B-roll is supplemental footage that relates to your subject. For example, a story about a breast cancer survivor could include b-roll of her daily activities, participation in charity events, or interaction with her family. Avoid using weak b-roll as filler. B-roll should be compelling and interesting and add visual context to the story. An ideal video uses interview footage to fill in description where there are holes in the active footage you have collected. Th e amount of b-roll you need for a single story depends on the length of your piece and the nature of your story. But a good rule of thumb for a 90-second piece is to shoot 20 to 30 minutes of b-roll and try to get a variety of shots to choose from that relate to your topic.

Interviews: Conducting a good interview can mean the difference between a great story and one that falls short. Establishing a narrative thread, connecting with the audience, and maintaining focus are all utterly dependent upon how well your sources contribute to storytelling. And although there are lots of people who just don’t interview well or whose on-camera presence is weak, a poorly conducted interview means your story won’t even get out of the gate. By contrast, video pieces comprised entirely of talking heads and weak b-roll tend to leave viewers feeling less than inspired. So find powerful images that show the story and that correspond with the information provided by your interview subjects.

On-screen talent (aka reporter stand up): Standard news packages oft en include shots of the reporter introducing, transitioning, or concluding the story. These could be shot live in conjunction with the final edit, but usually are recorded in the field. Limit the amount of reporter stand ups because talking head video becomes boring fast. A reporter track or interview footage combined with engaging b-roll will be more effective.

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