Cinematography Vs. Videography: Differences And Salary Info

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Cinematography and videography are two popular career options for those interested in filmmaking and shooting videos. Many people confuse these two professions and use both terms interchangeably. If you are planning a career in filmmaking, then learning about the differences between cinematography and videography can help you make an informed career choice. In this article, we discuss the differences between cinematography vs. videography, outline the roles and responsibilities of both professions and share their salary information.

Related: Types Of Jobs In Film Industry (Duties And Salary)

Differences between cinematography vs. videography

Here are some differences between cinematography vs. videography:

Team size

Cinematographers usually work in a large team. During a shoot, a cinematographer works with several artists and technicians. They supervise the camera and lighting department and instruct personnel on camera angles, exposure, shot sizes, motion and other technicalities. In contrast, videographers can operate alone or with a small group. They can film the video alone or with just one or two teammates. They focus on controlling the camera's movements, exposure, shutter speed and other technical features.

Nature of work

Cinematographers tend to work in the film industry and other narrative-based video projects, such as short films or documentaries. Cinematographers can often choose from a broad range of project options. In comparison, videographers typically record and document business conferences, corporate events, wedding receptions, birthday parties, school and college events or other personal celebrations. Their projects usually have lower scope for creativity or narrative-based production.

Attention to detail

Cinematographers work in films and strive to work on creative projects that improve their skills artistically. They analyse the screenplay, visualise each scene and implement the vision. They require a strong attention to detail. In contrast, videographers can have limited artistic freedom, and their role is more technical in nature. They usually apply some creativity during the editing process or change the camera angle to shoot unique videos.

Scope of work

Cinematographers help shoot a movie in its entirety. Regardless of the setting, they are constantly aware of every scene. They also pay special attention to the screenplay during the post-production process. Cinematographers may assist the filmmaker or director in actualising their creative vision. Videographers can be more selective in their involvement and only record the most critical parts of an event. For example, they typically record videos of important ceremonies and guests during weddings and receptions.

Equipment and work environment

Cinematographers usually shoot on location and may operate in challenging environments. They generally take extra care of their gear, such as cameras, storage devices and computers. In contrast, videographers usually work in more predictable and easier work environments. As videographers work in small teams, they typically operate all gear themselves. This can include cables, batteries, cameras, reflectors, accessories and other specialised equipment to manage lighting and sound.

Related: What Is A Film Director? (Duties And Qualification)

What is cinematography?

Cinematography is the art and science of capturing visuals for motion pictures. It is essentially visual storytelling that requires knowledge of photography, cameras, shooting and certain post-production processes. Camera movement, angles, lenses, zoom, exposure, lighting and framing are all part of the cinematography process, and they help make movies and other films such as documentaries more artistic.

Cinematographers play a crucial role in making impactful movies and videos. The aim of the cinematography process is to record videos using the right lighting, shot size, focus, composition, camera placement and movement. This is a highly specialised role, and professionals in the filmmaking industry usually spend several years gaining practical experience. Once they prove their creative excellence, cinematographers can demand attractive salaries and more creative control over the filmmaking process.

Related: How To Become A Casting Director: A Comprehensive Guide

What are the responsibilities of a cinematographer?

Here are some key responsibilities of a cinematographer:

  • Choosing visual styles: Cinematographers decide the visual approach and style of a film. Documentary cinematographers, for example, decide whether to utilise re-enactments or depend entirely on stock photographs.

  • Establishing camera setups: A cinematographer is often responsible for choosing the right camera, lens, angle and technique for the right shot. Working with script supervisors, locations managers and set designers is also usually a part of the cinematographer's job.

  • Determining the lighting for every scene: A cinematographer employs lighting to generate the visual tone that the director desires. They understand how to improve the depth and contrast of a visual to suit the story's mood.

  • Attending rehearsals: As the blocking for a scene is likely to vary and develop organically, it is important for a cinematographer to attend rehearsals with the actors. This way, both the cinematographer and the actor work together to make adjustments to camera or body positions to get the best possible framing.

  • Coordinating with the production team: A cinematographer may coordinate with other creative professionals in the team to ensure that all elements in a particular scene synchronise with each other. Along with the script supervisor, they may also be responsible for ensuring continuity between different scenes.

  • Elevating the vision of the director: A cinematographer may suggest new ideas and shooting techniques that the filmmaker may not have previously considered. This may include suggestions and techniques that help improve the storytelling and make the visuals more impactful.

Related: What Does A Producer Do? (With Average Salary And Skills)

What is videography?

Videography is the process of recording moving images for a video project. Videographers typically store short pieces of important video on storage devices and assemble them later. Additionally, videography may entail editing the film and finishing the final product. Among other things, this includes applying visual effects, controlling the light or adding a soundtrack. Videographers use electronic or physical media to store moving images, such as videotape, memory cards or solid-state storage.

The videography process begins with pre-production, where the different elements of a video get planned. This applies to everything, from creating a short video to documenting a long business conference. Many freelance photographers offer videography services to reach more clients and generate more revenue. Setting up a videography business requires purchasing some basic equipment such as camera, cables, tripod, microphones, recorders, reflectors and editing tools.

What are the responsibilities of a videographer?

Here are the primary responsibilities of a videographer:

  • Filming videos on set or location: One of the prime roles of videographers is to film videos on the set or location as per the project. Depending on the production scale and budget, they may also be in charge of lighting and sound design.

  • Managing equipment: A videographer ensures that all the necessary equipment is available and functioning properly for a video shoot. They supervise the technical aspects of lighting, camera angle, reflectors and microphone.

  • Planning the shoot: They work with the creative team and the client to plan the shoot. Videographers may create a storyboard and decide on camera angles during this stage.

  • Editing footage in post-production: Videographers may sometimes edit the video and audio elements they captured. They may put together different videos and audio to produce a final product as per client expectations.

  • Supervising crew members: In addition to directing other camera operators, videographers may assist the video director in achieving their vision by supervising the crew. This can include giving directions and guidance to different technicians on how to shoot or set up a scene.

Related: What Does An Assistant Director Do? Duties And Skills

What is the average salary of a cinematographer?

The average salary of a cinematographer is ₹3,60,776 per year. This figure can vary as your experience and skills increase. The location of your employer or project can also significantly influence the salary of a cinematographer. For instance, the approximate average salary of a cinematographer in Mumbai, Maharashtra is ₹3,60,000 per year. One prominent reason cinematographers can earn a higher salary in Mumbai is that it is the hub of filmmaking in India.

What is the average salary of a videographer?

The average salary of a videographer is ₹35,416 per month. This figure can vary as per your skills, expertise and specialisation. It also depends on whether you are working at a company or have your own enterprise. The average salary of a videographer in New Delhi is ₹35,416 per month, among the highest in the country. Freelance videographers with a substantive client base can earn a high salary.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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