How Video Production Differs by Video Type

With over 7,000 videos under our belt for clients in every industry, we can confidently say that all videos are not created equal. The process is inherently personal to the client, and many of the production choices are determined by the client’s audience, distribution channel, or budget.

Possibly the most important choice that the client makes is the type of video they want. We do it all: brand videos, lifestyle videos, crowdfunding videos, animated videos . . . you get the idea. Two of our most-requested video types are lifestyle videos and mini-documentary (mini-doc) videos, so we’re going to break down the production process for each and how they differ.

Lifestyle Videos vs. Mini-Documentary Videos

First, we need a little background. Lifestyle videos are hard to define because they’re so varied, but essentially they display a brand through a fictional narrative.

If this sounds vague, it should, because lifestyle videos really have no limits beyond your own creativity. The goal is to portray the essence of a brand in a form that connects you to the product or service. Here’s an example of a lifestyle video we made for a water sports company.

Mini-doc videos, on the other hand, focus on interviews to tell a real story.

The concept is explained in the title. Mini-documentaries follow the same style and format of full-length documentaries, but they’re shorter in length (think: 30 seconds to 2 minutes). Here’s an example of a mini-doc we made about the 2015 Special Olympics.

The overarching difference in the production process is the stage in the process when the story truly comes together. For lifestyle videos, firming up the storyline must occur in pre-production—before any filming takes place. The process starts with brainstorming the creative concept, and then a script and a storyboard are created. After that, all the choices made in production and post-production are designed to follow the story and bring that initial vision to life.

For mini-doc videos, the story is woven together in post-production. Typically, these videos don’t have a script or storyboard, although a makeshift script may outline the questions the interviewer will ask on set. Interviews conducted during filming may take the story in a different direction than initially imagined, so it’s the editors who have the opportunity to shape the story most effectively. They take the available footage and craft the story arc themselves.

This process makes sense on a fundamental level. Mini-docs tell someone’s real-life story, so any content captured during production is assumed to be authentic to the person’s experience. There’s no need to iron out the details of the story ahead of time because there’s no danger of accidentally deviating from the narrative. Mini-docs trust that the interviewees know their “true” story best, so the magic happens in the editing room instead of in the brainstorming room.

Since lifestyle videos are only limited by the imagination, these decisions have to be made in advance to know what the “true” story is. If a chunk of the story is missing when the footage gets to post-production, editors can’t usually piece together the narrative from other existing footage. This dilemma is why the script and storyboard are so critical. They ensure that nothing important gets overlooked during filming.

Tell Your Own Story

Now that you understand some of the differences in production for two common video types, it’s time to decide how to utilize video content for your organization. Whether you choose a lifestyle video, a mini-doc, or a different kind altogether, video content should be a part of your brand’s marketing strategy. If you need help getting started, that’s where we come in! What are you waiting for?

Alexa Nizam

Alexa Nizam