If you've ever wondered what the difference is between a live action video and one that's live-streamed, or how to choose the right style for your brand, we've got you covered.
When you're making videos for your business, it's important to consider the style of each one.
There are a wide variety of different styles of video you can choose, ranging from live action to live streaming, with a ton of possibilities in between. Selecting the right video style for each one means thinking about your goals for that video, whether it’s evergreen content or a campaign.
You may find that you tend towards a certain look and feel for your video marketing overall, one that aligns with your brand and tone. That’s not a bad thing, so long as you test your assumptions. You can even include style preferences in your video marketing strategy, along with guidelines to ensure a consistent approach.
So what kind of video do you need? And how do you make sure that your video is effective and engaging?
We've put together this guide to the different types of videos so that you can learn about your options and see different style examples below.
Live Action Video Styles
Live action constitutes any video comprised of real-world footage, typically including real live people. It's one of the most common video styles, likely due in part to its sheer accessibility. Live action videos can range in production quality from smartphone clips up to professionally-produced films. They can be scripted (like a talking head video) or unscripted (like an interview).
A lot of different types of video can be made using the live action style. Here are just a few examples:
Talking Head Video
Talking head videos are short clips featuring someone speaking directly into the camera, often about a specific topic or product. These videos are great for educating your audience about your business or introducing them to your product. For example, a talking head video could introduce you as the CEO of your company and explain why you started it in the first place.
Because the focus is on a single person, talking heads are great for establishing expertise on a topic and are popular for thought leadership videos.
If you have a product that's easy to demonstrate, you can use a talking head video to show it off. You can also use a talking head video to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at your company's offices or products in action.
Interviews are another common type of live action video that can feature one person or multiple people talking about a topic of interest or answering questions from an interviewer (or "host"). Interviews are great for giving viewers insight into what makes your company unique and give them an opportunity to hear directly from people who work there about their experiences with using your products or services.
Interview-style videos are also a great way to give your video collection a boost and attract an audience who cares about your industry and what you have to offer.
They can be shot on multiple cameras, edited together for a more dynamic feel and can have one person on-camera, talking head-style, who’s being interviewed by an off-camera interviewer.
The interviews themselves can focus on things like advice, trends, company culture and more. Get creative: Try filming an ask me anything (AMA) session with your CEO or a fireside chat with a partner company.
Vlogs are just how they sound, video-based blogs to replace traditional blog posts like this.
When creating a company vlog or shooting talking head videos, be sure to think about who will be the face(s). You might choose one person or a small team who will trade off episodes.
Many YouTube and other social creators do this frequently to produce a more genuine approach to brand storytelling.
Animated Video Styles
When it comes to video styles, animation can be a great choice for your brand. Animation is often used for explainer videos and brand stories because it can be so engaging. Sometimes as entertaining as your childhood favorite Saturday morning cartoons, and other times as practical as an illustration of a concept, there are a bunch of different video animation styles, including:
- 2D animation videos
- 3D animation videos
- Motion graphic videos
- Animated typography videos
- Stop-motion animation videos (including cutout animation and claymation)
- Whiteboard animation videos
When it comes to different styles, 2D is typically the most classic-looking animation style, while 3D lends a more Pixar-type feel to characters.
There are a number of different styles for creating animation. These include motion graphics, stop-motion, and whiteboard animation. Motion graphics are popular for explainer videos as they illustrate a concept in a clear, often minimalist, style. Animated typography works nicely for quotes and other videos where the text is the most important element.
Stop-motion involves using real objects and capturing movement one frame at a time. You can achieve this style with a variety of materials. Some of the most popular are clay or plasticine (as used in claymation) and paper (as in cut-out animation). This approach tends to lend a whimsical feel to whatever is being animated.
Whiteboard animation is an easy and accessible animation form. There are a number of low-cost tools designed to let anyone (even the less artistic among us) create a video that looks like it was doodled on a whiteboard.
Motion graphics are popular for explainer videos as they illustrate a concept in a clear, often minimalist, style. Animated typography works nicely for quotes and other videos where the text is the most important element.
Live Streaming Video
When you think about how much time we spend on social media, it’s crazy that live streaming video hasn’t been a big deal until recently.
As the name suggests, live streaming video is broadcast as it happens so that viewers can watch in real-time. Though it’s available on a number of social media platforms, Facebook has been a big driver of the format.
Considered a distinct content type by the network, live video gets more interaction than regular Facebook video. Plus, notifications prompt users to watch live streams from pages they follow while they’re happening. On LinkedIn, broadcasters get 7x more reactions and 24x more comments on live streams than on regular videos.
Live video is also available on Instagram, YouTube, and a number of live-focused and niche platforms (such as Twitch, which is popular with gamers).
A variety of video types can be broadcast this way, from live interviews to real-time announcements to as-it-happens tutorials.
You've probably seen some 360-degree videos floating around the internet. If you haven't, let me tell you: they're pretty cool.
360-degree video records a view in every direction at the same time. This is achieved by using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. You can view these videos through a headset, which shows you different parts of the scene depending on which direction you turn your head, or via a standard screen, where audience members click or tap to change the view.
This format is a good choice for brands looking to put an interactive spin on their content. It works best when there is an immersive scene that includes points of interest in all directions: like, say, an activity or place. Brands have used it effectively to provide a unique perspective on an activity—like showing how people play sports—or to showcase a space or place—like giving viewers the experience of "being there."
Screen Share Videos
When you need to show someone something, screen share videos are the way to go.
Screen share videos are recordings of a person's computer or mobile screen. They can be highly produced or scrappy recordings made using free tools. Some allow for audio narration to be recorded alongside the video footage.
These tools allow you to record the clip to add a bubble to the bottom left corner that shows the view from their webcam (typically of their face) to add a personal element to the recording.
Let's wrap this up!
When you're creating your first video, you might be a little overwhelmed by all of the choices. There are so many different styles to choose from!
If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't worry. You'll likely use different video styles for different video projects, depending on the type of video, the intended audience, your goals, and more.
Be sure to test out different style options for your videos. See what best suits your brand and its tone and discover what your audience responds to.
Keep in mind that some video styles can be combined to create a unique look and feel.