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Videography vs Cinematography: Key difference and similarities

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When one may hear the term Cinematography, the first thing to come to mind is the videos, termed as movies, that we go to the cinema to watch. But movies are essentially videos, and is not the art of making a video called videography?

So, what is Cinematography, and how does it differ from videography, especially since the result of both art forms is a video for someone to watch?

This article answers just that and aims to help understand the nuanced differences between the two terms and how the work performed for each is different.

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What is Videography?

This term refers to a form of creative work that focusses on capturing the raw moments at an event, supported by equipment that aims to make the footage look pleasing.

Image by Fvvdge via Wikimedia Commons

These are videos commonly shot without the addition of filters, cinematic lights and intricate sound design. 

Anyone who watches such a video can understand what is happening in it. However, only those present at the event will have an emotional connection with it or feelings for the footage as it serves as a way for them to relive the moment.

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What is Cinematography?

The act referred to by this term is a more nuanced one. Cinematography revolves around an individual, known as the director of photography.

Image by Ingo Kramarek from Pixabay

This creator corresponds with the director — of the project — to implement the use of technical instruments available and make the most of what is available. The equipment most commonly controlled, intricately, are the camera and its corresponding lenses, sound systems and lighting, to name a few. 

Every decision behind a cinematographically made video impacts the perception and interpretation of a scene by the audience. In the end, the choices and decisions tie in with each other and fall in line to tell a story.

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Videography vs Cinematography: Divided by Scale and Style

In videography, the lead is the videographer. This person can cover an entire event themselves. However, they may also arrange a small crew to capture more angles or perspectives. 

The lighting decisions made do not aim to make the footage look visually pleasing but to ensure that no details are lost, to dimly lit scenarios.

After recording all the clips required, a videographer usually takes it to provide a final edited project to the customer.

As mentioned earlier, the cinematographer is responsible for making technical and artistic decisions, but what they may not be involved in is the post-production. Also, in most cases, the cinematographer is not the one physically holding the camera.

In cinematography, each shot included in the final project occurs due to ideal or planned conditions. Whereas in videography, the final project shows every bit of information.

To summarise, videography includes a smaller crew with a more raw style of filming. Here, each captured moment can only be related to by those present at the event. Cinematography includes a whole crew with each member assigned a task, controlled by the director of photography. In the final project, moments are tied together with post-production to evoke emotions.

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Aryan Surendranath

Aryan Surendranath

Has an interest in technology and video games. When not doing anything related to either of these you will find him with his books, educational or not.