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What's the Difference Between Cinematography and Videography?

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The main difference between Cinematography and Videography is the nature of the content. Cinematography is the art and process of storytelling that comes from the artistic and technical directions of the scenes by a cinematographer from the director’s perspective. On the other hand, Videography is recording an actual ongoing event and capturing candid moments and reactions.

What is Cinematography?

Cinematography is the artistic and technical approach to making a film or a movie. It is also referred to as “creative storytelling”. In Cinematography, the materials being recorded are called “scenes”. These scenes are planned, directed, and rehearsed to ensure that the execution is in perfect accordance with the director's vision of the movie. In other words, Cinematography is the art and process of materializing the concept, mood, atmosphere, and message of a story through the perspective of the director.

What is Videography?

Videography is the process of capturing and recording live events or moments. The materials being recorded here depend on the event as it happens. There are little to no chances of rehearsals in videography. Planning could be done before the actual shooting. For example, what approaches should be applied, what lens should be used, adjustment of settings according to the environment, and looking for places to shoot. However, once the cameras are rolling, the event being recorded can’t be manipulated. This is because of its nature being more of documentation than storytelling.

Differences between Cinematography and Videography

Nowadays, especially when “filming” is more convenient than ever, the terms Cinematography and Videography are interchanging. However, it is very important to know the differences, especially if one is looking to start a video project for personal or business matters.

Type of Projects

The scale of projects concerning Videography is from small to medium. Videographers could do varieties of content like interviews, journalism-related content, marketing-related content, corporate videos, vlogs, tutorials, wedding videography, concerts, and other live events that could use coverage.

Cinematography, on the other hand, is more prevalent in big-scale projects. For example, short films, music videos, and full-scale films. Based on the examples, projects that use cinematography are more time-consuming and require more skill and experience.

Production Process and Crew

Videographers often work alone or in small groups. They are often called a “one-man army.” Because videographers are often expected to do most of the production process alone. From setting up the lights and cameras to editing the recorded videos, videographers are often responsible from the pre-production to the post-production due to time and budget constraints.

The ones who are in charge of Cinematography (or shooting in a film production) are called “Directors of Photography.” They often work with a large crew of different people who are “experts” in the type of duties they are in. DPs (Directors of Photography) are expected to collaborate and communicate with different members of the set. They also work closely with the Film Director to get the correct composition needed for the frame to produce an effective, impactful, and accurate depiction of the scene. After shooting, DPs have to review the materials before passing them on to a post-production team.

Employment

Videographers are often self-employed. This lets them hone their skills and discover new techniques along the way. They often get one-time gigs or project-based gigs. This is because of the fact that the nature of videography is recording an event as it unfolds.

DPs (Camera crew that are involved in shooting a film), are often hired by production houses. This kind of job, as compared to gigs, is more complex, time-consuming, and intensive. People in this field are often more skilled and experienced.

Skills

There are no large differences in skills between a Videographer and a Cinematographer (Director of Photography). Both should be well-versed in operating various types of cameras, aware of proper lighting, the accuracy of sound capture, and basic setting and troubleshooting of equipment. However, being a DP is more demanding than being a videographer. Since DP works in a film, a DP should also possess great communication skills as one would work with a large group of professionals that are serious in their craft. Aside from communication skills, DP should also know how to operate special shooting equipment like cranes or trollies because some scenes in films are more demanding than merely recording a live event.

Comparison Chart: Cinematography Vs Videography

ElementsCinematographyVideography
Example of ProjectsShort Films, Music Videos, Full-length FilmsVideos related to Journalism and Marketing, Vlogs, Wedding videography, Interviews, Tutorials
Content or MaterialScenes that are Planned, Rehearsed, and DirectedCandid Reactions or Moments, Live Recording
Production InvolvementIdeation, Storyboarding, Actual Shooting, Review of materials“One-man team”, from setting up to video editing
Project Scale and Crew SizeBig and Long Projects Big Production StaffSmall to Medium projects. Solo or Small Crew
EmploymentHired by Production HousesSelf-employed or Project-based

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Video Editing and Cinematography the Same Thing?

Cinematography is the art and process of shooting a scene to tell a story in accordance with the vision of the Production Staff and Director. Video Editing is cutting, rearranging, and polishing technical aspects of the material to further emphasize the desired outcome of the scene or whole film.

Are Filmmakers Cinematographers Too?

Cinematographers are responsible for the shooting of a scene or the whole film based on a script and the director’s guidance. Cinematographers work exclusively on how scenes are being executed. However, Filmmakers work on every aspect of creating the film. For example, producers are filmmakers that provide budget, staff organizing the schedule, and other organizational and management aspects of filmmaking.

Does Videography Include Editing?

While it is not standard practice, Videographers can also do editing too depending on the demand of their client. There are video editors that focus and specialize in video editing, but some gigs or projects demand videographers to do so. That’s why sometimes after recording live events, videographers do the editing themselves as well. A perfect example would be SDE (Same Day Edit) event coverage on Weddings and other special occasions.

Conclusion

Nowadays, recording videos is very convenient. The equipment needed to record is available almost everywhere. The skills are very much learnable and are easy to access, thanks to the internet. Videography and Cinematography are both skills that one could have with practice and dedication. However, knowing the difference between the two would surely be an addition to one’s knowledge and would really help a person next time that he needs to hire either of the two.

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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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