Contributors FAQ

What is B-roll?

Back in the day when tape decks were around, there were A-Rolls and B-Rolls. The A-Roll was the main footage where the character was speaking or the reporter was on the scene. The B-Roll footage was everything else. The name for this stock footage pretty much stuck. It was the landscape or people walking in and out of an office or cars driving by. Usually, there is no sound on the b-roll. This allows voice-overs to be made over the footage. It was used a lot when cameras were transitioning from camera to camera to disguise unwanted content or anything that might have distracted the director such as a clip or bad shot. 
You can also READ MORE about b-roll in our article.

What is an ideal B-roll package?

The ideal B-roll package contains 4 to 7 royalty-free video clips, that cover the same topic (action, subject or location) through different angles and types of shots. It’s important to note that each one of these clips needs to be useful; for the whole concept of packaging, B-roll is to keep video producers from having to search for more complementary material.
Therefore, contributors must avoid at all cost submitting packages that contain two or more shots that look too much alike. We give you a more detailed idea in our Tips and Tutorials section.

What different types of shots can I use?

We expect some variety: from close-ups to aerial shots, tilt shots, pan shots, time-lapses, stop motion, slow motion… you name it!  
The important thing is that you can offer a package that will meet B-roll footage needs; what we ask you is that you keep in mind the editor’s point of view when planning your shot list. An editor won’t make use of two shots that look almost exactly the same, and your B-roll package must be designed to be used in its entirety within the same project.  
Effective B-roll footage is driven by the story in 100% of the cases; make up a story in your mind, then try to figure out how would you cover for its secondary footage, and you’ll see the shot list coming along with all the process.

What topics are popular for B-roll footage?

While we don’t want you to feel limited when it comes to the topics you may shoot, is good for you to be aware of some of the most demanded issues in the market:  
- Business: it’s a very important topic and it generates a great demand. It’s the type of B-roll that includes people interacting with certain gadgets (smartphones, tablets, laptops), performing presentations in conferences rooms, attending to business meetings, etc. 
- People: commonly portrayed in an office setting, walking down a street, working in a hospital, or playing sports. 
- Landscapes: of both nature and cities. A sunset reflecting on a lake, a city line… these are good ideas for either time-lapse or aerial shots. 
- Science: this is close-up material in many cases; molecules and organisms are used to enhance the story. 
- Industrial: everything related to a specific professional field. Let’s say the story is about the investigation of a crime and your B-roll needs to cover the whole professional environment attached to it, you’d show a police station, the sheriff’s office, a police car chase, a creepy warehouse at night… etc.  
You can also be inspired by anything around you.  
Modern B-rolls include demonstrative gadgets, co-working spaces, pets, and kids. This imagery is very trendy for web commercials, Kickstarter campaigns, and YouTube videos.  
Also, see our HOT TOPICS here, and get inspired by the suggestions our customers have been making.