Whether you are filming your first epic indie film, music videos, or a documentary interview, shooting b-roll is still one of the most important steps to creating more visually interesting stories.
Despite the current trend of YouTube vloggers using b-roll in place of content to fill out and increase their run times, shooting b-roll is still extremely important. Even the most direct product advertisement is telling a story, and b-roll is and should be an important piece used to visually supplement that narrative.
Coming from the talented director Jacob Owens of The BuffNerds, Owens breaks down several reasons you should be shooting b-roll on your video assignments and lots of it. B-roll has so many uses in filmmaking from furthering your storytelling to making the editing process easier. It can fix mistakes, cover cuts, and help pacing issues. It adds depth and creativity, helping to make your piece more engaging with its audience. Often, it's easy to get so focused on your hero shots or other aspects of shooting that you forget or run out of time for b-roll. That's why it is important to plan and prepare for shooting it beforehand. For me, that is often a second shooter. I find shooting additional footage while on set or sometimes additional coverage during the primary shooting helps. I'm not a major production studio and typically shoot video as an add-on to my still photography assignments. So, this approach has been a big help to me.
After a project, b-roll can also be a source of additional income, as many production companies will sell their footage as stock clips. Video stock footage is currently a high-demand industry with lots of options available to filmmakers.