The Different Types of Videography
We’ve been in the videography business for a while now. Like, to the tune of 30 years. So it’s not an overstatement to say we know a thing or two about what it takes to craft a compelling narrative.
Part of the beauty of the mediums of film and video is the flexibility they offer storytellers and content creators. In fact, when you’re a videographer, the real challenge is often deciding what type of video or editing technique will best serve your story. And that’s because a shot, scene, sequence, or entire video can be shot in any combination of ways.
Keep reading for an introductory look at the six main types of videography. And learn how each one can help you create videos that stand out and leave an impression on your audience.
An Art Form
What Is Videography?
Videography is the art of using video mediums to create stories and content. For businesses and other organizations such as non-profits, videography can help to raise brand awareness, champion a specific cause, bring light to an important issue, or explain the perks of a product or service. We might be biased, but video is a powerful storytelling tool. And we’ve seen firsthand the tangible benefits that a high-quality video can deliver.
But videography is more than just hitting record on a camera. It’s an art that combines multiple techniques to capture footage, edit cuts together, compose music, and design sound so that the final product is as refined and as effective as possible.
A videographer is well versed in these techniques, even if they must partner with collaborators to execute them and achieve their desired effects. A videographer doesn’t need to know how to compose music, but they should know whether a given song will complement a moment in their video or ruin it. When collaborators get together to make a video, one way to keep everyone on the same page is to agree on what type of video you’re making.
6 Types of Videography
Like all art forms, today’s videographers stand on the shoulders of the artists who came before them. Over the decades, videographers have called upon certain styles and techniques to help tell their stories. Often, the videography styles and techniques they employ depend on the type of story they want to tell. In other words, video style is driven by genre.
A genre is like a promise that the video makes to a viewer. When a film touts itself as a “scary movie,” it promises to deliver scares. To (hopefully) follow through on that promise, the film might employ unsettling framing and lighting techniques, intense acting performances, spastic cuts (jump-scares, anyone?), and an eerie soundtrack.
New genres are being created all the time. Some genres fade in popularity while others have been with us since the rise of the movie theater. The general tastes and preferences of the audience serve as the driving force behind which genre rises to the top and which ones lose steam.
For companies trying to reach a business audience, genres are more about what types of video will best articulate a brand’s mission and its products or services. What follows are the B2B genres (i.e., types of videography) that have proven themselves time and again—and are unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon.
1. Documentary Videos
Documentary videos are journalistic in their approach and are well suited to capture stories grounded in the human experience. A non-profit may use a documentary video to show how a storm has devastated a poverty-stricken area to raise money for food, clothing, and other supplies. Even for-profit brands will use documentary videos to showcase how their products and services are making a real difference in the lives of customers.
A documentary video will feature one or more “talking head” interviews. These are interviews conducted to capture subjects sharing their experiences and thoughts as they relate to the story. These interviews are intercut with B-roll footage that features the subjects living their lives and tackling the issues the video seeks to highlight.
Filming a documentary video involves doing factual research, conducting interviews, and weaving together an accurate and truthful narrative. These videos usually feature framing, lighting, editing, and sound techniques that emphasize the emotion of a story.
Documentary videos don’t have to be centered on a heavy topic either, such as true crime. Our Artcraft documentary showcases the beauty and purpose behind the art of traditional sign-making. It’s just one of the many documentary videos we’ve been proud to work on.
2. Promotional Videos
Promotional videos tend to be short and sweet. While there’s no hard or fast runtime, you’ll usually find them in the 30- to 90-second range. These videos are all about building awareness of a brand or its products and services—while at the same time building a sense of excitement. In terms of marketing, a promotional video will sit at the top of the funnel, meaning they aren’t meant to explain your products and services in detail. Really, they’re a fast and easily digestible way to share what makes a brand unique. Sometimes this does include quickly showcasing or even teasing the benefits of a brand’s products or services.
The promotional video we created for Fortnite does a great job of announcing its release on the Nintendo Switch while also generating hype.
3. Animated Videos
Animation is a medium all by itself. And if you think all animation today is generated on a computer, you’d be mistaken. Classic hand-drawn animation and even stop-motion animation still exist as respected, though more tedious, animation options alongside 2D and 3D computer-generated animation.
Animated videos give their creators far greater freedom and control of what happens in the frame. Where a live-action video must coordinate the logistics necessary to film a scene, animators can create the exact same scene on paper, on screen, or with clay. Imagine trying to film alien invaders practically versus animating them in a brilliant 2D world. At Myriad, we’re experts at bringing animated stories to life.
4. Cinematic Videos
Cinematic videos have the production value audiences expect from a film they’d watch in theaters. They use premium cinema cameras and lenses, lighting equipment, and more to create a video that tells the audience the creators care about quality. Of course, a cinematic video that looks glossy and pretty but lacks a compelling story is like a shiny new sportscar without an engine.
The cinematic aesthetic should be embraced as a means to an end, the end being a compelling story that resonates with the audience. The story will always matter more than the look, no matter how polished that look may be. We use film theory and cinematic appeal as tools to craft relatable stories.
5. Tutorial Videos
Tutorial videos, also known as explainer videos, can show how to perform a task or skill. For B2B audiences, they forgo the typical marketing language (e.g., listing value props) to instead show someone the nuts and bolts of how a product or service works. They can exist as marketing collateral to show how easy and streamlined using a product can be. They can also be used to provide training and ongoing support to existing customers.
Tutorial videos can combine live-action and animation elements to help the audience fully understand how something works or how to do something. For example, a tutorial video may feature a car mechanic physically walking through the steps of how to change oil. The live-action footage can be intercut with an animation that clearly shows each step being taken. Tutorial videos can also feature “Camtasia” footage, which is screen-recorded footage of software. Camtasia footage is useful when a software development company wishes to show potential users how to easily navigate its software’s dashboards.
6. Vintage Videos
Creators may opt for a vintage video if they want audiences to feel nostalgia regarding a certain topic. For example, a bride and groom may want a sense of nostalgia built into their wedding video. And companies may opt for a vintage aesthetic that conveys a sense of wisdom and trust to potential customers.
A vintage video can be created by using any combination of videography styles, equipment, and editing techniques. Some may shoot a video entirely digitally but play with color grading and other elements such as sound in post-production. Others may opt to use equipment from a particular era they wish to recreate. This might mean shooting on a 1970s-era Super 16mm camera and using only the kinds of lights and microphones available in that decade.