The Key Difference Between Videography and Cinematography

The Key Difference Between Videography and Cinematography

Deciding on a videographer was much more straightforward when I was getting married. Like everyone else, we didn’t have options and went for traditional videography.

However, with the progression of the videography industry, we now have multiple options, and choosing one can get confusing. As a part of DC Media, I often find clients needing help distinguishing between videography and cinematography.

Cinematographer on their work

Although both may seem similar through novice eyes, one differs. Knowing the difference between videography and cinematography can help you decide which suits you best. 

Where cinematography involves direction and planned shots, videography is more candid and records the event as it naturally unfolds. Both have their unique characteristics. 

Read surprising facts about these arts as we discuss the difference between traditional videography and cinematography and the technicalities behind the camera.


What Is Videography? 

Videography captures live happenings and what’s in front of the camera. It is the act of recording real-time incidents without any script or external intervention.

We have seen videographers running with cameras to capture people’s special moments at any event. They try to record candid and wholesome shots using their cameras with minimal to no lighting setup.

There is no need for a director, script, or a big team. They record things as they are without setting up anything beforehand or controlling it. However, videography is broader than weddings or personal events.

videographer recording a wedding

Videographers also record corporate events, training, and social media content. They also capture the live baseball matches we see on TV. Personal vlogs, home videos, documentaries, and tutorials are also forms of videography. 


What Is Cinematography? 

Cinematographers, on the other hand, control every part of the things they record. They design the background, lighting, set, and all the different parts of the frame. A cinematographer creates a story in front of the camera to record it. 

Cinematography is the art behind creating motion pictures; it brings the director’s visions to reality by creating an atmosphere and teleporting the audience into the scene. 

Recently, we have found many clients asking for cinematographers. Cinematography has gained popularity for its professional, movie-like outcome and storytelling techniques. 

Cinematographer capturing lovely couple

The blurry background lights hitting the couple from one direction, creating a golden-hour glow even during nighttime, are all part of the cinematography.

Cinematographers use their cameras and setups to make you feel the emotions with an artistic approach. Lighting, shadows, focus, contrast, and camera movement are all put up in a way that reflects the depth of the moment. 

Capturing getting ready shots of the bride, groom eagerly waiting at the altar for his bride, the family having an emotional moment, friends gathering around in support of the couple, ring shots, and close-up couple shots are all cinematic videographies. 


Equipment and Techniques

The primary visual difference between videography and cinematography comes from the different equipment and techniques used by videographers and cinematographers.

It is not just the camera; videography and cinematography have different shooting and post-production rules. As a person working behind the cameras, let’s walk you through the technicalities and the type of equipment used in videography and cinematography. 


What Goes Behind Videography

  • Camera

Videography is more straightforward and does not require complicated, heavy, or high-end cameras. We use DSLRs, camcorders, mirrorless cameras, or mobile phone cameras. Recently, drones, action cams, spider cams, etc., are also used. 

  • Lighting

You will only find on-site lighting kits as we depend on natural or available lighting. Even if artificial lights are used, videography does not require colorful lighting. It requires either warm or cool-tone lights to film. 

Essential recording equipment of videographers

  • Production and Crew

The videography crew involves a small team since there is no complexity during the shoots and no tricky equipment. Even single-handed videography is also very common. That means all a crew can consist of is a camera and a man behind it. 

Videography’s post-production is straightforward and generally handled by one person. We do not use special effects or color coding. Cropping the clips, adding transitions, fixing colors, and sometimes adding sound is required. 


Instruments behind Cinematography 

  • Camera

Unlike videography, the camera used in cinematography is high-end and specifically designed for digital cinema. It requires special lenses to capture different shots, and since the visual quality needs to be top-notch, the camera plays an integral part in the project. 

  • Lighting

Cinematographers use different lights in addition to the basic lights (warm tone, cool tone, and neutral) to create the right ambiance. Lighting plays a vital role in bringing out the authenticity of the arrangement. 

Whether movie cinematography or wedding cinematography, lighting is integral to the project. The professional lighting setup can include lights of any color that replicate a specific time of the day, e.g., aurora, afternoon light, etc. 

Essential recording equipment of cinematographers

  • Production and Crew

Cinematographers usually have teams with multiple experts in their respective fields. The task involves the cameraman, lightman, costume, hair and makeup artist, and many others. 

It is not a one-person job since post-production of cinematography is often time-consuming and tricky. VFX, green screens, color grading, and dubbing are usually applied. 

Cinematographers narrate a story through their lenses. They are in high demand for movies, weddings, and events. A good-quality cinematographer will make you cherish your memories forever. 


Use of Videography in Our Lives

The need for videography in today’s world is inevitable. Video content is everywhere, from corporate events to social media posts. Videographers capture and edit the live game on TV and the recipes we see online.

Because of its straightforward nature, videography is often the first choice. Videographers also record corporate training videos, live events, and concerts. As videographers work with a small team, it requires less time and is affordable.

Another popular videography project is recording weddings and special events. Since videography requires no direction, the shots are candid and natural, allowing you to be yourself. 

We record candid moments, tears, smiles, and all-natural clips from your big day. Videography does not need extensive editing, so your videos are completed in a few weeks. 

Videographer recording a wedding


When to Choose Cinematography?

Cinematographers record directed scenes to tell visual stories. They capture a director’s vision by designing their shots according to the script. They are responsible for films, TV series, music videos, etc., involving a story. 

If you want a big cinematic entrance on your wedding day, you can choose a cinematographer to record it. We can help you create the dreamy wedding ambiance you see in movies and TV shows. 

In cinematography, the bride and groom will be like the leading actors in a movie. Wedding cinematography often includes short interviews of family and friends explaining the bond and love they shared.

You may also pose like a Pinterest couple and shoot with 35mm lenses and elaborate camera settings. Since they use more equipment to shoot, cinematographers have bigger crews, each expert handling their sector. 

Cinematography is not just documenting the event; it uses professional light setup and expert gear to portray the stories with the help of the cinematographer’s vision. Post-production in cinematography is also extensive and requires more time to get the final draft. 


Pros and Cons of Videography 

There is no black and white in videography. Although it has its fanbase, videography has some disadvantages in its basket. 

As a client, you should consider both sides before making a decision. Here are the pros and cons of videography. 


Pros of Videography

  • Cost-effective
  • Quick delivery
  • Small crew
  • Natural and candid shots
  • Full-day documentation
  • No outside intervention

A videography camera on the floor

Cons of Videography

  • No cinematic clips
  • No additional light and camera setup
  • There is little to no control over recorded clips


Pros and Cons of Cinematography 

If you think cinematography is all good, you are probably wrong. Like videography, cinematography has some downsides. Let’s check these out, shall we?


Pros of Cinematography

  • Well-structured storytelling, 
  • The professional and creative production team, 
  • High-definition video,
  • Controlled capturing, 
  • Professional post-production and high-quality editing.

Happy couple in wedding dresses with pose

Cons of Cinematography

  • Expensive, 
  • Long post-production, 
  • Non candid, directorial shots. 


What is Cinematic Videography? 

Cinematic videography might sound like cinematography, but is a different filming genre. It has higher production value than videography, which uses high-quality cameras and extensive post-production to achieve a polished and well-defined outcome. 

The technique is commonly used in weddings, events, social media content, etc., but unlike cinematography, it does not require a large crew or expert technical or creative team. It is a better, more polished version of videography without the visual storytelling factors. 

One of the most prominent YouTube content creators and filmmakers, Peter McKinnon, utilizes cinematic videography techniques in his videos. He uses drone shots, smooth panning, tracking, and tilting shots, along with stable and fluid motion, resulting in dramatic, eye-pleasing footage. 

This is a classic example of cinematic videography, which shows that it can be excellently utilized in content creation in addition to cinematography. His camera movement, use of natural light to enhance outdoor scenes, color grading, editing techniques, and framing result in a visually appealing and smooth outcome. 

Peter McKinnon successfully demonstrates how smaller-scale projects can be presented stunningly using videography skills and correct equipment. 


What Happens Behind the Scenes of Videography? 

Videography has its fair share of challenges. It requires live documentation of events that cannot be modified post-production. Whether it’s a live telecast of sports or wedding videography, hundreds of people are involved. 

It is more likely to face unexpected situations that a videographer has to overcome and continue shooting. Managing the team in hectic situations, working in crowds, handling equipment, and controlling light where necessary are all part of the everyday challenges faced by a videographer. 

Bts of cinematography/videography


Manage the Challenge: Videography Edition 

You cannot entirely omit work troubles, but you can prepare yourself to face them. Here are some tips to tackle unexpected situations, be it equipment failure or environmental challenges. 

  • Keep the batteries charged before going to the venue,
  • Carry backup equipment and keep your tech items well-maintained,
  • Visit the site before the big day to get an idea about your work atmosphere, 
  • Focus on learning new skills and be more mindful about your work. 


What Happens Behind the Scenes of Cinematography? 

Cinematography often involves outdoor shoots, directorial shots, and advanced equipment, which can malfunction anytime. Due to unfortunate weather or a camera breakdown, a cinematographer faces hundreds of possible challenges. 

With so many “once-in-a-lifetime” moments at a wedding, there is huge pressure to get the perfect shot every time.

The first kiss as husband and wife, the father-daughter dance, and the bride walking down the aisle, nothing can go wrong during these moments. So, how do you prepare for such a sensitive occasion? Here are some tips to fix the day. 

Busy videographers capturing events

Manage the Challenge: Cinematography Edition

  • See the weather forecast to prepare for any weather emergencies. Carry protectants and waterproof equipment if needed, 
  • Carry adequate lighting setup according to the event and the shots you and your client agreed on,
  • Take mikes and audio equipment to record the special moments, e.g., vows and speeches. 
  • Visit the site beforehand with your client to plan unique shots, or you can record some private clips before the big day, 
  • Have a meeting with your team to explain their work and clients’ requirements, 
  • Carry a walkie-talkie to maintain continuous communication with your entire team. 

As we explored the worlds of videography and cinematography, it became clear that although they are similar in terms of capturing moving images, they have significant differences in execution. From managing the challenges in each sector to choosing the right one for your needs, we tried to explain every aspect of it. 


Final Word

Whether you want cinematic videography, cinematography, or videography, ensure it captures the best moments of your big day. Get someone who understands your requirements and captures moments to reminisce about your life.

Here at DC Media, we offer one-on-one consultations with our clients and provide the best services within budget.

Now that we have explained the difference between videography and cinematography, we hope you have a clear idea about them. Whether you like to be captured in a cinematic way or want to store natural, candid moments with your loved ones, we are here to help.



What are the main differences between videography and cinematography?

  • Videography primarily focuses on capturing and producing video content for events, such as weddings, corporate functions, and live performances. The approach is often straightforward, with an emphasis on documenting the event as it happens.
  • Cinematography involves creating visual storytelling for films, commercials, and TV shows. It emphasizes artistic techniques, including shot composition, lighting, and camera movement, to convey a narrative or evoke emotions. Cinematographers often work with larger crews and more complex equipment to achieve a cinematic look.

Do videographers and cinematographers use different equipment?

  • While both videographers and cinematographers use cameras, the type and complexity of their equipment can differ. Videographers typically use more portable and versatile cameras suited for event coverage and may work with minimal lighting setups. Their gear is often designed for quick setup and mobility.
  • Cinematographers use high-end cameras with advanced capabilities and often employ extensive lighting, lenses, and rigging equipment to control the visual aesthetics of their shots. They also work with tools like dollies, cranes, and gimbals to achieve specific cinematic effects.

Is the role of a videographer less creative than that of a cinematographer?

  • Not necessarily. Videography requires creativity in capturing and editing live events in a way that tells a story and resonates with the audience. The challenge lies in working within the constraints of real-time events and making quick, effective decisions to capture key moments.
  • Cinematography involves a more deliberate and controlled creative process, where the cinematographer collaborates with directors and production teams to design and execute visual storytelling. While it often allows for more planning and artistic expression, it also requires technical expertise and a deep understanding of cinematic techniques. Both roles demand creativity, but they apply it in different contexts and with different goals in mind.

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