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Need Toronto B-Roll? The City’s Got You Covered

B-roll—video footage intended to fill out things like news pieces or documentaries—is by itself rarely interesting. But when the City of Toronto prepares ten minutes of it for the use of broadcast outlets covering the G20 summit…it’s still not very interesting. And that’s, at least, a little bit interesting.
After a boilerplate opening (“The G20 in Toronto will bring world leaders and international media to one of the most diverse cities in the world that stands proud as…” etc.), the City’s press release accompanying the video, sent out on Wednesday afternoon, hops to the point—the b-roll is “To help media cover the G20 Summit”; especially if you’re paying attention to how international media covers the summit, this may not be the first time you see it. The b-roll “has footage of the Toronto skyline, waterfront and world renowned CN Tower, the downtown business core and financial district, Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods, and aerial views of the city.” It “is a selection from existing Tourism Toronto footage and is representative of Toronto’s diversity, culture and place in the world as a global financial centre.”
It is, then, a capsule of how the City is aiming to represent itself to the world: very, very safely. B-roll isn’t usually expected to be anything but filler, though there are some signs of life here (a wedding party outside City Hall, cops mingling with the crowd at Pride) amidst the more sterile, tourist bits (like half a minute of Niagara Falls footage). If you wanted to show off Toronto to a world totally unfamiliar with it, you could do worse than the ambient noise–scored clips in this waltz through the city’s most famous things. If you wanted the world to know or understand Toronto, though—well, the G20 won’t allow for much of that anyway.


  • http://undefined davedave

    @ 8:11

  • http://undefined davedave
  • http://undefined sam

    What’s with the exclusion of OCAD, Art Gallery of Ontario, etc. in the ‘Culture & Creativity’ section?

  • David Topping

    They don’t got that b-roll.

  • thelemur

    Those are ducks at 3:56. Big deal.
    OMG uncooked food at 4:24.

  • thelemur

    I watched this trying to imagine that I was completely unfamiliar with the city (hard to do when some sequences were shot right outside my present window) and I have to say it seems pretty swanky in places. And big. It’s probably more impressive with music added.
    And it’s a big improvement over the Toronto/Ontario B-roll that makes up the Canadian portion of WNED’s signoff reel.

  • http://undefined David Toronto

    The video footage is rather dull and unimaginative.
    There’s no sparkle–no imagination.
    It’s a pity the video footage hadn’t been put to
    a competition. Imagine the results that could
    have come from video arts students in our
    community colleges.
    I’ve had porridge that’s more appealing.

  • http://undefined CaligulaJones

    “Imagine the results that could have come from video arts students in our community colleges.”
    Oh, I can. It would probably have more cocks in it (and I don’t mean dead chickens, I mean running down Yonge Street with your trouser schnauzer swinging)
    I don’t quite think you “get” what a b-roll is. Its supposed to be somewhat like wallpaper.

  • http://undefined smasharts

    yeah….but interesting wallpaper. It should convey information, in this case, it should convey at least a feeling. To be frank, this isn’t b-roll at all, and it’s not for b-roll purposes – it’s stock footage. The media who need this footage could get far better and more creative footage by going to the myriad of stock footage sources (CBC, BBC Canada, Getty, etc.) The G20 stuff is free, so they would probably go for that first.

  • http://undefined CaligulaJones

    Ah, good point. I was actually thinking “stock footage” from a still photo point of view. I’ve had too many shots rejected because they were too “artsy”…dull sometimes sells. Or at least, “don’t upstage the product” sells.

  • http://undefined tarte

    You stay classy, Harper. Nice insertion @ 1:46. Very smooth, very subtle, very creepy.

  • http://undefined tarte

    Sorry, I didn’t mean you reply to your post, davedave. btw, good clip choice though, I was thinking the same thing

  • accozzaglia

    Done up home style:
    “Military convoys riding up Spadina Avenue after a major snowstorm?”

  • http://undefined Dave

    I can’t but feel like this is the opening shot for CSI: Toronto. (on CBC?)

  • accozzaglia

    You know, back in 2005-06, I sketched out what a CSI: Toronto would look like and thought that it should have been a great way to expose confused Americans to Canada in a way in which they could relate.
    The theme music was to be The Who’s “Eminence Front”, and the cast was much as a Torontonian might expect it — which is to say a bit more diversified than what Americans (and Albertans) are used to. It would have been awesome.

  • accozzaglia

    Hahahahaha St. Lawrence for the “OMG quease factor ewww” win.

  • http://undefined thelemur

    Yeah, maybe they should have used one of the cheese places or the honey guy. Or the churrasco place. Lacquered duck (with random orange squid) is appealing and exotic, uncooked pork not so much.

  • http://undefined Stephanie

    As someone who dearly loves Toronto, and misses it terribly, I watched this whole thing and just got heartsick for my beloved city. Toronto, I miss you and I love you!

  • Jon

    Great stuff! Is this free to use for anyone’s use?

  • Dexter

    so where can I get it?

  • decoderdm

    Can I also get info where I can download the b-roll footage. Thank you!