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Scripted vs. Non-Scripted Video Production

For 92% of marketers, promotional videos are an essential part of their marketing strategy. And 88% of marketers state that video marketing provides a positive ROI. Video is, simply put, the most powerful medium for promoting your brand and product. 

For most brands, video production is no longer a question of “if” but instead of “how.” And in video marketing, one of the more common questions is which type of video to create: scripted or non-scripted? Should you go for a polished and planned-out in advance type of production or a more authentic docu-style vibe?

Both types of videos come with their own set of pros and cons. Scripted videos can be planned out to include the exact message you want to convey, while unscripted videos rely more on you collecting raw footage and going with what happens. 

Related reading: How To Create Authentic Brand Videos – And Why It Matters

But before we move on to the benefits of each genre, let’s define each concept a bit more in detail.


What Is Scripted Video Production In Video Marketing?

Scripted videos are exactly what it sounds like; video production based on a pre-written script. This type of video usually includes commercials, demo videos, corporate videos, and educational videos. These are all videos where the message is very precise and has been crafted and defined in advance. 

Scripted videos require a lot of planning in advance and often involve hired actors. It’s well-suited for the situations where you need your message to be short and concise, as in ads or commercials. Scripted videos are also great for product videos, humor, technical information, and productions where you’re looking for a polished “big movie” kind of result. 

The biggest perk of using a scripted video is that it allows you to plan out every little detail before putting your project into production. This includes scripting each line for your talent to read and planning out every shot that’s included in the final product. This gives you more control over the final video.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission hired us to create three short promotional videos (30, 15, 6 seconds) to educate people on how much money they would save if they started using E-ZPass to travel on the turnpike. This is an excellent example of a case when scripted video production works best. We filmed the actor driving in a studio setting with a wall-to-wall green screen. Then our VFX team got to work placing the different illustrative background elements into the frame. Together, we created a seamless world of live-action and animation for these promotional videos.

Related reading: 7 Styles of Promotional Videos


What Is Non-Scripted Video Production In Video Marketing?

Non-scripted video, on the other hand, relies on a different creative process. This type of video production includes documentaries, docu-style videos, and interviews. In non-scripted video production, the subjects are real people instead of actors. They may be your customers, your employees, or other people touched by your work. 

Non-scripted videos create a sense of authenticity and honesty. They are very well-suited for testimonials, inspirational videos, and in general, all videos where you’re looking for authentic storytelling rather than short and snappy messaging. 

This video production that we made for the non-profit Wheeling Island Greyhound Adoption Center is a great example. We spent a weekend with two wonderful dog lovers in the Hamptons as they shared with us their adoption story and showed off their beautiful greyhound, Casey Bones Jones. This resulted in this 30-second or 15-second TV spot and a  micro doc in docu-style production. These videos convey the story in a captivating and authentic way and even won the Gold Telly award in the NonProfit Campaign – Regional TV category

Related reading: 8 Ways To Make Your Video Marketing More Engaging and Human 


Scripted or Unscripted Videos – Which Is Right For You?

Both approaches have their advantages but also their disadvantages. What works for one concept may not work for another, and the best strategy is usually to decide on a case-by-case basis.

However, it’s important to remember that the video marketing scene is very saturated. Thousands of marketing videos are uploaded online every second, and one of the most critical challenges brands face is creating content that stands out and gets noticed. 

This is why most brands would benefit from considering the non-scripted approach – people are always more interested in content that feels authentic and sincere. And that’s where non-scripted, docu-style videos really shine. 

Sometimes brands are hesitant about taking this route, as it does involve letting go of control to a certain degree. It’s not uncommon that brands try to create a non-scripted appearance while still trying to get the interview subjects to use specific terms or their brand language, but this is usually not a good idea. 

If you let the interview subjects talk and use their own words and focus on capturing a lot of good raw material, the magic will happen in the editing process. This way, you get the authentic feel and can still tailor the messaging to suit your marketing needs. 

In a noisy, crowded online space, genuine, human stories will always stand out. As human beings, we’re hardwired to be interested in people and their experiences. When video content feels too polished or produced, the risk increases that people will “filter it out” as just another ad message. 

Related reading: 7 Ways To Get People To Pay Attention to Your Corporate Video

At Covalent, we’re experts at creating original and engaging videos for B2C and B2B brands. Get in touch to explore how we can help your brand stand out and grow with video production!


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