Videographer VS Cinematographer: The Difference Between
If you’re reading this article it’s likely that you are aware of both the terms: Videography and Cinematography.
But did you know that there is a difference between Videography and Cinematography? And if so, do you know what the difference is?
Most people believe these terms are the same, or interchangeable, but in reality there is a difference between these two.
With the passage of the time and advancement of the technology, many terms have occurred
to describe these roles and can create significant confusion.
Therefore, understanding the difference between them and hiring the right professional, are
vital elements of learning filmmaking and marketing success.
While the primary role of both cinematographers and videographers may include filming motion pictures with a camera, there are differences in how they do it and their role within a production.
Who is a Cinematographer?
As the name indicates, these professionals are mainly associated with theatrical movies and filming of
content intended for viewing in cinemas. Within a film production, the cinematographer is responsible for making any technical or artistic decision related to the lighting, correct usage of lenses, various cameras of different scenes, filters, zoom, camera movement, and exposure. They execute the vision of the director and take it to the next level, adding their own ideas and artistic flair as required.
The use of suitable technical adjustments and movement is the key to capturing the frames perfectly and
making a remarkable impact on the audience by connecting with the story and presentation.
Every decision made by the cinematographer has to be in line with the story and align correctly
with what the director is trying to portray and convey.
The cinematographer mainly works within or leads a larger team that includes a camera operator, light
assistants, etc. He or she is in charge of translating the director’s vision and ideas into moving images that
can capture the attention and interest of the audience.
Cinematographers are not usually involved in the editing and post-production activities.
Cinematographers are also known as the ‘directors of photography’ or ‘DP/DOP’. This position has
more responsibilities than the cameraman itself. They are in charge of how the lighting looks, how shots are taken, color palettes, modes of scenes, and many more things.
Cinematography = film crew + large production
Who is a Videographer?
Videographer is a relatively new term, which has surged in popularity as the demand for professional looking video has increased and the cost has dramatically dropped over time. This term is not traditionally used in feature films or on movie sets.
The main difference between videographers and cinematographers is in the application of their position as well as the fact that a videographer is generally ‘hands on’ with the camera itself and physically doing the filming.
A videographer is typically working with a digital video production rather than movies or
films, but encompass various roles the same as a Cinematographer. It includes taking all the
artistic and visuals decisions that determine the look and feel of the video.
With the advent of the digital video, accessibility, and affordability of buying high-end and
professional cameras have increased. It does not take a million dollars and a multi-person crew
to make some fantastic and high-grade videos. A quality product can be produced for a much smaller budget and with a much smaller crew, sometimes just 1 person. Cinematography birthed videography, in a sense.
It is entirely wrong to say that cinematography has died with the rise of
Videography. Videographers are mainly linked with lower-budget films, or single person led
production such as wedding videos, documentaries, corporate videos, commercials and live events.
Videography = small crew or one person + access to affordable, quality equipment
Difference between Videography Vs. Cinematography
A common mistake in filmmaking is that you can equivalate the camera experience from still photography to video and thus mix the two. When you hear that term, you might think you’re
hiring a videographer for the wedding film or a director for a documentary. Onset or in the TV
studio, video filmmakers are usually cameramen, not still photographers or static artists.
The camera operators are responsible for all technical aspects of the production, such as
lighting, sound, and sound design. In contrast, video directors are usually camera operators and
work on a much smaller production level. They work in the background and monitor the project
from start to finish, not at the top level.
1. Alone and in a Team
Cinematographers work as a team. On the set of any movie, they have the highest crew
members. They guide their team members. They are responsible for all technical aspects of film
production, such as light, sound, light, angles, exposure and effects.
Videographers are linked with a small crew. In any business meeting, they will either video
shoot the event solo or with the help of one or two-coworkers. They often do everything on their
own. They will often not give or receive any instructions to other crew members.
2. Work Nature
Cinematographers have vast scope in their field and time table of work across any given year. They mainly work in films, documentaries and storytelling projects like short-films,and drama serials. They can easily customize their work
timings according to their project requirements. They may shoot one part of the film in one
season and second half in the next season. It is not commonly just a few days of each job, some projects take many months or even years. They work for the longest time and can work simultaneously on different projects.
On the other hand, videographers have limited scope; they work for TV shows, meetings, music videos, corporate videos, weddings, birthday parties, and school functions. They generally try to fill their weeks with as many jobs as they can and try to get each project shot in a timely manner. They cannot really work on as many different projects at one time as cinematographers do. They start a project and work on the same project until it gets finished. This may be in part due to client demands, time constraints or their own choice as they will often be paid on completion.
3. Creativity Level
Cinematographers are very passionate about creativity, thus it is the main reason why they choose this
as their career over videography. They work in films and give their best to offer something different to their
audience. They will understand the movie concept, visualize every scene and shoot it in reality.
They have a unique perception, and that takes you to the next level.
Videographers can also be very creative, but their particular role often means that it is unnecessary or just not possible. They can sometimes just be there to capture the event or a very detailed brief already prepared by the client, thus allowing less room for creativity both due to client request, time or budget.
They will often capture occasions and events, and the creativity is added a lot more during the editing process. Things like weddings cannot be re-created so a big part of their job is normally to make sure they ‘get the shot’ because if they try something too creative and it doesn’t work out then they may have a very angry bride to deal with!
They mainly focus on the essential and best
moments. They always try to work on new techniques and methods that can work in many different scenarios.
4. Business and Entertainment
Cinematographers mostly work on projects which will be sold or used for entertainment. Their core objective is to entertain people. They work hard to bring new ideas into the films and to impress their audience. Whether it is a small
budget or big, they will make it more attractive and exciting. They work closely with the
directors and production designer.
The videographer is mostly hired purely for business needs. They work with the companies to introduce their product in the market, capture events to be shown at a later time to an audience and many other different objectives.
In a Nutshell
If you want to put a lot more into creativity, beautiful shots and entertainment then a Cinematographer is who you should use for your project, or the career you should aim for.
If you’re project is more outcome, business or event focussed then a videographer is the right person for the job.