The power of B-roll in video

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The more interesting your video is, the more chance you have for it to be seen and shared.

B-roll (or overlay) is the footage you show to add more impact to your message. The most basic form of video is a talking head. That is some just presenting to camera. It’s a bit more interesting than a blog, but its impact will depend on the quality of the presenter.

To make your “talking head” more engaging, look for ways to show what you are talking about with B-roll. Think about a news bulletin. It will start with the presenter talking to the camera and then you’ll see vision relating to what they are talking about.

This is the B-roll. The terminology dates back to the days of editing off videotapes and combining the A-roll footage with B-roll footage.

When planning a video consider what B-roll vision you can use to enhance the message. This is where you can bring your video to life.

The vision you include can transform a production from an information piece to an emotive achievement.

This production below was made for the Black Dog Ride which is a fundraising event for people struggling with depression. It brings hundreds of motorbike enthusiasts together for a fun day of riding in controlled conditions.

It would be tough to watch this video if it just interviewed. It is calling out for visuals that can tell the story and show the scale of the event.

The visuals quickly give a sense of just how many people were in attendance and what it was like to ride on the roads that day.

And this production below was produced for a fruit distributor to show how much care is taken when delivering the fruit to market.

As you can see the visuals that demonstrate what is being spoken about enhance the production.

Here are some tips about what sort of B-roll you can consider to improve your videos:


This is quite obvious and usually will just show exactly what is being described. This technique was used for the Bombowlee video nectarine video above.


The idea here is to show content that may not be specifically spoken about but it adds more information to the story. In the Black Dog Ride video while people are talking their connection with depression, scenes are shown of people registering and paying money. This isn’t explained literally but you quickly understand that money is being raised to help people with depression.


Sometimes you don’t need a commentary to explain what is happening. Simply combining some music with relevant visuals can say much more than a talking head. In the Black Dog Ride video there is a sequence of riding on the open road. This is what people who watch the video or who are interested in attending next year want to see. Generic interviews over the top of this deliver more information with the interesting footage.


Sometimes you need more information to make the presentation interesting but don’t have any more video to show. In this case you can create graphics or blocks of text that can add emphasis to the points that are being made. Sometimes this can be a get out of jail trick, especially if you are using a voice over that requires plenty of visuals to support it.


Photos are also a great resource if you need to add impact to your production. It is easy to add movement to the pictures, so long as they are high enough quality. If they are low-resolution it won’t look pretty. You need an image that is around 1920 pixels wide for any high definition video production. Ideally pictures should be landscape format rather than portrait aspect.

Like all video productions, the more thought and planning you can put into your production before you start filming the better the outcome. So consider how can you bring your message to life with engaging B-Roll.

If you are looking for some creative solutions to get your clients to take the critical next step, give us a call on

About Geoff Anderson

About Geoff Anderson

Geoff Anderson is the owner of Sonic Sight and has been producing videos for 30 years. He is an author, presenter as well as a video producer.

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