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A Filmmaker’s Thoughts:  What’s This Word “Videography” All About?

Matt The Cinematographer1For long term Bride Vs Groom readers you’ll notice a subtle change in today’s title: where once we proclaimed these hallowed pages to be the thoughts of a videographer, now you will find the thoughts of a filmmaker. But what has brought this change about?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the word Videography and what it actually means. So often when declaring my job title to be “videographer” I’m met with either a blank stare or occasionally (and perhaps a little more concerning) the question “have you just made that word up?” Whilst everyone fully understands what an ‘ographer is when it comes to photos it just doesn’t inspire the same response when you prefix it with the word video.

It’s not just an occasional lack of understanding as to what a videographer actually is though that poses a problem. For many couples the words “wedding video” still brings to the imagination an image of a cameraman with a huge shoulder-mounted camera perhaps getting in the way whilst just filming the ceremony from start to finish before handing over an unedited tape of the occasion and heading on home.

41113_4048In the early days of wedding videos this picture was probably not far from the truth, but whilst wedding photography constantly re-invents itself with couples generally understanding the rapidly evolving styles available, that stigma over wedding videos still remains despite the changes in the art-form being perhaps more drastic than those of photography. It’s perhaps no wonder though that an old-fashioned image is drawn when we label ourselves with a word associated with technology that was last popular in the late nineties – not only is the video dead but its two successors in the DVD and Blu-Ray disc are ageing and arguably dying out too! Maybe it’s time to leave the word ‘video’ behind…

Many videographers did just that and, with the arrival of “film-standard” cameras and professional quality sliders, jibs and steadicams at a price affordable to those of us outside of the big LA studios, the “Wedding Cinematographer” was born. It’s certainly a big improvement over the word videography with its associations now being drawn from the glamour of the big screen and the interesting and creative camera work and editing that goes into making a Hollywood movie. Indeed one definition of Cinematography reads:

cin·e·ma·tog·ra·phy  (sĭn′ə-mə-tŏg′rə-fē)

n.

The art or technique of movie photography, including both the shooting and the processing of the image.

But whilst the above definition appears to validate cinematographer as the correct word for the job there is one small problem; namely that when we hear the word cinema many of us would immediately jump to the idea of a carefully controlled, highly staged and pre-planned shot. Cinema is about great storytelling but usually in a very contrived form and for me that couldn’t be further from what making a wedding film is all about. Sure some will stage the odd shot and many will use all kinds of cinematic techniques and equipment to achieve them, but at the heart of it all is not a set of actors but a couple in love, and their story is being told right there in front of you, not in the mind of a director but in the little laughs and heartfelt emotion that make that wedding day as exciting, inspiring and completely unpredictable as it is.

So for me it’s time to re-think how we look at this art-form that I so love. It’s time to set aside the videos of the past and embrace the films of the present and future. It’s time to stop drawing illusions of recreating Hollywood at a wedding and keep it simple. Above all it’s time we focussed on what’s really important: capturing in our films the incredible story of two people coming together to share the rest of their lives together.

So if you’re wondering what exactly a wedding videographer or cinematographer actually does, we make wedding films. We make them in different styles with different equipment, different storytelling and different fancy words in our titles but at the end of the day we are all united under the term Wedding Filmmakers.

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