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My Response to Photographers vs. Videographers Epic Battle: Episode IV

November 14, 2011

Wow, I just watched this video and it’s pretty “epic”.  First off I want to say that I’m not anywhere close to even being a good videographer.  I honestly hate it because of all the pressure there is on the day of somebody’s wedding.  One of the biggest pet peeves I have when filming a couples wedding is dealing with photographers.  As a videographer I’ve always gotten the feeling from photographers that their job is more important.  Sometimes I even get that feeling from whom ever hired me.  This has always made me question who’s job is more important? and who’s job is most difficult?  There’s many factors for both photographers and videographers that can be argued over.  If I had to make a comparison I would say videographers have a more difficult task.

A photographers job is to create and capture moments.  Not only are they capturing moments but they have to use their eye and knowledge of photography to create moments within the frame.  These are the pictures families are going to look back on decades later and it’s the photographers job to get it right!  I’ve never had the job of being a wedding photographer but these are some factors I assume one must deal with and be prepared for.  A photographer must carry around multiple cameras, lenses, batteries, memory cards, light meters and other accessories.  They must have the knowledge of how to use their camera and be prepared for all lighting situations.

A videographers job is to capture the ceremony as seamless as possible, so when the video is played back it’s as if the family is watching a movie of their wedding day.  A videographer has to take in consideration many things.  They need to know ahead of time where they’re going to place their tripods and cameras at.  They need to worry about lighting, and sound conditions.  Videographers need to carry camera chargers, multiple batteries, tapes or memory cards.

As seen in this video from the photographers perspective it seems all a videographer has to do is setup their camera, press record and walk away.  From a videographers perspective it seems all a photographer has to do is walk around a take pictures.  These are both true, but in the end the content is only going to turn out as good as the person(s) hired can perform.  As I said before, a photographers job is to create moments.  They’re not just walking around snapping photos, they have to use their knowledge of photography and capture the “money shot”.  A videographers job is to setup the cameras, capture the event and work around any distractions that may interfere and appear in the shot.

In my opinion I would say both a photographer and videographers job is equally important, but a videographers job is most difficult.  This is most likely a bias opinion considering I’ve never been a wedding photographer, but I ‘ll share my honest opinions from a videographers perspective.  First of all, a videographer has to deal with sound.  If a wedding is outside they have to deal with outside noise such as wind, airplanes, passing vehicles, etc.  As they say in filmmaking, “sound is half the picture”.  If the sound is distracting or distorted, the videos ruined in my opinion.  Second, similar to a photographer a videographer must know how to use his or her equipment.  They must know what lenses to use in the proper situations, how to white balance, and basically understand the principles of photography.  Third, a videographer must deal with distractions.

From my experience as a videographer, I’ve been told and given the feeling to work around the photographer.  This isn’t a problem, except this should be flipped the other way around because the photographer is always in the videographers way!

Luckily the video captured can be edited together and hide any distractions.  A distraction is any situation, or movement within the frame that takes the attention off of the bride and groom.  When somebody watches their wedding video, they don’t want to see people walking in front of the camera.  They want to feel like they’re there reliving the moment.  This is why the job of a videographer is more difficult than a photographer.  Recently I worked on a wedding as the videographer.  I ran into the issue of working around photographers just like any other wedding I’ve worked on.  This really isn’t a “problem”, unless you let it be.  As a videographer you have to be ready every second of the ceremony to do whatever necessary to make sure you don’t miss a special moment.  This means if a camera needs to be moved, move it!  The only problem is you can’t be everywhere at once.  So if you don’t have an assistant or enough people to monitor each camera then you may run into some issues.  In this wedding I worked on I had a 3 camera setup, and had no assistant working with me to help monitor the cameras.  It so happens at various points in the wedding there was one photographer blocking one camera, and another photographer blocking the other as they walked by.  This leaves me with 1 shot available to use in the editing. Unfortunately that camera was being blocked as well!   Thankfully at some point during the ceremony I got a close-up of the bride and grooms hands that I was able to cut to hide the interference of people walking in front of the camera.

As an editor, you don’t always get shots like this to hide distractions.  In this case as a videographer and editor I knew a shot like this would be helpful in the editing.  However, I did run into this issue again, and again, and again.  Now this is becoming a problem!  As an editor you can find shots within the ceremony that you can use to hide distractions, even if you use a shot multiple times so long as it isn’t noticeable.  You can only do this so many times though, and at this point I’ve ran out of options.  I had no b-roll or ceremony footage I could use to hide distractions.  What do I do?  Just let it be a distraction hoping the viewer doesn’t mind or notice?  Do a fade from one camera that has a distraction to another camera that has a distraction, hoping the fade itself will be a distraction from a distraction?  As an editor you can drive yourself nuts when you feel like you’re running out of options.  I decided to take advantage of the distraction.

I had 3 shots to work with.  1 shot was definitely unusable because somebody was standing directly in front of the camera for a good 10-20 seconds.  So I had 2 shots to work with.  I used my 1st shot of a photographer passing by the screen as a top layer.  I created a mask around the back of his body, so when he passes by the camera my 2nd shot which is layered below is revealed.  I question wether this is too “artsy” for a ceremony, or it is a distraction of its own but during the time of editing it felt like the right thing to do.

I don’t believe I’ve exposed any photographers seen in these pictures.  In fact I have seen the photos taken from this wedding and they came out great!  The problem isn’t photographers or videographers, the only issue is that there’s two groups of individuals striving to capture the best moments of a couples wedding day and occasionally they’re in each others way.  Thanks for reading my opinion on photographers vs. videographers.  Do you agree, disagree or have any similar opinions?  Please feel free to leave your comments.  If you’re interested, check out a highlight video of this wedding below.

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