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B-roll Footage for Television

Television B-roll is video footage we film to illustrate a PR generated story. It’s a fantastic asset for maximizing coverage on TV – but only when it’s produced in a certain way.   

Broadcasters would obviously prefer to film their own footage, but when they don’t have the resources to do that, then B-roll can prove invaluable. 

We have 2 golden rules to guarantee it gets used.  

GOLDEN RULE 1:   

B-roll is video footage that illustrates a PR generated story. It is not a finished product – it will be re-edited by the broadcaster, and possibly mixed and matched with footage they’ve shot themselves.  

B-roll is only ever likely to be used on the news, therefore it should be shot in a “news style” and look like material broadcasters would have filmed for themselves.  

We recommend using B-roll for no more than 8 – 10 minutes of roughly edited shots. Good visuals are key, but B-roll can include some interviews with spokespeople and sound bites from key contributors.  

GOLDEN RULE 2:    

Give broadcasters something they couldn’t easily film for themselves.    These days that’s a lot easier than it used to be:  anything that takes time to film, or travel to, an event that’s outside London….the list is endless.   The dog tick above is a good example as we needed a macro lens to film it.  

Watching a B-roll is no better than watching paint dry, but if you’ve never commissioned one before and would like to see an example watch the below B-Roll 

Interviews

Broadcasters want to film their own footage and they want to do their own interviews even more.   It’s all about maintaining editorial control.   As former journalists ourselves we absolutely understand their stance.  That said, we would still include a selection of interview soundbites at the end of a B-roll for these reasons:  

  • It’s a good way of showing broadcasters how good your spokesperson is.  It might even encourage them to do their own interview  
  • In the most diplomatic way possible you can try the spokesperson out, before letting them loose with journalists.   How well do they explain what the company is?  Do they know the key messages?    
  • Short of crews but wanting to run the story broadcasters may (just may) use the clips anyway!  

Why do news teams use B-roll?

It’s all down to money, or lack of it.   Newsrooms operate much more on a shoe string these days and don’t always have the time or money to film new footage.   Instead they rely on live interviews, library pictures – or B-roll.

Broadcast bosses will deny using B-roll, but we know down at the coal-face, journalists are often grateful for a few minutes of well shot footage, produced in a newsroom style.

Related Work

MSD Animal Health: The Big Tick Project

Shout! Communications supported MSD Animal Health with their campaign to increase awareness about the risk of dog ticks, with the aim of driving sales of Bravecto and informing dog owners and vets alike.

See full case study >