27 Video Formats and Styles to Inspire You

A collection of video styles to inspire your next post or campaign on social media or traditional media.

1. Narrator Video

An invisible narrator is telling the story creating distance between you and the subject which can – depending on the story – give a feel of fantasy, romance, wonder, or expertise (if the voice is the one of an expert in the field in case of a scientific video). This can be your best option if you have a lot of B-rolls and no time to shoot.

2. First-Person Video

The story is – also  about you (or the person/ spokesperson/ brand you’re trying to promote). You’re the main character in the video, asking, investigating, suggestion, explaining. The camera is following you and you’re sending the message. Use this video if you or the main player are a charismatic people, professionals and experts in the subject at hand. Remember “the messenger is the message”: the message will only reach your audience if you’re capable of carrying it.

3. Infographics video

Tell it with graphics. Has been used extensively in the past few years and is somehow becoming a has-been style. Nevertheless, can still attract people in an academic, training or NGO context.

4. Green Screen Infographics

To make infographics more lively and “human”, add a narrator that will turn the infographic into a story, lead the spectator through the process, explain, and throw jokes to wake the viewer…

5. Props Videos

Show it with objects. Despite a much lower cost than production, videos using can be more impactful just by using small elements to show by example.

6. PIP Videos

Picture in Picture (PIP) videos are Ideal for academic videos and online training. While the video is playing or the steps are performed on the screen, your face shows in a corner giving the impression that you’re actually there now (even if the video is not live).

7. DIY Small Budget Video

You have a limited budget. Use Internet libraries for photos, music, transitions. Make it short and meaningful. Three elements are necessary to succeed: a good camera and lens (amateur, semi-professional or professional equipment), good lighting (extremely important in low light situation or outdoors – choose the right time), and semi-professional microphone (missing from this video).

8. Photo Montage Slideshow Video

You have a stack of photos, nothing else. Use Microsoft PowerPoint to create a slideshow, add some music and effects, and you’re done! Or, better, use Adobe After Effects to make it professional.

9. Traditional Ad

Still trending despite the fact that it has not shown results in terms of ROI. You can use those to display “power” but not to sell.

We prefer the “story” approach with tackles with the science of influence using either reasoning, show by example, or emotions.

10. Ads with a Twist, Branding Commercials

If your commercial video is about your brand and your persona, it will succeed. Use psychology, sociology and storytelling to talk to your audience. A brand is about a feeling, not a product.

11. Emotional Ads / Stories

The brand becomes a “trojan horse” inside the Ad. The Ad is about you or people like you, the brand is only a tool that gets you from your current situation to a better one.

12. Social Experiment

Use real case experiments to show your point. Be aware that this raises ethical and legal issues and must be carefully conducted.

13. Whiteboard Animations

Can be done using specialized software (low cost) or a manual process. This is very simple to create. Success depends largely on the quality of the 2D drawings you make and the sequencing and narration.

14. Animation and Motion Graphics

2D, 3D, CGI (computer generated graphics), the possibilities are endless…

15. Claymation or Muppet Movies

Using clay, toys, puppets, dolls or else, can, in some situations and for some audiences, make an impact.

16. Interactive Videos

Turn your video into a game where the user chooses his own ending. Netflix has experienced this with Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch.

17. Documentary

Use a traditional approach to presenting your subject. Remember that this requires a lot of preparation in terms of research, script, analysis and interviews… A documentary is almost never shorter than 20 minutes.


18. News-like

Similar to documentaries, they rely heavily on still photos, animation, text overlay, b-rolls, infographics, supers and voice-overs

19. Cognitive Dissonance and Trigger Ads

Defy logic or bring elements that have nothing to do with the problem at hand. Make it fun or weird. It will stick in people’s mind as it challenges their expectations and is out of the ordinary.

Associate your product with ideas and activities in people’s lives: words, top of mind, habits (coffee in the morning), locations…

20. Live / Streaming Videos

Facebook, YouTube and other platforms and tools (like OBS studio) allow you to live stream. The main take out here is live interaction with your audience. Can be used as a support or education tool or to show an event as it occurs.


21. Full Movies

If you have money, time and imagination, and a team of experts – or youth (allowing you to spare time) and a solid stomach (allowing you to live on sandwiches), go for the full package (animated, or with real actors) to transmit your message.


22. Video Clips

Say it with Music…

23. “Programmed” incidents and fake scandals

Use clips filmed “by surprise” with a smartphone or low budget cameras (however make sure the quality is good enough) to spread rumor, curiosity and create interest and follow-up on other platforms and channels.

24. User Generated Content or Citizen Journalism

Let customers do the content for you. Encourage and empower users, launch competitions, hashtags, events, communities, make the brand about THEM, not YOU.

25. Leaks

Leak a video to a small seeding population and let it go viral. Depending on your strategy and objectives, you may leak other videos or names to create a buzz.

26. Interviews

Two cameras or more, one location or vox pop (a.k.a. “man on the street“, interviews with members of the public), can be an easy way to send a message or promote a product or event…

27. Deep Fakes

To make this article as extensive as possible, deep fakes are a new technology allowing you to put words in other people’s or animated character’s mouth.

Remember, the rule is not to copy but to innovate. This list is here to help you in your first step: knowing what’s out there. The rest is up to you and your imagination.

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