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The difference between A-Roll and B-Roll videos

The difference between A-Roll and B-Roll videos

WRITTEN BY : Paul Keane

Undoubtedly, A-Roll and B-Roll are essential pieces of the puzzle called cinematography. What are A-roll and B-roll videos? They are additional or alternate footage that overrides the main footage. Globally, it's any text, images, or video crammed on top of the main plot of a video.


If you're just starting to learn about filmmaking, you may never have heard of these principles of shooting before, but these two fundamental concepts in filmmaking are important for every first-time filmmaker to recognize as well as implement in their work because of the crucial roles they play in the visual storytelling process. The main difference between A-roll and B-roll is as follows: A-roll or main footage is video used to narrate the story, while B-roll or supplementary footage is used to support or add depth and context to the main video. 


Although these concepts seem, at first glance, unimportant to the overall creation of the film, many novice filmmakers likely subconsciously organize shooting these types of shots in a rigid creative hierarchy where A-roll is most important. Typically, beginners spend a lot of time shooting the main scene and then hastily shoot and edit a few B-Roll shots half an hour before the deadline.


This beginner's mentality is understandable because you really can't have a movie without the main visual and narrative component, but any experienced filmmaker knows that without supporting intercutting shots, much of the main video sequence becomes flat and uninteresting.





Funny comparison: A-roll is a hot dog and B-roll is gravy. Sure, you can only have a complete snack with a hot dog, but who would even like a regular empty hot dog? Both types of shots add something to your film, so both are worthy of your expended creative effort.




How B-ROLL interludes improve video





Why use B-Roll? Whether or not you should use B-Roll breaks strongly depends on the type of video you're creating. Of course, if you're creating a confidence video on some deep subject matter, B-Rolling will be detrimental. But most videos benefit from them.


What are the B-Roll Interruptions?


  • ● They illustrate your words, visualize what you are explaining in the video. They're also a great helper in "how-to" videos.

  • ● Breaking up the monotony. Videos are a visual medium, why not give people something good to enjoy?

  • ● Hiding frame jumps. Yes everyone knows that frame jumps are kind of a video blogging standard. But, believe it or not, there are always those who get pissed off by them. Using B-Roll interludes allows you to hide these jumps and then the video pours out like a song.

  • ● Strengthen the impact of your words. In addition to point 1, it can make your words more influential.


Creating videos is a very voluminous modern science. To achieve success, you need to constantly look for your recipe for video happiness and improve yourself tirelessly. That is what we wish you.




Tips for shooting B-Roll without the help of assistants






When you're a director, cameraman, and actor at the same time, shooting interludes can be quite challenging, but doable.


Whether you're making a video for YouTube or just filming one, you'll need a great video to make your work more professional.


What if you are the only one on the set? Are you the director, cameraman, and actor? This makes shooting B-Roll a bit difficult.



Don't be afraid to leave the camera



Leaving your camera unattended is very dangerous, but if you want to take great shots, you have to do it. Not only it will give you the freedom to get in front of your camera without being tethered to it, but it will also allow you to diversify your compositions.



The framing is important.




Speaking of composition, if you're shooting yourself, you're limiting the number of angles you can take because you're holding the camera all the time. Think about how monotonous selfies are. So, approach these compositions the same way you would a narrative film. Try different angles, focal lengths, etc.



Take it off your hands.



Take several shots with the camera below your waist. Slowly extend your arms to get a dolly effect. There are many interesting moves you can perform with just your hands, but if you need extra help, you may want to consider getting a compact monopod or GorillaPod.






Shooting B-Roll gives you the perfect opportunity to experiment, and because these types of short videos on social media are still underdeveloped, you have so many opportunities to shoot them without too much effort.



Don't forget about continuity



Remember that you are telling a story, and that means that the continuity of the script is very important. Be aware of your idea, and also the visual story you are trying to tell.



Focus: Auto or Manual?






According to users, the choice of manual or autofocus depends on the shooting situation. If you're moving around in the frame but want to stay focused, autofocus is the right choice for you. If you like the way you focus on the background of your shot, the manual is a better choice.



Confidence is key.



To those around you, you will look pretty weird when you record videos without helpers to warn them that you are not crazy. Although sometimes you need to be able to be crazy, strange ooze. stupid. The main thing is to be confident in your actions. Confidence is the second important thing to evoke on set.



Сonsider higher resolutions






If your camera is capable of shooting at a higher resolution, be it 2K or 4K, take advantage of it. By editing your video, you'll be able to manipulate your image and add effects that you can't do without losing quality.