How B-roll Can Save Your Butt

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 8.38.49 AMI guess this is a good week for b-roll. I started the week by blogging about how you can shoot b-roll, provide it as free content and get some publicity from it. Today, it’s how b-roll can save your butt!

I’m sure most of you know what b-roll is, but if you don’t… here’s a descent definition.

Now, back to my story. We produce a monthly vlog for a large trade organization. This month the CEO talked about the outlook for 2013, and he spent a lot of time on what last November’s election is going to mean for them.

The organization’s communications chief usually provides us with photos we can use to cover a lot of what he talks about, but she was at a loss for what to do about the election stuff. He kept mentioning, “what’s going on in Washington,” and talking about Congress.

The initial thought was buying some royalty-free photos, but I told her not to worry about it… we’d take care of it.

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 8.37.10 AMLittle did she know, we have stock b-roll of Washington, DC. I shot it four years ago when I was there on vacation. My college roommate and I met in DC for one of our baseball trips… we saw the Dodgers play the Nationals in DC and the White Sox against the Orioles in Baltimore.

He thought I was crazy when I showed up at the hotel with my video camera and tripod, and I told him I was getting up at 7 a.m. the next morning to shoot some DC b-roll.

His natural question, “Why?”

My answer, “because you never know when you might need some. I’m here and it’s just an hour or two of my time.”

That video sat on the shelf for four years until last week. Our client was super excited after seeing it in the finished video. She even forwarded me the email the CEO sent complimenting her on this month’s vlog.

Think we just earned some customer loyalty? Think she’d be willing to refer us?

Going the extra mile for something as simple as b-roll can pay off big time.

How has b-roll save your butt?

–Tony Gnau