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Videography: Definition, Basics, and Practical Tips to Get Better

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Videography: Definition, Basics, and Practical Tips to Get Better

In 2022, the power of video is unparalleled.

Every platform—from social media, to YouTube, to streaming media—is optimized for video. And it’s no wonder; 82% of all internet traffic is predicted to come from video in 2022.

That’s why if you’re a podcaster, vlogger, or other digital content creator, it’s natural to be curious about getting into videography. 

Creating high-quality video content is a highly marketable skill, whether you specialize in filming corporate branding videos, becoming a wedding videographer, or creating videos for your personal YouTube channel. Read on for a handy guide to videography, including its purpose, the various forms it can take, and some tips and tricks for how to become a videographer yourself.

What Is Videography?

Videography is the process of capturing video digitally, then editing and producing that video. Videographers use digital cameras and streaming devices to record video projects like recording a concert, documenting the news, or streaming a podcast or vlog. 

While videography sounds similar to cinematography, they have a few differences. Videography usually refers to the process of recording live events and using more spontaneous, guerilla-style recording, while cinematography usually refers to highly produced projects with a film crew and a script, like a movie. Cinematography is also usually recorded on film stock rather than on digital devices. 

What Is the Purpose of Videography?

Unlike cinematography, which involves highly planned and produced complex projects, the purpose of videography is to capture live events. Videographers live in the moment, not only capturing the footage, but fixing the lighting and inserting music and sound effects when needed. 

Cinematographers work with bigger film crews and take more of an artistic direction to filming, while videography is meant to be a method of capturing film of an event in real-time by a solo (or very small) crew.

Does Videography Include Editing?

While they sound similar, videographers are not the same as video editors. 

It’s a video editor’s sole focus to compile and edit the raw footage into a finished product. As for videographers, their job may include editing (depending on the size of the team and the scope of the video project), but videographers are responsible for the entire process of video production.

What Are the Types of Videography?

As with any creative endeavor, the “types” of videography are limited only by your imagination. That being said, there are a few common styles and categories in use today. Let's look at a few of them, along with some examples.

Time-Lapse videos

Whether it’s a bank of clouds rolling across a horizon or a seedling sprouting into a tree, these videos use speeded-up footage to give the illusion of time moving at a faster pace than normal. 

Interviews

In this style, videographers get in front of the camera and interview their subjects. These videos do quite well when live-streamed to social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

Product Reviews

Consumers rely on reviews from real users before buying a product, which explains why video reviews on YouTube and social media are so popular.

Tutorials and Product Videos

These short instructional videos demonstrate knowledge or a skill. Companies often hire videographers to demonstrate the benefits and uses of their products.

Promotional video

This more advanced videography type uses video to showcase a product or service. Whether it’s a brand documentary, a marketing campaign or a brand awareness video, these videos help deliver a narrative and raise excitement about a brand and its product or service.

Event Videography

As the name suggests, these videos capture events like a wedding, party, music video, press release, or ceremony. 

Documentaries

These non-fiction films turn real life into a narrative. Documentary videographers are well-versed in finding compelling truth in the seemingly mundane.

Filmmaking Process

Every filmmaker has their own process and style, but the basic steps generally stay the same. If you want to practice videography (or become a better videographer), start with the following process:

Pre-Production Planning

First, start by coming up with a concept. Answer questions like:

  • What content do you want to show?
  • Who’s your audience?
  • What message do you want to convey?
  • Do you have any goals or actions you want your audience to take?

Once you know your goals and overall vision, make a plan. 

Videography may not come with the same level of pre-production as cinematography, but you can still plan your shoot. Depending on the type of videography you’re working on, this step may include writing a script, scouting a location, and preparing all the camera equipment, lenses, and lighting equipment you’ll need. 

You also may want to make a list of potential shots ahead of time. If you’re prepping for wedding videography, for example, make a shot list of key moments like the cake cutting, first dance, and the couple’s exit.

Filming Basics

After the planning stage is over, it’s time to shoot the video.

The key to becoming a good videographer is to learn to spot the details. (That, and of course, a lot of practice.) 

But let’s look at a few practical tips for shooting video to look more professional and level up your filmmaking game: 

1. Use a Simple Background

The background shouldn’t be distracting from the subjects. You may want to incorporate a solid sheet, a plain wall, or backdrop paper.

2. Be Intentional With Your Lighting

Use lighting best practices to give your footage a professional flair. You may want some combination of: 

  • Key light (the main light)
  • Fill light (more diffused light used to fill in any shadowy areas created by the key light)
  • Backlighting (faces your subject and separates them from the background, creating a three-dimensional scene)
  • Side lighting (lights the scene from the side, adding more texture)
  • Practical lighting (regular light sources as part of the scene, like lamps and electronic screens)

3. Use the Rule of Thirds

One well-known technique is to avoid the urge to center your subject in your shot.

Instead, the camera operator should divide the shot into thirds vertically and horizontally, then place the subject's head at one of the intersections of those lines. Many cameras have grids that help you visualize your shot better.

(Image source: SLR Lounge)

The Editing Process

Editing video is a complicated process, and if you want the best results, it may be worth your while to hire a professional. 

But if you want to experiment and build your own editing skills, start by following these phases of video editing:

  • Organize your footage—Post-production will be much easier to manage once you’ve organized your media into folders for ready access.
  • Sync your audio—Some video editing software, like Riverside, automatically stitches the audio and video together for you. But if not, you’ll need to sync the audio.
  • Review the footage—Make sure you have a solid idea of every shot and piece of media you have. Also make sure to review any notes you or others have made about which shots to use in the final cut.
  • Create a rough cut—Piece together material that tells the story you’re looking for. You may need to use placeholders for graphics or text.
  • Fine cut—Next, fine-tune the details of each shot. Crop shots to the right length, edit the video, and insert any music and visual elements like text, animations, and graphics.
  • Final edits—This last pass-through should include viewing the project on different devices (like your TV and mobile device). This is also the time to review your color grading and audio levels to arrive at a final product.

Best Cameras for Videography

Since videographers often need to follow the action at a moment’s notice—without compromising video quality—you should look for a lightweight powerhouse of a videocamera. 

Our current top pick for the best videography camera is the Panasonic Lumix GH6. It’s a very versatile, mirrorless camera that comes with a wide range of video options, including unlimited recording times and 5.7K/60fps video.

Another top option is the Panasonic Lumix S1H, which is the smallest (and cheapest) camera to be approved for use in Netflix projects. It can shoot in 6K at 24fps and performs well in all lighting, and it also has excellent built-in stabilization.

Other Videography Equipment You’ll Need

For any videography project, you’ll need more than a camera. Certain hardware and software is essential regardless of your style or niche, like:

Videography Resources

If you’re interested in becoming a videographer, there are several free and paid resources you can use to build your skills. 

It’s a good idea to immerse yourself in what the top artists in the field have to say. To get started, try checking out:

And if you haven’t already, you’ll want to learn how to use a camera. We recommend attending free workshops or taking classes in film, photography, or even broadcast journalism. If you’re still in school, consider joining your school’s audio-visual club to learn basic videography skills.

If you’re serious about pursuing a career in videography, you may also want to pursue a degree in videography-related field, such as communications, cinematography, or broadcasting. 

Then, consider looking for an internship in the film industry. Get in touch with local news studios or film agencies and ask about internship or assistant opportunities. 

The more you can learn about how a film crew operates, the more prepared you’ll be to become a professional videographer.

Videography: The Future of Content Creation

Today’s content creators—from podcasters, to webinar hosts, to documentary makers—need to know how to make high-quality video. Thankfully, professional-level videography has never been more accessible.

Some techniques used by professional videographers are simply a matter of practice and observation. And there are many workshops, classes, and even internships widely available to help you hone your skill.

There are also a lot of high-quality hardware and software options on the market, even for beginners with a low budget. Many affordable video cameras are lightweight and still pack a powerful punch in the video-quality department. 

And when it comes to recording software, Riverside provides studio-level recording quality while being highly affordable and user-friendly. 

For more reading on videography, check out our article: The Video Production Process: 9 Easy Steps

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