For entrepreneurs or video creators who are diving into video marketing, it’s crucial to know the different styles of video and when you should use them.

Why? Imagine a singer who hits the stage but can’t hit the right notes or stay in tune. The audience feels confused and annoyed. Tomatoes might even start flying, right? Well, if you’re using the wrong video style to convey your message, you could get out of tune with your audience.

illustration of film strip showing different video styles using a stick figure, cartoon character and live person
Choosing the right style of video can make all the difference. Illustration by Vladanland

Not to worry.

We’re going to tell you all about the different styles of video and show you examples of each. We’ll also let you know when and where you should use a certain type, and we’ll give you the tools to help you create them.

And don’t forget, no matter what style you’re looking for, our video production team can help you out! Here are the 9 different styles of video and when to use them:

1. Live action videos

Live action video is a recording of either still or moving objects. It’s about real people and real locations, rather than creating things digitally. Live action videos can showcase a charismatic spokesperson or highlight the people in your office. They can be funny or informative, entertaining or educational.

When and where to use live action

Tutorial videos

Live action is one of the best ways to create an emotional bond with your viewers. On YouTube, how-to and tutorial videos featuring real people work very well because seeing a flesh-and-blood person generates empathy and understanding within your audience.

Welcome videos

Add a human face to your digital interface with a live action welcome video on your website. This friendly contrast can often be the catalyst for your prospect to take action, buy your product, or reach out to you.

“About me” videos

Tell your story in your own words with your own voice. “About me” videos are a perfect fit for live action because human faces and real stories add credibility and authenticity.

Sales videos

Sales videos benefit from live action because it adds more layers to your marketing. Remember, customers aren’t necessarily buying your product (there might be hundreds of others like it). They’re buying your whole brand and how it makes them feel.

Live action video tools

A camera, any camera.

To make a live action video, you’ll need equipment that can capture live action—and that means, a camera. Depending on your budget and desired look, your webcam, smartphone, tablet, or any number of DSLR cameras will do. You can actually create some incredible looking video by just using your phone, but it’s all about knowing how to use your camera right.

2. Animation

Animation is a video style made from many still images. When images are played together one after another, they give the illusion of movement. This style is great for depicting something that can’t be found in the real world. For instance, it’s usually cheaper and easier to animate an imaginary character or a sci-fi environment than to recreate them in the real world. Animation is also ideal if you have no film crew or actors available.

There are three animation styles: 2D, 3D, and stop-motion. 2D animation is flat like a comic or a cartoon. 3D animation has dimension and depth, like most modern animated films and video games. Stop-motion animation is built by capturing individual frames of real-world objects, like a “claymation” movie.

When and where to use it

Marketing and promotional videos

Show off your unique brand with animated marketing and promotional videos that perfectly reflect your brand’s style, energy, and personality.

Explainer videos

Explainer videos that showcase the details of your product or service don’t have to be dry and boring. Spice things up with some animation and make your videos entertaining and engaging.

Animation tools

Biteable

Biteable helps you create easy, inexpensive, studio-quality animation. Just select your favorite character, infographic, or effect, and then edit the text. Pricing starts at $20/month.

3. Whiteboard videos

Whiteboard animation tells a creative story with pictures drawn on a whiteboard (or something that resembles a whiteboard) by artists who record their artistic process. Whether it’s basic stick figures or more complicated constructs, when you need to explain a practical process in an easily digestible way, a whiteboard video is perfect.

When and where to use it

Whiteboard videos are great for number-heavy presentations because they make it easy to get a good rhythm of alternating talking and writing to maximize viewer comprehension. Draw thought bubbles, graphs, diagrams, charts, or anything creative to enhance your informational video!

Whiteboard tools

Doodly

Doodly helps you create whiteboard (or black, green, and glassboard) videos in just seconds—all for $39/month.

4. Motion graphics videos

Motion graphics videos are a style of animation that uses text and shapes to communicate, but these types of video don’t usually tell a story. These videos typically add music, sound, and voice-over to convey simple information with energy and power.

When and where to use it

Motion graphics effectively communicate complicated ideas in an easily digestible way. This makes them ideal when trying to describe a product, service or depict a result. When you want to show how you mean to accomplish something or how something was accomplished, motion graphics are a great way of getting the job done.

Motion graphics tools

Biteable

Biteable helps you create easy, inexpensive, studio-quality animation. Just select your character, infographic, or effect, and then edit the text. Pricing starts at $20/month.

Powtoon

With easy-to-use templates and a super-simple interface, Powtoon helps you create engaging and captivating motion graphics videos that fit your brand. Pricing starts at $16/month.

5. Typography videos

Moving text or kinetic typography is an animation technique that blends movement and words to express ideas. Some people respond to visuals, and some respond to the written word. Kinetic typography is a great way to grab the attention of both!

Seeing words in motion can even evoke sensations of sound and weight. For instance, large, thick, vibrating words can seem loud and heavy, while small, thin, flowing words can seem soft and effortless.

When and where to use it

Typography is a great technique when you have one simple concept or feeling to share. In the above video, the way that particular words look and move evokes certain emotions. When you want to cram information into a short timeframe, fast typography is an awesome choice. Even if your prospects don’t consciously catch every word, subconsciously they’ll get the gist. Kinetic typography can “do the talking” and pack in tons of energy without making a sound.

Kinetic typography tools

Animaker

Animaker is an online do-it-yourself animation video maker that brings beautiful presentations within everyone’s reach. It’s free to try, with full features starting at $39/month.

Moovly

Moovly is a cloud-based platform that enables users to create and generate multimedia content: animated videos, video presentations, animated infographics and any other video content that includes a mix of animation and motion graphics. It’s free to try with full features starting at $25/month.

6. Screencast videos

A screencast (or screen capture) is a digital recording of a computer screen, often containing voice-over narration. It’s a no-frills method of teaching, regularly employed by tech businesses to showcase a software product.

When and where to use it

Screencasts are arguably the most efficient way to explain how certain application works. Trying to explain how to use an app using just words and images can be a challenge. Screencasts take viewers through the exact procedure, so all they need to do is follow along and do what they see. Easy.

Screencast tools

Camtasia

Camtasia is a software suite for creating video tutorials and presentations directly via screencast, or PowerPoint. Start using it for free!

Screenflow

Screenflow is a screencasting and video editing software for macOS. It can capture the audio and video from the computer, edit the captured video, add highlights or annotation, and output a number of different file types like AIFF, GIF, M4V, MOV, and MP4.

7. Live action screencast

Live action screencast videos combine the best of on-camera or on-screen videos with screencast videos.

By switching back and forth between live action and your computer screen, you can harness both formats. For those of you who want to insert a little personality into your demonstration, this is a surefire technique.

When and where to use it

Live action screencast is perfect for YouTube how-to videos and video blog posts because it solves the problem of boredom. Screencasts are effective, but often lack flair. For those who want a bit more entertainment value with their education, a live action screencast is the perfect solution.

Hybrid video tools

Zoom

Zoom is an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems. Get a free trial!

YouTube Live

YouTube Live lets you share your videos with friends, family, and the world.  And it’s free!

8. Live streaming

Live streaming broadcasts live video straight to your viewers on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or on your own website.

When and where to use it

This one’s all about social media. Live streaming is excellent when you want to bring your audience into a current and intimate experience. If you’re covering an event and you want an instant interaction from your audience, live streaming is the way to go. Keep in mind, build your audience first because this technique works best when you already have a following.

Video streaming tools

Facebook Live

Facebook Live is a way to broadcast live to your Facebook followers.

Instagram Live

Instagram Live is an app which broadcasts you live to your followers in real time.

OBS Studio

Open Broadcaster Software is a free and open-source cross-platform streaming and recording program.

9. Photo montage

Photo montages or slideshows combine photos with music and voiceover to tell a story and usually conjure up deep emotions. These are great to recap events, especially milestones like anniversaries, weddings, and birthdays.

When and where to use it

Social media posts, welcome videos, and “about me” videos are great places for photo montages because they all offer an opportunity to show off some emotional content. Tapping into your prospects positive emotions is the first step toward getting conversions.

Photo montage tools

Animoto

Animoto is a cloud-based video creation service that produces video from photos, video clips, and music into video slideshows and customized web-based presentations. It starts at $8/month.

How to choose a video style

Now that you know what different styles of video are out there, ask yourself these questions to decide which one is right for you.

What do I want to do?

Start by asking yourself: what is the intended outcome of my video? Of course, there are no hard and fast rules, but certain styles tend to fit better than others.

Want to build an audience by entertaining people? Consider animation. Need to teach prospects how to do something? Check out whiteboard video. Want to talk directly to your customers? Take a look at live action.

Who am I talking to? And what am I talking about?

Having a laugh with your buddy at the bar requires a different approach than asking your boss for a raise in her office. Bars call for loud gestures, big laughs, and lots of energy. The office on the other hand, is not the place.

Know your audience and it’ll be easier to narrow down the voice and tone in which to communicate to them. This makes it easier to decide between a more traditional style (like live action or a photo montage) or something a little more dynamic (like animation or motion graphics).

How much can I spend?

Great videos can be created at any budget, but certain types of videos are typically more expensive than others.

For example, live action can get pricey if you have lots of actors and locations. Animation and motion graphics both require graphic designers and animators. In general, everything gets more expensive the more complicated it becomes, so think of ways to simplify your idea while still communicating your message.

DIY solutions are options, too. Like using a smartphone instead of a professional camera or drawing something yourself rather than hiring artists. Anything is possible, but don’t forget about quality. Always make sure that if you’re doing it yourself, you’re setting yourself up for success with the best possible quality.

What works with my brand?

If your brand was a sports team, then your marketing efforts would be all your players. And as a potential player, your video strategy needs to fit in. Pick a video style like you’d pick a player and maintain the authenticity of your brand.

If you’ve got a kid-friendly brand with a mascot, but market with live action video, your audience might not get it. Or vice versa, if you’re a real, “in the world” company, but release a bunch of whiteboard videos, folks might not pay attention.

Tune up your branding with the right style of video

Now that you know the nine styles of video for marketing and when to use them, you can hit all the right notes with the crowd. Find a style that works for you, and brainstorm a great idea with your team. Whatever type you choose, make sure you stay true to your brand identity and strive for the best possible quality and you’ll be on the right track to reap all the benefits of video marketing.

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