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Filmmaker vs Videographer


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#1 Jesus Sifuentes

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 07:28 PM

Lately I have been working on minor budget productions working as a grip and have notice a huge amount of directors who don't know the basics of Film/HD. I worked on a small budget commercial were the Director keep on asking for 3 point lighting and he clearly had no idea of the basic set up. Every so often he would utter the words "lets white balance" in front of the client even thou the set up was the same. We ended up in a small confrontation because I just couldn't take any more.

I have come to the conclusion that a videographer is just a cut and shot person with no respect for the aesthetics of the craft of filmmaking. Some one who hustles a client in to false promises and half ass efforts. Now I am not being judgmental because of budget or medium. I sure there are filmmakers who shot 35mm and take the same attitude.

To me a videographer has become a dirty word that i affiliate with these kind of "directors".
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 09:03 PM

Lately I have been working on minor budget productions working as a grip and have notice a huge amount of directors who don't know the basics of Film/HD.

I've got a client whose husband is a partner in a jewelry business that does a fair amount of local TV advertising. Whoever is making their commercials doesn't have a clue. Last night I saw one of their spots where they had a young, pretty blond woman sitting in a chair jammed up against a wall. She's wearing a close to skin color peach blouse and the wall behind her was pretty much the same color as the blouse. And, of course, she's hard lit from slightly above the camera. Adding insult to injury: No glamour photos of any jewelry, just her pitching and a couple of stills of the front of one of their stores. Rank amateur work. Fortunately for them she's a pretty good pitchwoman and does a good job of selling.
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#3 Dan Goulder

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 09:46 PM

I've got a client whose husband is a partner in a jewelry business that does a fair amount of local TV advertising. Whoever is making their commercials doesn't have a clue.

Are you able to find local advertisers that are still into shooting their spots on film?
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 11:15 PM

Lately I have been working on minor budget productions working as a grip and have notice a huge amount of directors who don't know the basics of Film/HD. I worked on a small budget commercial were the Director keep on asking for 3 point lighting and he clearly had no idea of the basic set up. Every so often he would utter the words "lets white balance" in front of the client even thou the set up was the same. We ended up in a small confrontation because I just couldn't take any more.

I have come to the conclusion that a videographer is just a cut and shot person with no respect for the aesthetics of the craft of filmmaking. Some one who hustles a client in to false promises and half ass efforts. Now I am not being judgmental because of budget or medium. I sure there are filmmakers who shot 35mm and take the same attitude.

To me a videographer has become a dirty word that i affiliate with these kind of "directors".



I'm a little confused by your choice of words and how you define them. You're using the term "videographer" to describe inexperienced Directors. Why?

A Director is not a technician. He is like the conductor of an orchestra who brings together the crafts, skills, and creativity of all involved artists and technicians so that the final product is produced to its highest potential. That's what he's supposed to be doing anyway, in theory. ;)

A Videographer is akin to a Director of Photography or Cinematography, only he uses a camera which acquires images electronically rather than chemically with film.

As with any craft, there are expert Videographers who know how to use their equipment (camera) properly and know how to light beautifully. And there are hack Videographers who don't know their equipment and light poorly. The same range of experience holds true for every other position in film and TV. There are excellent Directors and very awful ones.

That said, it is terribly unfair to suggest that all Cameramen who primarily use video cameras (Videographers) are bad at what they do. The camera is just a tool. It does not define the skill of a person or the quality of his work.
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#5 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 11:18 PM

Are you able to find local advertisers that are still into shooting their spots on film?


A fair amount of the bigger budget ones I have worked on as a crew memeber have shot on film, usually hospitals . . .
None of the smaller ones that I would DP/ direct have. Only HD . . .
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#6 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 11:19 PM

I'm a little confused by your choice of words and how you define them. You're using the term "videographer" to describe inexperienced Directors. Why?

A Director is not a technician. He is like the conductor of an orchestra who brings together the crafts, skills, and creativity of all involved artists and technicians so that the final product is produced to its highest potential. That's what he's supposed to be doing anyway, in theory. ;)

A Videographer is akin to a Director of Photography or Cinematography, only he uses a camera which acquires images electronically rather than chemically with film.

As with any craft, there are expert Videographers who know how to use their equipment (camera) properly and know how to light beautifully. And there are hack Videographers who don't know their equipment and light poorly. The same range of experience holds true for every other position in film and TV. There are excellent Directors and very awful ones.

That said, it is terribly unfair to suggest that all Cameramen who primarily use video cameras (Videographers) are bad at what they do. The camera is just a tool. It does not define the skill of a person or the quality of his work.


I agree.
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#7 James Baker

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 12:34 AM

Ermanno Olmi had never even been anywhere near a camera until he directed I Fidanzati, a truly beautiful film. And he has said he acted like an idiot on the set. But learned a lot.

Maybe this guy you're complaining about was just really nervous. Maybe he learned a lot. Maybe he didn't.

There are all kinds of people out there and there's no real reason to come to the conclusion that you made.

Edited by James Baker, 13 February 2008 - 12:35 AM.

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#8 Jesus Sifuentes

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 12:42 AM

Are you able to find local advertisers that are still into shooting their spots on film?


Here in San Antonio there are only 2 production companies that I work with that still shot on 35mm. The other ones mostly shot HD/DV.

Edited by Jesús Sifuentes, 13 February 2008 - 12:45 AM.

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#9 Jesus Sifuentes

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 12:44 AM

Ermanno Olmi had never even been anywhere near a camera until he directed I Fidanzati, a truly beautiful film. And he has said he acted like an idiot on the set. But learned a lot.

Maybe this guy you're complaining about was just really nervous. Maybe he learned a lot. Maybe he didn't.

There are all kinds of people out there and there's no real reason to come to the conclusion that you made.


Well this director that I worked with has been in the "biz" for years now. There is no excuse.
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#10 Jesus Sifuentes

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 12:59 AM

I'm a little confused by your choice of words and how you define them. You're using the term "videographer" to describe inexperienced Directors. Why?

A Director is not a technician. He is like the conductor of an orchestra who brings together the crafts, skills, and creativity of all involved artists and technicians so that the final product is produced to its highest potential. That's what he's supposed to be doing anyway, in theory. ;)

A Videographer is akin to a Director of Photography or Cinematography, only he uses a camera which acquires images electronically rather than chemically with film.

As with any craft, there are expert Videographers who know how to use their equipment (camera) properly and know how to light beautifully. And there are hack Videographers who don't know their equipment and light poorly. The same range of experience holds true for every other position in film and TV. There are excellent Directors and very awful ones.

That said, it is terribly unfair to suggest that all Cameramen who primarily use video cameras (Videographers) are bad at what they do. The camera is just a tool. It does not define the skill of a person or the quality of his work.



Well, I did make it clear that I wasn't being judgment about the medium they use. Regardless if its 35mm, HD or DV. I categorized these types of directors as "videographer" because of the lack of knowledge or respect for the craft. Now, 90% of these director shot DV or HDV hence why I chose to use the term 'videographer". Just look at your local spots and you will know what I am talking about.

Now I think a Filmmaker/Cinematographer who shots HD/DV and takes pride in the work they do regardless if its a local spot, wedding, corporate video etc does not fall into a "videographer".
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#11 Mike Washlesky

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 09:12 AM

Well, I did make it clear that I wasn't being judgment about the medium they use. Regardless if its 35mm, HD or DV. I categorized these types of directors as "videographer" because of the lack of knowledge or respect for the craft. Now, 90% of these director shot DV or HDV hence why I chose to use the term 'videographer". Just look at your local spots and you will know what I am talking about.

Now I think a Filmmaker/Cinematographer who shots HD/DV and takes pride in the work they do regardless if its a local spot, wedding, corporate video etc does not fall into a "videographer".



It doesnt matter what medium the Director is using bro, if they suck, then they suck. I am a DoP and CamOp but only shoot on HD. Does that make me a videographer?

The definition from the extremely accurate Wikipedia:

"Strictly speaking, a videographer is a person who works in the video medium ? recording moving images and sound on tape, disk, other electro-mechanical device, broadcasting live, or even on actual celluloid film in some cases. On a set, he or she is usually responsible for the camera, sound, and lighting. As part of a typical field production crew, videographers usually work underneath a director. However, for smaller productions (e.g. corporate and event videos), a video videographer often works alone or as part of a two or three person team of camera operators and lighting and sound technicians.

Typically, videographers are distinguished from cinematographers in that they manage smaller, event scale productions (weddings, short documentaries, short fiction pieces, simple commercials, simple training videos), differing from individualized large production team members. Due to reduced budget compared to full length feature productions, videographers typically use electro-mechanical cameras while cinematographers record images on film. The advent of digital cinematography, however, has blurred this distinction."

The word videographer is a term to describe a role. Not an adjective describing the quality of work.
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#12 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 12:41 PM

It doesnt matter what medium the Director is using bro, if they suck, then they suck. I am a DoP and CamOp but only shoot on HD. Does that make me a videographer?

The definition from the extremely accurate Wikipedia:

"Strictly speaking, a videographer is a person who works in the video medium ? recording moving images and sound on tape, disk, other electro-mechanical device, broadcasting live, or even on actual celluloid film in some cases. On a set, he or she is usually responsible for the camera, sound, and lighting. As part of a typical field production crew, videographers usually work underneath a director. However, for smaller productions (e.g. corporate and event videos), a video videographer often works alone or as part of a two or three person team of camera operators and lighting and sound technicians.

Typically, videographers are distinguished from cinematographers in that they manage smaller, event scale productions (weddings, short documentaries, short fiction pieces, simple commercials, simple training videos), differing from individualized large production team members. Due to reduced budget compared to full length feature productions, videographers typically use electro-mechanical cameras while cinematographers record images on film. The advent of digital cinematography, however, has blurred this distinction."

The word videographer is a term to describe a role. Not an adjective describing the quality of work.


Agreed. I usually do both small-scale film and video productions, so I prefer to call myself a cinematographer; but I also do videography.

Definitely, videographer is a noun not an adjective. It would be like saying that a mechanic is a person who does a bad job of fixing cars while an engineer is the one who does a good job fixing them. Which would be a lump generalization anyway because self-trained mechanics can be better at fixing cars than formally trained mechanics AND engineers:

http://www.npr.org/t...toryId=16400387

http://www.fastcompa...ad-messiah.html

But I digress . . .
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#13 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 01:04 PM

Well, I did make it clear that I wasn't being judgment about the medium they use. Regardless if its 35mm, HD or DV. I categorized these types of directors as "videographer" because of the lack of knowledge or respect for the craft. Now, 90% of these director shot DV or HDV hence why I chose to use the term 'videographer". Just look at your local spots and you will know what I am talking about.

Now I think a Filmmaker/Cinematographer who shots HD/DV and takes pride in the work they do regardless if its a local spot, wedding, corporate video etc does not fall into a "videographer".



That wasn't much better. You've chosen to use a job title as an generalized insult. "Videographer" is simply a title to describe someone who acquires images with a video camera. No more, no less. You're making a rash generalization that anyone who shoots with a video camera is inherently bad at their job.

Beyond that, correct use of titles is important. A Director is a Director. A Cameraman (DP, Cinematographer, Videographer) is in charge of the camera. If the Director also is the Cameraman, then any critique of his ability needs to be directed toward each specific role. Making a judgment regarding poor directing but aiming such critique at the camera element doesn't make sense and is unfair.
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#14 Xavier Plaza

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 01:05 PM

A Director is not a technician. He is like the conductor of an orchestra who brings together the crafts, skills, and creativity of all involved artists and technicians so that the final product is produced to its highest potential. That's what he's supposed to be doing anyway, in theory. ;)



I disagree with you, of course the director is not a technician, but he must have a visual sense, that include basics knowledge about what he's doing including camera work... I think the director who have more knowledge in other areas (art, photography, psychology, sociology, make up, special effects, ...), could be extend his vision of like defining and solving the things in scene or out of there...


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#15 Jesus Sifuentes

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 02:03 PM

It doesnt matter what medium the Director is using bro, if they suck, then they suck. I am a DoP and CamOp but only shoot on HD. Does that make me a videographer?

The definition from the extremely accurate Wikipedia:

"Strictly speaking, a videographer is a person who works in the video medium ? recording moving images and sound on tape, disk, other electro-mechanical device, broadcasting live, or even on actual celluloid film in some cases. On a set, he or she is usually responsible for the camera, sound, and lighting. As part of a typical field production crew, videographers usually work underneath a director. However, for smaller productions (e.g. corporate and event videos), a video videographer often works alone or as part of a two or three person team of camera operators and lighting and sound technicians.

Typically, videographers are distinguished from cinematographers in that they manage smaller, event scale productions (weddings, short documentaries, short fiction pieces, simple commercials, simple training videos), differing from individualized large production team members. Due to reduced budget compared to full length feature productions, videographers typically use electro-mechanical cameras while cinematographers record images on film. The advent of digital cinematography, however, has blurred this distinction."

The word videographer is a term to describe a role. Not an adjective describing the quality of work.


I agree with you with the standard definition. Typical videography gigs tend to have smaller crews (3-5) and each crew member usually does more than one job. I am not debating that, nor budget.

Now just cause I have a minimal budget doesn't mean I am gonna sacrifice quality. I've worked on numerous low budget projects where the director had minimal experience but had tremendous passion, vision and respect for the more experienced crew members. Perhaps I have been unfair by using 'videographer" and generalizing the term. Then what would be a better term to describe these type of "filmmakers"?
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#16 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 02:07 PM

I don't think a director needs to really have a visual sense, so long as they know how to elicited the performances necessary for the piece.
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#17 Jesus Sifuentes

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 02:15 PM

I don't think a director needs to really have a visual sense, so long as they know how to elicited the performances necessary for the piece.


well most videography production don't need performances. Most are corporate videos, weddings, commercials.
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#18 Mike Washlesky

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 02:20 PM

I agree with you with the standard definition. Typical videography gigs tend to have smaller crews (3-5) and each crew member usually does more than one job. I am not debating that, nor budget.

Now just cause I have a minimal budget doesn't mean I am gonna sacrifice quality. I've worked on numerous low budget projects where the director had minimal experience but had tremendous passion, vision and respect for the more experienced crew members. Perhaps I have been unfair by using 'videographer" and generalizing the term. Then what would be a better term to describe these type of "filmmakers"?



Label them as "bad Directors" individually and avoid working with them. Bad Directors exist everywhere from the stage to the screen. Or come up with your own term like Di-suckters, or Tardicons.
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#19 Jesus Sifuentes

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 02:32 PM

Label them as "bad Directors" individually and avoid working with them. Bad Directors exist everywhere from the stage to the screen. Or come up with your own term like Di-suckters, or Tardicons.



Cine Troll?
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#20 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 02:32 PM

True that they have less performances as acted, perhaps it would be better to say a sense of character, though that's also the wrong word ,but just a sense for and of the people whom are being shot, and what to shoot to relay whatever the spots message is.
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