Video Production vs Film Production: What Is The Difference?

Are you looking for a video for your business, but you keep seeing two terms popping up everywhere – ‘video production‘ and ‘film production’? You might also be wondering the difference between the two. Video production vs film production is a nuanced distinction, but one you should know.


Now, there used to be a simpler answer to this. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and filmmakers still used actual film, the answer lay in what medium you used to make your footage. Unlike film, we recorded video entirely digitally.

Of course, now the majority of films are recorded digitally. This means that the question of video production vs film production is slightly harder to answer. (But that doesn’t mean we won’t!)


What is the difference between video production and film production?


The first difference is a simple one: videos are often short, while films tend to be long. More specifically, you can expect a video to be at least 3 minutes and no more than 30 minutes. Meanwhile, a film can be anywhere between 1 and 3 hours.

Naturally, the longer your project is, the more likely it is that it’s a film rather than a video. What’s more, because films are longer, they require more time, money, resources and people to create them.



A big difference defining video production vs film production is money. It makes sense that with a 2-hour film made for the big screen, you’re going to have to invest a LOT more than on a short video. Think thousands vs millions.

Find out more about VIDEO production costs here.



A pretty good analogy for understanding video production vs film production is the amount of people involved. If you can fit everyone in a van and around the same table at lunch, it’s probably video production. Meanwhile, film production often needs an army of people. On a film, you’ve probably got way more people to direct and look after, which requires more crew.



As we mention above, depending on how long your project is, you may need to set aside a lot of time to complete it.

This is usually in parallel with the intended running time of the video or film – for example, a 2-hour film can take months or even years to complete. There’s a big difference between a project taking a few weeks and one taking a few months.


Individual frames vs the final product

For filmmakers, it’s all about aiming for perfection in every frame. Whether it’s that stream of light coming in through the curtains or a speck of dust, everything needs to look beautiful. This is because films are linked closer to art, which we’ll get onto in a second.

Now, this isn’t to say video producers don’t aim for the same level of quality. However, in video production, you haven’t got as much time to play with; clients are waiting for you at the finish line. This shifts the focus from every tiny detail to the overall product, which can be shaped in post-production.

Basically, a video production team‘s focus is getting as much footage as they can, that they can then edit afterwards. On a film, because the crew has more time, they can do take after take to aim for perfection in the moment. This is one of the key ways to understand video production vs film production.


Filmmakers focus on creating a piece of art

If you’ve ever been to the cinema and watched the adverts before the film, you’ll know the difference instantly. A film has the aim of being a piece of artwork, ready for its layers to be peeled back and critiqued. For that reason, it’s often more abstract in its style and messaging.

Meanwhile, a video is often created for a specific purpose, for example to promote a product. This means that they’re often tied down more securely to certain concepts, budgets and time-frames. When a client is involved, the video becomes more of a product that is manufactured and distributed.

As for film… think of it as a huge canvas that the artist has more freedom to add extra strokes to if they want. Also, sometimes, film doesn’t seem to have a ‘point’ at all; it simply exists for artistic expression.


Traditionally, filmmakers are storytellers; video producers are documenters

Filmmakers often have a mission to reveal what’s underneath – the dark, hidden secrets of society. On the other hand, video producers often have the job of presenting what is already there in a favourable light. Using the latest video tricks and techniques, they can make any product, person, or location look incredible.

However, there are occasions where the line between ‘storytelling’ and ‘documenting’ inevitably blurs. You’ll find that the best video production companies incorporate storytelling into their work to draw viewers in further. For example, adverts that tell stories – such as the annual John Lewis Christmas advert – are often the most talked about. Also, a video telling the ‘story’ of how a company came to be can have effective emotional results.

This is why separating the two into video production vs film production can sometimes be complicated.


Video is a medium; film is shot ON video

Technically, ‘videos’ and ‘films’ are the same thing because they are both shot on ‘video’.

This means that anything described as a ‘video’, apart from being shorter and less artistic, is simply not a film. Film has its own category because it’s so significantly larger in scale.


It’s important to know the differences between video production and film production, because it’ll help you to know exactly what you’re getting.

Do you want an abstract 2-hour film telling a story that doesn’t have any other aim but to entertain? Or do you want a 3-minute video telling viewers about your business? These are two very different things requiring different teams of people to create them.


You’re probably looking for a video production company that can incorporate the best of both worlds into your video. Well, you’re in luck! At Stada Media, we aim to combine achieving your goals with the highest level of cinematic ‘WOW’ you will find. Let’s talk for more.

The Stada Media blog is full of insights just like this. Check it out now!

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