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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 14th, 2010, 07:59 AM   #1
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We are not just cinematographers...!

Ladies and Gentlemen,
For any of you calling yourselves "Wedding Cinematographers" I wanted to point out that you are also editors, sound designers, lighting techs, grips, gaffers, and to a certain extent, directors, and producers, and publishers of your own work. It is selling you and all of us short by calling yourselves cinematographers. I don't know what to call us, but that one just rubs me the wrong way. It's as if you know the general public doesn't know what that means and it makes you sound "fancier" than videographer. Sorry about the rant, I just had to get that off my chest.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 08:27 AM   #2
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I'll be a videoTographer :)
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Old January 14th, 2010, 11:37 AM   #3
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When something new comes along, words tend to be invented to describe it. Producing videos of weddings is one of those relatively new things. I believe the various names that people call this is just their attempt to differentiate themselves from "Uncle Charlie".
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Old January 14th, 2010, 01:59 PM   #4
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I have to agree with you on the technical point. To be entirely fair, there just really isn't a proper term that correctly applies to what most of us do. Even videographer doesn't apply .. since you do more than just video-tape the event. We simply wear too many hats.

Like it or not though, what you choose to call yourself DOES have an impact on the client. I use the term cinematographer because our style is very cinematic and I want to bring that point across to our clients. We don't produce the type of work that the general public would associate with 'videography' or 'videographer' .. so it makes no sense to apply those terms to ourselves.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 02:31 PM   #5
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I'm going to play the other side of the coin here, and just remind us all that calling ourselves "Cinematographers" is downright misleading to those already in the entertainment industry, and, in some ways, actually insulting. True Cinematographers spend years training and learning various film (NOT video) cameras, techniques, film stocks, lenses, gates, and a whole host of other things related specifically to film production (16mm or above). To consider ourselves in a league with them is really neither accurate nor fair to those who are true film Cinematographers.

I will agree that the line is being blurred, due to Cinematographers now beginning to use DSLRs just as we do, but there is a definite expectation of skills and experience in the film community around calling yourself a Cinematographer, and it has very little to do with video.

I'm not trying to upset the applecart here, just wanting to bring a certain reality check to the conversation. For years, the word Cinematographer meant something completely different than in the context we as wedding videographers are now wanting to use it. That doesn't mean it won't become distinct in the future and also synonymous with videography - but I do not call myself a Cinematographer simply because I have some real Cinematographer friends who would beg to differ (strenuously) over this use of the word.

I'm just sayin' ;)

Bill
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Old January 14th, 2010, 02:44 PM   #6
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That's a good point Bill. I think a lot of people are trying to find the right term to describe what they do. Another word that some use is film or films even though they aren't using film cameras. Others sidestep the problem by using a name such as XYZ Productions and then use a tag line to describe what they do.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 02:47 PM   #7
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Bill, of course you have it right, very few of us are cinematographers in the sense of having the training and certification. And it further dilutes the term when companies that seem to pay little attention to how their videos look will call their shooters cinematographers.

How about the term filmmaker? It carries the implication that you are an artist and that telling stories with moving images is what you do and who you are. Also, that you are an independent producer overseeing all aspects of production, which is certainly true for most of us.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #8
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Audio/Video Artiste!

Or...
Multimedia Maven...

Or... since it's primarily "digital"...
Bit Wrangling Expert Extrordinaire...

Since the Digital revolution it's getting really hard to define things that all can be broken down into manipulating a series of 1's and 0's... from capture/creation to edit/recombination to delivery/distribution!

I know "job titles" have always had a certain value, but for the modern entrepreneur/small business person it becomes more a matter of ego, since you very likely are both the CEO and the janitor... the latter of which isn't far afield from tossing out (editing) the bits that shouldn't see the light of day!
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Old January 14th, 2010, 03:34 PM   #9
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Bill,
If I might put that a different way, we are like the hometown mechanic that could rebuild a big block chevy top to bottom with our eyes closed, vs those guys who are the transmission guys for a high end Italian racing team. I don't think the two relate. I always say "video producer" but that conjures up visions of porn guys. ( and that's not me) but relating it to filmmaking is really not accurate. What we do is in alot of ways such a step above what filmmakers do it's not funny. They would never take on what we do with the crew and budget that we do, yet I bet the vast majority of us could step into alot of roles on a film set and wonder what all of the fuss is about. I just cringe when I hear videographer as well because that's not really a word. Unfortunately each of us have to show our work for people to really understand it. There's no description that will suffice...
Bill
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Old January 14th, 2010, 03:50 PM   #10
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There have been a lot of great films made with neither crew nor budget.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 04:48 PM   #11
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Lately I have been moving toward a designation as Wedding Media Producer or Consultant - since what we do really encompasses much more than just video. Media is being used before, during and after the wedding to inform and entertain the guests (as well as videotape the wedding). I think it sums it up pretty well for me, and I think it gives more of a current and authoritative tone than just "videographer".

This idea/title really has become part of our marketing efforts lately, since I'm trying very hard to work with couples early on to show them all the ways to use media. Much like a wedding planner, we want to work with them throughout their planning and even after their wedding. A videographer (to the average bride) is someone who shows up with a video camera. We provide comprehensive media ideas and solutions for the whole process - which is a different concept and, I think, a better approach for us.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 04:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Vincent View Post
True Cinematographers spend years training and learning various film (NOT video) cameras, techniques, film stocks, lenses, gates, and a whole host of other things related specifically to film production (16mm or above). To consider ourselves in a league with them is really neither accurate nor fair to those who are true film Cinematographers.
I get what you're saying, Bill, I really do. I guess I'm just not too concerned if some true film cinematographers are upset over me using the term. I feel there really isn't a term that describes my profession. I shoot .. I capture footage .. I edit footage .. I perform color grading .. I author DVD's .. I do graphic design for my projects .. I process and edit audio for my projects .. I do the pre-planning for my projects .. I manage my team when we are shooting .. I train employees .. I handle sales .. I handle equipment research and purchases .. I manage all the marketing and advertising .. I answer phone calls .. I answer emails .. and on and on and on .....

What would those true film cinematographers propose I refer to my profession as? Videographer? That certainly doesn't encompass it properly. Video producer? That doesn't either. Film maker? Nope. People who create wedding videos don't have a title that fits .. it's that simple.

So again, I choose the title that I feel will best convey my intentions to my clients .. and for me that is 'cinematographer' because I strive to create something 'cinematic' for them. On a side note, many of today's 'cinematographers' are shooting digital now .. not film. Would your friends be insulted by their use of the term?

Personally, I don't think the terms that are floating around in the wedding industry today are worth anyone getting insulted over.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 05:29 PM   #13
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Have you ever noticed on news broadcasts they refer to the camera operator as a "photographer"? Doesn't make any sense.

At the end of the day, no matter how much lipstick you put on this pig, we will ALWAYS be referred by the bride and groom as "our videographer". A word that isn't recognized by any spell checker.

It's our fault this has happened. Who ever chose this word to describe our work should be shot and hung, and buried alive, but now it is forever too late.

So, call yourself a cinematographer or whatever, it really doesn't matter...we're going to be the first to get cut out of the budget.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 08:48 PM   #14
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I just had to come back and say that just this past year I had several brides who, on my behalf and on their own, corrected others and informed them that I was their 'cinematographer'. I'll admit I was surprised by it, but also very happy that to the bride it was important how I was viewed. In their eyes they didn't hire a 'videographer', and they didn't want anyone else thinking that either.

I'm a firm believer that the face of wedding video can and IS changing. We don't have to be known as 'videographers'. We can change that, and we can change the stigma that goes along with it. It just takes lots of work and patience and time. We can also change the fact that we're often the first to get cut. We're now working almost exclusively with couples that would just about cut everything else before they cut us. We've had a number of couples change their date to fit OUR availability, including one of the couples we met with just today.

I don't mean to argue, but I wanted to offer a different point of view. Change CAN be accomplished. If we can do it in the backwards/repressed market of Boise, ID .. then you can do it where you live too.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 09:57 PM   #15
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Hey Travis et al,

I have to scratch my head a bit at the use of the term cinematographer. And I was all prepared to back that up with a dictionary quote. But dictionary.com says the first definition is "1. a person whose profession is motion-picture photography."

I've always looked at it as their number two definition, the director of photography "the person who is responsible for all operations concerning camera work and lighting during the production of a film."

The first actually fits pretty well, so why not use it? The second doesn't have much to do with us. On most sets I've been on, the DOP didn't shoot anything. He just lit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
I shoot .. I capture footage .. I edit footage .. I perform color grading .. I author DVD's .. I do graphic design for my projects .. I process and edit audio for my projects .. I do the pre-planning for my projects .. I manage my team when we are shooting .. I train employees .. I handle sales .. I handle equipment research and purchases .. I manage all the marketing and advertising .. I answer phone calls .. I answer emails .. and on and on and on .....
Your list makes you sound way more like a producer than a cinematographer to me. Unless you are attempting to give the word a new meaning for your own purposes in your market. And if that works, then all the more power to you.

Quote:
Personally, I don't think the terms that are floating around in the wedding industry today are worth anyone getting insulted over.
Agreed. I've never had a problem with the word videographer myself. I don't know why it bothers people.
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