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How compelling Broadway b-roll gets made

The co-founders of HMS Media explains the process behind capturing footage for Broadway shows.

The team from HMS Media films b-roll of the pre-Broadway production of “On Your Feet!” (Credit: Courtesy of HMS Media)

B-roll is designed to generate excitement about a show, and capturing the footage is an art form unto itself. In the context of theater, b-roll is the accepted term for video of the stage production that’s used to market and advertise it in TV ads and appearances and, increasingly, on social media. More than recording what’s onstage, b-roll should forge a connection with potential audiences and existing fans of a show, to bolster the life of a production and serve as a brand extension. 

“It’s an invitation to come see the show,” said Scott Silberstein, co-founder of HMS Media, a Chicago-based production company that’s created b-roll for Broadway shows including “Wicked,” “SIX,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Sweeney Todd” and dozens more. Silberstein, who serves as an executive producer on HMS shoots, noted that one question guides the company’s approach to b-roll: “How do we tell the story of what it’s like to be in the theater, as opposed to simply capturing the show?” 

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