Avoiding Mistakes: Why ‘Videographer’ Might Not Be the Right Hire for Your Film Shoot

I recently got blasted for posting something on Facebook when I should have known better.

I was looking for someone to film an out-of-town video shoot and posted in an industry Facebook group that we were looking for a “videographer.” When I got the explanation of why this insulted the people in this group, it made a lot of sense.

A videographer typically refers to an amateur “one-man band” who shows up at your wedding or your kid’s baseball game with a camera and films what’s happening in the moment. Not much planning goes into it and the result is useful for your family but not much more.

A cinematographer or director of photography (DP) has done this professionally for several years. They spend time planning and collaborating with the producer before the film shoot to get the best possible outcome for your project.

Why am I explaining the difference to you? And why should you care?

Because you need to make sure you’re hiring the right people for your next video project. 

Here’s a quick behind-the-scenes look at a recent film we shot about statin medications.

We are based in DC and only had one day to film in Miami. We needed to hear from a patient who had success with statins, and from her doctor.  We always pre-interview subjects by phone or Zoom to understand the story. But here are some of the many other things we did in collaboration with our DP before arriving at this busy healthcare center in Miami: 

  • Asked interview subjects to bring in multiple outfits so we could show them in different scenarios and the passage of time (Our patient, Jeannette, brought in 3 outfits)
  • Reserved exam rooms in the health center so we could film doctor/patient exams
  • Reserved a quiet space for the day to conduct interviews 
  • Asked Jeannette to bring her medications with her so we could film her taking them
  • Requested the center provide us with an “extra” so we could see Jeannette doing her job and talking with a patient
  • Made a shot list of all of the other things we could film that would visually go with the story (and upon arrival, scoped out the various places we could film)
  • Coordinated everyone’s schedules so there was enough time to film each person and also not take over their entire day  

If we had just shown up with our cameras and hoped for the best – as a videographer might do – this video would have turned out quite differently.

As you can see, a lot of preparation and planning goes into a successful film shoot. The next time you’re thinking of creating a video for yourself or your organization, make sure whomever you hire to film is doing the work that it takes ahead of time to ensure your success. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *