Ben Achtenberg (
Wed, 17 Apr 2002 08:32:21 -0700 (PDT)

Sorry, it's editor's shorthand for footage whose primary purpose is to
illustrate or complement what's being said in the interviews or narration
(the "a-roll.") Example: the on-screen expert is talking about the fact
that global warming may result in the flooding of low-lying countries, and
the film cuts away to a shot of a South Pacific atoll -- that's b-roll.

Now, the environmental producer has probably not been able to foot the bill
to send a crew to Polynesia for one shot, so instead, she's purchased the
shot from a "stock footage" agency or from another producer. To understand
the problem I'm talking about, imagine that the shot came from a tourist
promotion film for Tahiti. In editing the shot into her new film our
producer has of course removed the inappropriately cheerful soundtrack, but
has failed to realize that the original film was also closed-captioned,
since the captioning is invisible unless viewed with the decoder. Result:
in the midst of the expert's serious discussion, we suddenly see on-screen
text that's totally unrelated.


At 04:19 PM 4/16/02 -0700, you wrote:
>What's B-roll?
>At 04:06 PM 02/04/16, you wrote:
> >Here's an interesting little quirk of modern video making -- I've been
> >trying to warn all our filmmakers about it and realized that it's something
> >media buyers should be alert to as well:
> >
> >At least five times in the last month we've had films submitted to us that
> >incorporated stock or archival footage as "b-roll." Unbeknownst to the
> >filmmaker, the source film that the footage was taken from was
> >closed-captioned. Since the new film was NOT captioned, the original
> >captioning was preserved in the b-roll footage.
>--- --- --- --- --- --- ---
>Susan Weber
>Media Librarian
>Langara College
>Advanced Education Media Acquisitions Centre (AEMAC)
>Fast Forward Educational Media Showcase
>May 8-9, 2002
>100 West 49th Avenue
>Vancouver, British Columbia Canada V5Y 2Z6
>Tel. (604) 323-5533 Fax. (604) 323-5475
>--- --- --- --- ---