Defining film titles and briefing commissioned productions in a target-oriented way is not that easy. Nevertheless, the identification of categories and types of film should be at the beginning of any collaboration on projects involving moving images and in the context of communication video. Because this is the only way video production and client can be successful.
In the case of commissioned videos, the way in which the type of film is defined is key to the success of a moving image campaign. Granted, how you label a web video in a commissioned production doesn’t make the work any better, nor does mislabeling it bother viewers.
The crux of defining film names
The difficulty lies in what the producer derives from the term mentioned by the client on the basis of the film name when a request for a corporate video is made, or later when the collaboration is launched. The term advertising video or image film mentioned without hesitation in a briefing does not mean that everything is clear with it.
A comparative example shows the scope of the correct designation of film types: Anyone who invites family friends to their holiday home for a weekend together and explains that the offspring are also welcome does not expect the grandparents to accompany them. Grandpa will be rather limited in his enthusiasm for the extra children’s tricycle provided.
Or, to put it another way, if you order a science textbook from the library, you don’t expect comics.
Terminology in commissioned productions
The conscious handling of correct terminology can perform mainly 2 tasks for the communication with film and for the creation of an image film:
- On the one hand, the right terminology allows us to call the child by its adequate name from the very beginning. It thus helps to avoid misunderstandings in the cooperation between producer and customer at an early stage. Misunderstandings are usually costly affairs in moving image communication.
- On the other hand, a conscious use of terminology forces us to deal with the core task of the video and thus to focus. No film can serve all purposes for every audience on all distribution channels in every territory. Accordingly, even film name should not indicate the opposite.
Open-ended definitions such as “experiential film” are euphonious, but make similar sense to a shooter who buys his ammunition before deciding on a type of weapon.
Classic names of commissioned videos
|Name categories Video / Film types|
|Image film||The image film conveys brand values: It turns competence into an experience. To this end, he uses a staged or documentary approach. The common thread is the story. It ties in with a company-specific reference point from the viewer’s life world.|
|Social Video||Social video differs from web video in that it is designed to interact with the viewer (user).|
|Product film||The product film as a type of film puts unique selling points of products and services in the right light. The depth of information, emotionality and dramaturgy are based on the previous knowledge of the addressees, the market environment and the distribution channels. Sequences with information character are mostly closely interlocked with the presentation of the benefit (benefit / customer advantage).|
|Moodfilm||The mood film puts products, values or changes in the working environment into the right context. It creates a basic consensus. The mood film thus plays a relevant role in building loyalty to existing and future customers. Mood films are often also part of successful change and motivation processes.|
Other video terms
|Name designations for film types|
|Testimonial||Testimonials focus on the opinion and behaviour of people with reference and role model character. Their messages aim for the highest level of authenticity. Formally, testimonials as a type of film follow a documentary style, often TV style.|
|Web video||A web video (online video), also called internet video, is a film that can be viewed in digital form on a website and was primarily designed and produced for this purpose.|
|Serial videos||Serial videos serve stakeholders in a regular rhythm with content from the company. For this purpose, an editorial team conceived its own broadcasting vessels / video formats, developed programme structures and defined programme colours. The implementation is carried out with experienced news teams and, depending on the shooting location, with our global network.|
|Interactive moving image||Find interactive movies are a standalone movie category. These include virtual tours, in online games and interactive product presentations.|
|360 videos||360 videos are also called immersive moving images or spherical media. They consist of a recorded all-round shot.|
|Feature||The feature film is a film work with a fictional plot that serves the purpose of entertainment. Feature films can also be produced, usually as short films, on a commission basis for a client.|
|Commercial||An advertising film (TV spot) or commercial, often colloquially referred to as a TV spot or TV commercial (abbreviation: TVC), is a short film used to advertise a product, brand or service.|
Distinction between film category and film genre
Film categories in corporate videos are different from genre.
Genres are used in fictional plots in storytelling. Unlike film category for commissioned productions, film genre does not denote the content or direction of a video. The genre defines the content and dramaturgical pattern that a film narrative follows.
Here’s how: Define film category correctly for commissioned videos
So what are the correct terms for a film and a type of film? Feature film makers have it easier here. Their market distinguishes between cinema and TV, fiction and documentary, series and single film, and draws on genres.
If film categories are not defined individually, they remain a cost and quality risk in commissioned productions.
For commissioned videos, the definition of the film category must include the purpose / message, duration of use, target audience, film length and distribution channels.
In the case of image film, product film and online videos, filmic half-knowledge often dominates with regard to designations due to a lack of universally valid definitions.
Tips and tricks from practice
The following tips and tricks will help you find your way through the jungle:
- The terms advertising film, commercial or TV spot are not very catchy, even if online advertising videos are meant. Here it should be clear to all involved that in the area of conflict between purchase intention, image, awareness and sympathy, the comma must be brought to the point in a cinematic way in the shortest possible time.
- Corporate film or marketing video is usually used as a counter term to commercial film. Image film, product film, testimonial, film series, educational video or CEO statements with moving images form a possible subgroup of these as a film type. Here, the film length is not calculated in seconds, and distribution is usually not via television.
- Open or restricted terms such as “experience film” are only permitted if they are defined.
- It is not advisable to use terms that only refer to the distribution channel. These are indeed in vogue. However, online video today can mean almost any film that is accessible via the Internet, regardless of whether it is an advertising spot or a corporate film.
- The naming of reference productions, films which are similar to your own project in terms of their aim, style and quality, is also helpful.
Comparably confusing as the definition of a film type is the handling of the terms film format and video format. Here too, the correct use and choice of term (colloquial or terminus technicus) helps to avoid costly errors.
Conclusion on Defining Film Categories
The chances of production failure are often the result of negligent project analysis. Erroneous analyses can also occur when defining film types due to misdeclaration of intentions and due to incorrect designation of a web video or film. This risk is completely unnecessary and easy to avoid.
To put it plainly: without an awareness that it is not possible to define film without film types, terms in commissioned productions continue to be the equivalent of the fabulous Wolpertinger in the animal world. Already mentioned in the antiquity and to admire among other things in the Munich hunt and fishery-museum several times as taxidermy, no specimen of the Wolpertinger resembles the other.
You need to know
- A film production infers – often unconsciously and from the inside view – from technical terms back to further parameters. For them it is clear where the production values are set in an image video and how the dramaturgy works in a web video. If a client understands the same term differently, misunderstandings and problems are inevitable.
- All, without exception, terms relating to film types must therefore always be defined together. Especially since many terms such as “tourism film” are very fuzzy and leave a lot of room for (different) interpretations.
- The naming of film types for commissioned productions must always be based on the purpose of the video and the intended effect.
Last but not least: the “marketing” of commissioned videos should already be considered at the briefing stage and should be able to flow into the considerations about the way the project is made. Only then is it possible to efficiently plan, for example, photos or film stills for the YouTube video thumbnail that will later be needed for marketing.
After all, an image film that no one sees because it can’t be found on YouTube makes about as much sense as no image film or website without SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The success of commissioned productions also lies in the correct use of terminology.
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