The term “Broll” (or B-Roll) is used to describe the supplemental footage captured during a shoot to visually enhance a final video product. For example, if a sculptor and his/her work are being profiled in a video, the “A-Roll” would be interview footage captured of the sculptor to create the video narrative. The Broll would be the footage overlaying that—maybe of going into the studio, working with clay, putting intricate details on a new project, selling to a buyer, etc. Broll is indispensable to a video project because of the simple premise: show, don’t tell. Viewers like to see the environment, the process, the work. It helps connect them to the subject of the video.
While it’s important to include Broll in a planned video production, you don’t have to wait for that hoped for glitzy project to get started. In fact, having a collection of custom Broll footage (from everyday work-life, to special events, to beautiful product shots) can only help you and your organization. Here’s why:
1. A Library of Custom Broll for Shot Diversity
Have you ever watched a 2-minute company overview video and started to notice that all of the Broll footage looked the same? Same employees, same outfits, same lighting, same rooms, same shots over-and-over? That’s likely because all of the footage was taken on the same day, and probably a day when not much was going on. This can be subtle, but it does impact the viewer. Consciously or subconsciously it can negatively affect the perception of the company. It will limit how well an establishment’s message is received.
Now contrast this with a 2-minute overview video you’ve watched where a diverse group of employees are in a number of different settings: in the office, on the manufacturing floor, in the field, in good weather and bad, at events and in the community. This Broll footage has been captured over multiple days, months, and years. It holds your attention because it’s diverse and dynamic. To get the most out of a video project, the more professional Broll footage, the better!
2. A Library of Custom Broll for Future Videos
Having a large library of Broll footage lends itself well to future productions. For example, you had a TV commercial produced a year ago, but now are creating testimonial videos for your website. Extra Broll footage captured for the commercial can be repurposed as Broll over the testimonials. It can greatly enhance the pieces and make them more interesting to watch. It also cuts your production costs because you are using existing footage. As long as you’re working with the same production team and/or understand the rights usage of the original footage, you can continue to find uses for it!
3. A Library of Custom Broll for Event Videos
We’ve encountered this a few times in the past, where a client has an upcoming event they’d like to promote and show-off, yet they have no existing assets (video footage or photos) from previous years. There are also no visual assets available for use from their current vendors. There are certainly creative work-arounds, but one of the best promotional tools is library footage of successful and exciting past versions of an event. That’s why we always encourage our clients to be proactive in creating their own media asset library of important organizational activities and events for use in future promotions or messaging. Sometimes they will use internal resources to capture this footage. This is an option, but the quality may be questionable. Often they will hire us for specific event coverage or on retainer to be available on short notice to capture custom library Broll. The best way to promote future events is always to have some historical footage with which to work.
4. A Library of Custom Broll for Emergency Videos
One thing the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed to us is that organizations that haven’t yet prioritized video in their marketing efforts are struggling to create effective messaging for their business when they need it most. In a time where most workers are at home, unable to be physically close to one another, and establishments are temporarily closed or operating at less than optimal levels, effectively communicating the operational status and promoting a strong image of your organization is hard to do without any existing Broll. Building a library of content is essential so that when the worst happens, you can share existing footage with a production team such as RPR that has full remote post-production capabilities. Since the state lockdowns took effect, we have continued working on many projects for our clients this way. In an emergency, a library of Broll allows the piecing together of stronger videos for you, your team, and your consumers.
As you can see, we are big supporters of getting great Broll shots. It’s a fundamental part of our production services. While simply having some extra footage is better than not having any, we do recommend that you build a relationship with your local video production company and hire them to do some Broll shooting. It could be one day once a month, maybe bi-monthly, maybe once a quarter, but having the right equipment and trained individuals with an eye for the best shots is an investment that can continue to service your marketing efforts for years to come.