“Corporate Video” is a Misnomer

It doesn’t sound right.

Back in the day, Corporate Video was known as Industrial Film. Industrial. i.e. specific-to-industry. This moniker, while a bit archaic, far better reflects the subdivision of subject-matter associated with artistic endeavour at an inter-industry level.

The phrase “Corporate Video” is vague — every corporation is different. No two are alike. Trust me, I've seen inside plenty. 

Google’s corporate identity is wildly different than that of US Steel (neither are clients, btw). If we made a film for each of these organizations, those would and should be wildly different films. Lumping such disparate organizations under the same umbrella is irresponsible and doesn’t make any sense.

I find the word “video” itself derogatory. A "video" is what your uncle makes with his crappy camcorder during the family Christmas party. Film is professional endeavor and should by no means be even remotely associated with Uncle Hank. 

Try this out: Tell a colleague you’re making a "video." Note how they react. Now, tell another colleague you’re making a film. Note the difference. 

Why's this important. A lot of times our day-to-day ends up being interviews with corporate executives. These people do not have time for bullshit. So, if their assistant told them they have to go sit for a "video" interview, maybe it's a chore. On the other hand, if their assistant told them they have to go sit for a "film" interview, I don't know. What we want as the filmmakers in this situation is for our interviewees to understand that the thing actually carries a bit of gravitas (films aren't cheap, and good interviews tend to be leveraged heavily) so they may approach the thing seriously and thus choose what they say with significance.

I think the word “video” makes people subconsciously react differently to the filmmaking process. Impressions tend to show up in our final product. The camera doesn’t lie, I suppose. 

A final thought: Industrial film is rooted in cinematic tradition — renowned directors throughout the history of film have both gotten their start in, and consistently returned to (it pays well), Industrial Film. Professional artists don’t wear different hats when they make high art versus industrial films. They apply their craft as they would with any other production, no matter the context. Great directors simply know how to study a subject, listen well, and understand creative goals to visually represent messages for a specific targeted audience. Easy, right? 

TL;DR “Corporate” is a vague word and “Video” sounds like a home movie. “Industrial Film” is better nomenclature because “Corporate Video” is vague and belittling.