Videography and cinematography: definition

Cinematography definition is “a process of creating a visual piece of art”. In other words, it’s an artistic project in which everything matters: the recording itself, the soundtrack, special effects, the screenplay, the settings, etc.

Videography's meaning is slightly different: it’s way less artistic and more factual. It’s not about storytelling, but rather about events reporting. While a cinematographer is trying to create something that doesn’t exist in the real world, a videographer aims to show exactly what is happening in reality.


Videographer vs cinematographer

Cinematographers are also known as directors of photography (DP) and play an essential role in a film shooting location. They work in close collaboration with other crew members and are seldom involved in “manual labor”. They decide on the location, color scheme, and concept, but hardly participate in real post-production editing.

Videographers, on the other hand, perform “turnkey” projects, doing everything by themselves or with minimum help. Their main aim is to shoot as much footage as possible and then assemble it in a video. There are no special effects (or very basic ones), but there may be captions, voiceovers, and a soundtrack, depending on the type of the recorded event.

This is a general, but not the only difference between a videographer and a cinematographer.

The plot of the video

Cinematographers shoot movies, music clips, creative advertisements, and other types of videos that require imagination and creativity.

Videographers shoot business events, weddings, birthday parties, and other activities that require being reported just to keep these memories for the future.

Work mode

Cinematographers are a part of a big crew, while videographers work alone or with an assistant.

Cinematography gear

Gear and equipment

Both professionals may use modern DSLR cameras — there is even such a term as “DSLR cinematography”. But for an artistic video, a DP also uses special lighting, expensive cameras, and mics. Post-production editing is performed by a team of video editors who use high-notch licensed software.

A videographer should be mobile and be able to shoot the event from different spots and angles, so this professional uses only a camera and sometimes a tripod or a gimbal. As the post-production editing doesn’t have to be highly creative, any free video editor can come in just handy.

The aim of shooting

Cinematographers mainly want to unleash their creativity and produce something worth remembering. Sometimes they participate in low-budget or even voluntary projects with little or no pay, just to be a part of something artistic.

Videographers work for money, not artistic self-realization. To perform their job, they have to be technically skilled and experienced, not creative. The events they shoot — wedding receptions, etc. — are seldom of interest to anybody but the immediate participants, so these recordings are not going to be pieces of art.

However small and unimportant, these differences define whom you have to hire for your project. Decide reasonably!