Why is B-Roll Important to Video Production?

Apr 27, 2022

Picture this: You’re interviewing Mr. Bean about his coffee roasting company and he begins to wax poetic about the process of harvesting and roasting coffee beans. While his description is helpful enough, the imagery just isn’t sinking into your imagination.


That’s when you, the videographer, cut to a series of videos showing off the bean roasting process and the different types of roasts available at the store. That’s called B-Roll, and it’s vital to telling any good video story.

In video production, there are two types of footage most commonly referred to as A-Roll and B-Roll. 

A-Roll vs. B-Roll?

To put it simply, where A-Roll tells the story, B-Roll shows the story. Story Ninety-Four

A-Roll is the primary footage taken of the subject of the project in order to drive the video’s narrative. Most commonly, this includes scenes where actors/ subjects have a speaking role.

Alternatively, B-roll is a term used to describe secondary footage, often used as cutaway footage, to provide context and visual interest to help tell your story. Story Ninety-Four 

So, now that you understand the difference between A-Roll and B-Roll, I’d like to focus on why B-Roll is such an integral part of video production. I’d like to illustrate this utilizing stills from a video we produced for our client, The Dermatology Center for Skin Health, in Morgantown, WV. 

Using a recent Video Production Project to Explain Further

For context, the goal of the video InnerAction Media created for The Dermatology Center for Skin Health was to highlight the fact they offer a procedure called Microneedling. 

Considering the goal of the video was to focus on Microneedling, we knew it would be essential for us to include an interview (A-Roll) with Karen Shafer, Clinical Cosmetic Specialist, as she routinely performs Microneedling procedures at The Dermatology Center for Skin Health. 

Above, is a still taken from our interview with Karen Shafer, where she “tells the story”. Karen explains what microneedling is, how it can benefit patients, and what patients should expect after the procedure. 

Three Ways to utilize B-Roll in Video Production

Below, are a few stills taken from our B-Roll footage at The Dermatology Center for Skin Health. Each example illustrates a different way to utilize B-Roll in video production. 

            1. Adds visual interest 
            2. Great for establishing setting/location
            3. Helps provide context to the story 

Overall, B-Roll is an incredibly versatile tool for video production. It can be used to add visual interest, it is great for establishing setting/location, and it can help provide important context to the story.

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