Local filmmaker creates website of free b-roll footage

While Paul Gorman was working on his second feature-length film, he needed some b-roll of San Francisco.

While Paul Gorman was working on his second feature-length film, he needed some b-roll of San Francisco.

He went searching for it, but ended up having to travel to the City by the Bay as the footage he found was out of his limited budget.

“I found some, but it was very expensive,” he said.

This obstacle in the filmmaking process sparked an idea for the Ames Lake resident. The result is B-Roll Cloud, a website where filmmakers can upload b-roll footage and producers can search for clips and download them to use in their work — at no cost.

“We give it away, or we donate b-roll film to independent filmmakers,” Gorman said.

The website is still in its infancy — having launched in April — but Gorman has spent the last two years traveling and shooting b-roll footage. He said he has a fair amount of Seattle footage as well as footage from Italy. Still on Gorman’s list to travel to and shoot are New York and Los Angeles. Internationally, he said Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Paris, London, Amsterdam and Vietnam are all places he would like to shoot.

“There’s so many places to go,” he said.

When shooting b-roll, which he described as background shots — mostly used to support narrations and voiceovers —  Gorman looks for iconic landmarks and buildings in a city such as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Seattle’s Space Needle or Rome’s Colosseum.

“I like to get just a slice of life, too,” he said.

Gorman, who grew up on the Eastside and attended Redmond Junior High School and Redmond High School, said in addition to having a hard time finding b-roll, filmmakers also often have unused footage that they would never use. B-Roll Cloud would give them the opportunity to put their unused footage to good use and receive credit for their work if others end up using it.

B-Roll Cloud is Gorman’s second film-related company. His first is his production company Rain City Cinema, which is putting out “Beagle Boogie Babe,” the documentary that prompted him to start B-Roll Cloud. The film is about Joan Carson, a female skydiving pioneer who went to high school with Gorman and died in 1981.

Just as B-Roll Cloud is his second endeavor into the filmmaking industry, filmmaking is Gorman’s second career. Before this he worked in electrical engineering, which he retired from in 2008.

While his day job brought in an income, filmmaking has always been a passion for Gorman. He attended film school in the 1980s and worked locally in the Seattle film industry for about five years before switching gears. He returned to filmmaking in 1997 when he started Rain City Cinema and began making short films while still working as an electrical engineer.

Gorman said B-Roll Cloud is not geared toward Hollywood as they wouldn’t have any interest in it since those filmmakers have the resources to shoot their own b-roll. Instead, his company is geared more toward independent filmmakers who may not have the resources to travel to shoot b-roll.

“They do it for the passion of it and the art of it,” he said, rather than for the money.

Footage on B-Roll Cloud could also be used by local TV news stations who would need b-roll film quickly, in home movies as well as in student projects.

Although B-Roll Cloud is less than two months old, Gorman said he has received emails from people expressing their appreciation.

“There’s definitely a need for it…People have been using it,” he said. “It’s catching on.”