A-Roll and B-Roll Explained and How to Use Them in Your Videos

A-roll and b-roll are the main and the supporting footage. In this video, you will learn where these names came from and in which cases we can use b-roll to make our videos more pleasing to the viewers.

The terms come from the film era, where the a-roll was the roll of film that held the main story, the main narrative, the interview, or the dialogue. In the digital age, we borrowed the terms even though we don't have rolls of stock. B-roll, on the other hand, is the footage that makes the result more interesting and aids the imagination of the viewer by showing them relevant footage to the main narrative. Apart from bringing versatility to the end product, b-roll is also used to hide imperfections in the main video. When you cut those less perfect parts out, cuts could be annoying and distracting. That's when b-roll helps to cover the seams and hide your or your subjects' mistakes. It is also used to make gradual transitions between different topics or environments within the same video.

Shooting b-roll yourself is a must, but when your time and budget don't allow it, you can always use appropriate stock footage to supplement your story. If you are wondering where to get affordable B-roll, you can start by exploring sites like Videvo, which offer free stock footage clips, as well as two Premium plans that guarantee royalty-free licensing and a minimum of HD resolution across all clips.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Tihomir Lazarov is a commercial portrait photographer and filmmaker based in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is the best photographer and filmmaker in his house, and thinks the best tool of a visual artist is not in their gear bag but between their ears.

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Ok...that is freakin hilarious! I’ve actually be reading up on b-roll so this was very timely for me. Thanks for sharing!