
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Where to get free stock footage

Create B-roll video footage with Biteable

B-roll footage is a valuable tool in video production, enriching your content and elevating its impact. Whether you shoot it yourself or utilize online resources, incorporating B-roll footage can transform your videos into captivating visual experiences.

Embrace the power of B-roll and take your storytelling to new heights with the Biteable video maker. Start your free 7-day trial today to access thousands of high-quality stock videos.


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