Cinematographer Vs. Videographer

May 30, 2020

Comparing Cinematographers to Videographers

Some of those involved in the film industry, such as cinematographers and videographers, are responsible for knowing what elements are important to shoot. Though people in both these careers may use similar camera techniques, the focus of their end product is different.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2020)* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Cinematographers Bachelor's Degree $56,775 11% (Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators)
Videographers Bachelor's Degree $44,821 11% (Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators)

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Cinematographers vs. Videographers

Cinematographers and videographers capture the movies that play on big screens and the important occasions people want to remember forever. The former typically work for film studios on larger productions. The latter, however, are usually self-employed and are hired to complete shorter projects. It is important to note, however, that they may use the same equipment and editing software to produce their art.


Along with set designers and directors, cinematographers are responsible for the emotions a film conveys to audiences. A deep understanding of photography, scene movement, and lighting is necessary for these professionals to complete their job. In fact, cinematographers adjust the lighting to focus attention on characters or props or to set the tone for the entire movie. The angle and composition of the shot also influences the look of the movie, and this is also determined by the cinematographer. Additionally, they create a list of shots to be taken on a given day, allowing set availability, actor schedules, and weather to help determine the shooting order.

Job responsibilities of a cinematographer include:

  • Choosing the equipment to shoot a scene, including film, digital cameras, cranes, and moving tracks
  • Studying the characters and script to determine the mood they'll need to capture during filming
  • Ensuring makeup and costuming looks as intended when caught on camera
  • Purchasing film stock and other supplies


These professionals capture some of the most important moments of individuals' lives. Weddings are one of the most prominent events they film, but they also work for various institutions to make documentaries and promotional materials. A large part of their responsibility revolves around picking up new clients. To do this, videographers may download their best work to personal websites and video sharing websites, such as YouTube. Similarly, they may bid for freelance jobs that allow them to be involved in a multitude of projects with different purposes. Once they secure a bid, it is also their duty to develop a contract that outlines deadlines, budgets, and the scope of the project.

Job responsibilities of a videographer include:

  • Obtaining clearance to film in certain locations
  • Copywriting materials they have captured
  • Preparing cameras, audio recorders, and lighting equipment
  • Editing raw footage using computer software

Related Careers

If you're interested in a career as a cinematographer, you could also explore a position as a director, as both are responsible for making decisions about the overall feel of the movie. Similarly, if you're curious about a career as a videographer, you may also want to look into a job as a film editor, since both finalize the movement from one scene or image to the next.

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