My English student asked me: "Video-conference and video-conferencing, is there any difference between them?" Is Video-conference a countable noun and Video-conferencing an uncountable noun? Is Video-conferencing formed using a gerund? Is that why it is uncountable?
- Participation in a conference that involves use of a particular electronic technology : audio conferencing; computer conferencing.
- A meeting for consultation or discussion:
Taking the second question first, yes conferencing is form using a gerund, although I have never heard this used alone in a sentence. This form is used as you described, "we support video-conferencing" or "a common form of office communication is video-conferencing". Video-conferencing is used when talking about video-conferencing in general.
Taking the first question, no conferencing is not a countable noun. I would never use this to describe multiple conferences. Also, people don't "go conferencing" they "go to conferences" or "present at conferences" or "have several video-conferences to resolve the issue". Video-conference is used for a single, specific video-conference.
Taking the general question of "is there a difference?", yes I would use:
- Video-conference as a noun to represent a single event, "I will arrange a video-conference"
- Video-conferencing as both a gerund and rarely a verb referring to either a general statement or the action, "we often participate in video-conferencing" or "I prefer face to face to video-conferencing". I say rarely a verb because although it is technically correct to say "don't interrupt me around lunchtime, I will be video-conferencing", typically this is not used, rather I would say "don't interrupt me, I will be on a video-conference"
- Video-conferences as the plural for a video-conference. "we will organize a series of video-conferences"