A & B Roll Footage

 

THE LESSON:
 

Discuss the difference between A-roll (the “talking head”) and B-roll.

■ A-roll is referred to as “the talking head” because it is the footage of the main interview.

This is where you see the person responding to the questions being asked by the interviewer.

■ B-roll is the support footage that is used behind the sound of the A-roll. B-roll helps an interview move along more efficiently. It also provides context to what the person being interviewed is saying.

Most importantly, it makes the documentary less boring to look at. No one likes to look at a talking head for five-ten minutes straight.

In fiction films, it establishes setting and important objects for the audience to see. It's the camera's way of saying "look here" and "look even harder!".

Interview Tips

When you are interviewing a subject, you have to decide if you would like a Traditional Interview or a Documentary Style Interview. 

You are probably asking yourself... what is the difference?

Traditional Interviews may or may not have the Interviewer present. However, you will hear the questions from the interviewer and the responses from the interviewee.

Documentary Style interviews you will NOT hear the question. You will only hear the response from the interviewee. 

MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT - make sure that you think about your A and B Roll Shots.

A Roll - Question and Answer
B - Roll - Supportive Action Shots that make the interview more interesting. Also, related to the responses. 

Classic Interview

Documentary Interview