Have you ever been watching your favorite internet video and, in a sudden and inexplicable burst of curiosity, wanted to know more about the people behind the scenes who made it happen? I’m going to hazard a guess and say “no,” and that's a shame. Every single video you watch, from that funny commercial to that sad video where dogs stare off into the distance while somber piano music plays in the background, has a creative team behind it making it possible. The person (or group of people) responsible for the fact that it’s a video you can watch and not, say, a blog post or infographic, is called a “videographer.”
Videographers, as the name would suggest, make videos. This term is often confused with “cinematographer,” and the distinction between the two terms is blurry. The easiest way to think about it is this: if the person is working alone (or as part of a very small team) they’re a videographer. Videographers are responsible for all aspects of a video: not simply the planning and shooting of the video, but the editing and sound design as well. A cinematographer, on the other hand, works with a sound guy, a lighting guy, an editor, and a whole host of other people whose titles you’ve seen in the credits of a movie but never fully understood.
So what does a typical day look like for a videographer? The short answer is this: there isn’t one. For the first video I ever shot and edited at Verge Pipe Media I had to film my coworkers recreating memes for a silly and slightly awkward video that accompanied a blog. A few days later I was at a local restaurant shooting footage of the interior for a client. The day-to-day dealings of a videographer vary greatly.
However, the broad strokes remain the same, and they are as follows:
- We brainstorm, plan, script, and/or storyboard. As surprising as it sounds, videographers don't just point the camera at something and say "go!" Before we set foot on a video shoot, everything is planned out as much as possible: what we need from the clients, what angles we're going to shoot from, whatever extra footage we might need, etc. We try and tease out as much as we can so that we can be in and out as quickly as possible while still getting everything we need. Depending on the complexity of the shoot, this can take the form of an outline, a script, or a storyboard (which is a visual representation of everything we plan to shoot, usually either handdrawn or photographed.)
- The next step needs the least explanation: shooting. We show up at the shoot location, set up our cameras, put mics on the video participants, and try to follow our plan as closely as possible. We might be shooting an interview, a scripted sequence with actors, or just b-roll footage. If everything goes as planned, this step can be the shortest step in the entire process.
- The final step is often the most strenuous: editing. At this stage, we take the sometimes gargantuan pile of footage we shot and whittle it down until it looks visually appealing, tells an effective story, and is an appropriate length. Depending on the complexity of the video, this can take several hours to several days to finish. Once we're happy with the finished product, we show it to the client, make whatever changes they want us to make until they approve of it, and then it's on to the next video.
If this sounds like the career field for you, my biggest piece of advice would be to get out there and do it. It’s a very clichéd piece of advice, I know, but it’s the truth. Buy a video camera, learn some editing software, and learn as much as you possibly can about making videos. There's no substitute for experience.
If you're not interested in making videos but want to learn how they can be used to your advantage, download our FREE case study and start taking your video content to the next level: