• Nico

Wedding Videographer vs Wedding Filmmaker

A shot of a wedding ceremony setup

The first films I ever made were of my friends and my brothers horsing around when we were all barely teenagers. I’d film us mountain biking, surfing, skateboarding, and so on. Occasionally we’d do little skits or dance to music. I picked highlights from all of this and put it to music … and experienced the cinematic magic that has captivated my attention ever since.

In high school I began making narrative films and eventually attended film school at the University of Southern California. Those of us students making films - with sometimes old school film cameras and sometimes digital videocameras - certainly considered ourselves “filmmakers” and not “videographers.”

Fast forward several years and I’m now making wedding films in my hometown of Santa Barbara. But is calling myself a wedding filmmaker just … pretentious? I was once at a networking event and an older gentlemen, a photographer, suggested as much. In response to my self-introduction as a filmmaker, he mentioned in passing that he was used to calling us just “videographers.”

Well, what is it then? Should I now consider myself a videographer? Is this simply semantics? Or is there a difference between the two terms?

I thought it over after that event and came to a conclusion - it’s both. "Videographer" could conjure up an image of the person who came to your parent’s wedding with a big tripod and massive videocamera, set it up in the back of the event, and simply videotaped the wedding in its entirety. In the end your parents probably received, more or less, the raw footage.

Contrast that to what we do these days. We sometimes use multiple cameras and several audio sources. We use cinematic lenses and sensors that are far more capable of capturing both the detail and grandeur of the day. And most importantly, we have advanced so much in the postproduction. We pick out highlights throughout the day, weaving them together with music and audio to create … wait for it … a wedding film. Perhaps it makes more sense to identify what we do as filmmaking? Ourselves as wedding filmmakers?

All things considered, it’s still social convention to call what we do wedding videography. And that’s fine. I use the term interchangeably. After all, the point is the magic of this art form, not in what we call ourselves.