BARS+TONE is often asked about B-roll Packages. So what is a B-roll Package? Briefly, a B-roll Package is a set of raw video clips, contact information, and story overview that can be sent to broadcast media outlets. The idea is that these clips will make it easier for the news desk to see your client’s story and move forward with reporting on it. They are normally distributed via satellite playout or tape duplication. While B-roll packages are still an effective communications tool for Public Relations professionals, there are a lot of unknowns. We thought we’d use this post to clear up some of the issues.
In the past, editors referred to A-roll and B-roll. A-roll was the primary audio track consisting of the journalists’ voiceover or stand-up. B-roll referred to the supporting material that was edited over the voiceover. B-roll is used to show what the A-Roll isn’t telling. Good storytelling in video production is essential; a B-roll clip gives context to a voiceover. By providing a newsroom with these raw clips, you make their job of crafting a story easier.
There are various times when a B-roll Package can be utilized, but the most common one that we encounter is when a client is unveiling a new product or service. We create footage of the product that demonstrates why it is groundbreaking. Another instance when B-roll can be effective is when a client is part of a special event, which could be a corporate announcement, a trade show, or a fundraiser. These are often timely events and need to be produced with quick turnaround. Finally, many clients keep a “Corporate B-roll Package” on hand. Typically, these are evergreen clips that showcase their client, in the event a news story comes up that requires more generic video clips.
The agencies we work with are not in clear agreement on what to put into a B-roll Package and how long it should be. That’s ok, but here are some key elements that should be included:
* Title Slate- This tells the newsdesk editor what the story is and what they might expect. It might also include a suggested lead.
* Contact Slate- This tells them who to contact for additional information. Both the Title Slate and Contact Slate are created so that if the B-roll Package is all the editor has before them, they will have sufficient information to research and run the story.
* Table of Contents- We recommend that the B-roll Package has a Table of Contents that notes the coming clips and the Time Code. This makes it easy for the editor to shuttle through the material and find what they are looking for. Since the package is usually in the hands of a news editor, time is of the essence. Anything you can do to make the editors life easier is a good thing.
* B-roll Content- Finally, the actual clips. Traditionally B-roll Packages include product clips if it’s a product roll-out; event footage if it’s a special event or show; corporate signage, especially if it’s a high-profile client; interview clips, which may include executives and/or subject matter specialists discussing the client’s product, service or event.
There can be more that gets included in a B-roll Package, but these are some of the basics. Keep in mind that frequently, interview clips are not used in the news story. However, it can still be a good idea to include these clips for two reasons. It helps demonstrate in your words what the story is about. Additionally, if your spokesperson or subject matter specialist is available to the media, it demonstrates their media readiness. Most of the B-roll Packages we produce are around 7-10 minutes in length, but we’ve created shorter and longer packages in the past. It really depends on how much material you feel you need to provide.
Finally, a value that we provide to our clients, is a Teaser Package. We edit a few of the key sound bites, along with some of the essential B-roll, into a 90-second piece that can be used to pitch your story. It’s not really meant to be used as anything but a pitch piece, but demonstrates to the newsdesk editor the possibilities. This site has more great information about B-roll.
The following is a recent B-roll Package we created for a product roll-out. We think it’s a good example and in this instance, the client got particularly good media coverage from it.
Feel free to email us with questions!