Cinematography vs videography: what’s the difference?

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What’s the difference between cinematography and videography? While the two seem similar on the surface, they’re actually quite different. Let’s talk about cinematography vs videography, define each term, and find out where they’re similar and where they differ.

What is videography?

Videography, simply put, is using video to capture a moment. For example, if you’re filming a wedding, a sporting event, or a birthday party, that is videography. If you’re a professional videographer hired to capture an event or occasion, you will probably have to do things like adjust lighting, edit your work, and maybe do things like add music or adjust the color in post production. Often, there will be just one videographer or a small team sent to capture an event.

What is cinematography?

Cinematography, unlike videography, is the art of creating a specific image that you capture on camera. Cinematographers must be knowledgeable about how to create the shot that they or the director have dreamed up, which includes manipulating lighting, setting up the shot, selecting the right lens, choosing camera angles, operating the camera, and generally making the film look good. Cinematography is less about capturing the moment as it happened and more about building a moment from scratch to match the vision for the film. Cinematographers work together with the director and the rest of the camera department to create a shot. The cinematographer’s job is to build on the director’s vision by capturing beautifully composed and lit shots. 

Cinematography vs videography

Cinematography and videography are different skillsets, but it’s possible to master both. A good videographer understands how to capture an event as it’s happening, creating an end result that reflects reality. A videographer at, say, a wedding is trying to use their camera to capture the feeling of love, joy, and commitment that the happy couple is displaying. Their job is to respond quickly to the moment as it unfolds and try to get it all on camera. A cinematographer, on the other hand, seeks to create moments rather than simply capture them, thinking through the artistic vision of the piece long before they arrive on set. 

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Author

Molly is an author, screenwriter, blogger, and brand manager for New 32 Productions. They are passionate about sharing content that helps filmmakers live a more productive, informed, and well-balanced life. They live in North Carolina with their spouse and way too many dogs.

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