Islamic State (IS) was perhaps the first jihadist group to produce video formats in a (quasi-)professional fashion: especially during the so-called Caliphate days it published genre series, for example on hisba police, with a professional look and feel. The use of series is, at least in part, due to the use of formats which offers several advantages to producers. Formats, in film-scholarly understanding, are repeating forms that organise a film or video at its structural level. It does not necessarily interfere with film’s “invisible means of communication” (e.g. use of image equators, mise-en-scène) but allows producers to pre-plan the organisation of footage and auditive material in post-production – this is especially effective when taking into account that professional film makers (outside Islamic State) will often lament that one can make a film one time or three times: you can make it once through good planning or you can make it three times, if you re-invent your film in pre-production, again in production, and then again in post-production. Post-production is thus streamlined through formats and becomes less of a time and cost factor.
The format structure that Islamic State is using has developed and repeated since the early days of Islamic State film production – and it has over time been formalised as its use over the years shows. A formal structure allows video producers to make video production ergonomic, meaning once the structure is decided upon, a pragmatic frame for video post-production is set. While the decision saves time and effort, viewers are, in return, being accustomed to perceptive patterns that facilitate understanding of the structured topical programme because the structure through which information is dispensed remains generally the same.