Dallas Videographer | Firebrand Media

What’s the Difference Between Videography and Cinematography?

It’s difficult to distinguish who is a videographer or a cinematographer by today’s perspective. Cinematography and videography for most people are pretty much the same, however, both are mutually exclusive. Factors for both are drastically different however the gap between both is slowly closing.


Over the last 10 years, The video production industry has become more accessible through the advancements of digital sensors and the democratization of major brand manufacturers. Decades prior to the explosion of cost-friendly handheld recorders, A Director of Film or (DOP) manages everything from determining lighting elements, artistic expression,  storyboarding, and of course capturing a unique image regarded by most as “cinematic looking”.

Doing all of this requires in-depth knowledge and an appreciation for film creation, managing a set design and crew, determining the artistic choice of the look, and a whole host of other elements that make up the aesthetic choices including lens choice, camera movement and style. The title Cinematographer is established by the aesthetic value of productions decided by the Film Radio Television community.


It’s simply easier and less expensive to purchase a camera and shoot high-quality videos from a start-up cost perspective. This has changed the way we think about film and commercial work, specifically.

Videographers generally shoot to document or to create stunning video content with a minimal application of film directing. The use of lighting, editing, and color science can help videographers stand out and are used in an array of applications. Videographers can use storyboarding and strategy to create a story within their content however, the limitations and access to elements found in film houses paired with the lack of understanding of the science to create films become a line in the sand. These factors do not limit a videographer from standing out or carving out a look that is appreciated by their audience or clients.

Business perspective 

From a business perspective, videographers’ barrier of entry becomes less burdensome with more affordable options than what a cinematographer might have access to. Without having to go to film school, a person wanting to get into video work can do so and make a living. Most people who enter the field can establish themselves as creative, or strategy-oriented. These both appeal to businesses or individuals seeking beautiful work done.

  • When a videographer begins to incorporate specialized lighting, set design, and storyboarding to create film, commercial video services, or broadcast, they start to transition. Cinematography is not a golden title unattainable by those who have no formal background in film creation but more so by the technique and artistic expression of their work.
  • Cinematographers work with larger budgets that include many other individuals to produce their intended work. From makeup artists, gaffers, stage managers, and assistants, cinematographers are able to bring to life a unique visual. A project in cinematography can last weeks if not years to create and require extensive planning, management, and personnel to bring to fruition.

Independent filmmakers

Some videographers, ambitious enough, seek to create film on a smaller budget. This may include a small team, limited but adequate lighting elements, professional camera equipment, and talent to create their film. Independent filmmakers have been around for a while and challenge the status quo of the traditional mainstream film industry. With independent filmmaking, a talented videographer or a cinematographer can express freely and create with no restraints. In the mainstream film industry, Cinematographers are often limited by direction and control to a producer or interest funding the ventures.

Which one are you?

If you are a videographer who has recently gotten into creating video content and want to advance your knowledge of cinematography, focus on the education of filmmaking, involve yourself in the application of techniques, and create a  portfolio. These factors will help you evolve into the industry of cinematography.

As the gap closes on the differences between cinematography and videography, we may see the era of collapse for the mainstream film industry, this change comes with the advent of newer camera and film technology affordable to independent creators looking to stand out.

We’re currently looking for new Dallas videographers to join our team! Contact us today or leave a comment below if you’d like to join.

J Wardrup

J Wardrup

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