‘Are you a cinematographer or a videographer?’ This is a question that is asked many times. It is difficult to distinguish between the two. The terms are often used interchangeably. This can be very frustrating for many people who want to hire a professional and simply want to have high-quality productions at the end of the day.
Defining Cinematography and Videography
Cinematography is defined as the science and art behind the photography of a motion picture. Therefore, cinematographers are mostly in charge of film productions. They can also be referred to as a Director of Photography on big film and television productions. They are individuals who are in charge of the camera and lighting crews on set during production. They are responsible for bringing the director’s vision to life. They do this by making artistic and technical decisions on which lens to use, the level of exposure, types of filters, composition, lighting ratios, what production lights to use, color-grading, and much more for the production.
The two professions can be distinguished in many ways. However, one of the simplest ways of distinguishing between them is by defining the size of the crew and the way the two different professionals work.
Videographers often work solo or with small-sized crews of about five or less. They are associated with small productions such as small-scale commercials, training videos, corporate videos, wedding videos and much more. Because they often work solo, they are known to handle all elements of the production including the lighting, sound, and editing. They are skilled in various aspects of production. You may even go as far as to call them a ‘one-man show.’
Why the confusion between videography and cinematography?
The distinction between the two is fairly clear. However, the terms are often used interchangeably. This is partly as a result of advances in technology. The introduction of DSLR video cameras has made it possible for small crews or individuals to pull off the same quality of work that once required larger crews. A modern videographer can produce a cinematic effect in their videos and therefore be easily confused for having used a large crew to achieve these results.
Videography or Cinematography
Over the years, videography has gotten a bad rep. This has caused many companies and individuals to categorize themselves.
One of the main factors contributing to the bad rep was the association of videographers with weddings. Many people believe that these professionals should be hired solely for recording weddings and other such social gatherings. They are therefore not worth taking seriously or hiring for other types of work. In order for these professionals to get rid of this negative connotation, many of them have rebranded themselves as cinematographers.
The fact of the matter is that both professions have their specialties and applications.
Many professionals that claim to be cinematographers are actually individuals that use DSLR technology to provide that cinematic effect. They may claim to create art but are actually no different from other professionals in the business.
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