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Filmmaker vs Videographer. What’s the Difference?

Conservation filmmaker in Ontario

Filmmaker vs Videographer. What’s the Difference?

Purists might say that the filmmaker is dead. Everything is all digital today. True, but filmmaking is very much alive and so are filmmakers.

So what’s the difference between a filmmaker and a videographer?

Anyone can make a video today. Heck, a smartphone makes that possible. Perhaps you’ve seen the videos. Parents make them of their kids being silly. Teens make Tik Tok videos. Organizations shoot videos of events as they happen. People attending weddings pull out their phones and shoot videos. Tons of them. And that’s not including the person actually hired to shoot a video of the wedding. Fine, it’s all good and it’s videography too. There’s nothing wrong with any of this.

But here’s where the difference is between videography and filmmaking: A videographer captures an event. A filmmaker tells a story using moving visuals and words. Obviously there’s no film. But the technique of filmmaking was never tied to physical film. The method of filmmaking simply migrated to new digital technology. Stories still need to be told.

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A filmmaker uses the art of storytelling to create emotion and inspire people to ‘feel’ something. On the flipside, a videographer is a person who shows up with a camera and shoots an event straight on. It’s more about pointing a camera and clicking record. It’s a very mechanical process. Anyone can make a video.

A filmmaker is skilled at the craft of colour grading for a cinematic look. What’s the difference? Do you prefer the synthetic digital look of a soap opera? Or do you prefer the filmic look of Dances With Wolves? A filmmaker uses colour grading to add to the emotion and feel of a film. Imagine is Batman movies didn’t have their unique cinematic look? Would the movies have the same intensity? Nope.

A filmmaker has a method, creative techniques, a story in mind, and a variety of equipment that helps enhance that creativity. The experience and skillset of a filmmaker has been hard won. Many mistakes, issues, unforeseen obstacles, and lessons learned along the way.

Filmmaking is the most powerful way to create content people will want to watch. When your organization’s executive director says “Let’s make a video!”, he or she is most likely not talking about videography but rather true filmmaking. The executive director knows that for this project your organization needs a professional filmmaker to tell a story and use the power of storytelling with visuals and words to achieve the goals. He or she is not talking about grabbing a smartphone and running outside to snap a few clips and then put something quick together using a phone app. Nope, the projects calls for more. More thought. More story. More scenes. More everything.

Filmmaking has purpose and intent. It’s cinematic. It ebbs and flows through a story that has a beginning, middle and end. It has characters. And it is crafted with a specific after-taste emotion in mind to spur audiences into doing an action.



Gregg McLachlan
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