I shot a wedding for a friend this weekend. And during the introductions he said that I was a "great videographer". Cool, but I prefer to think of myself as a filmmaker.
And there is a difference. A videographer shows up and captures an event on video. This is the guy I call "Uncle Frank". He sets up his camera either in the back or in the aisle next to his seat, and presses record. If he's really dedicated he will look through the viewfinder and pan and zoom to try to catch the action.
The videographer records an event.
The filmmaker, me, gets up in the action. I walk around the stage to get the best shots possible (much to the chagrin of the wedding coordinator). I do everything I can to make the wedding video look and feel like a major production or reality TV show.
The filmmaker captures the feeling of an event.
But while I was wandering around getting shots prior to the ceremony, the photographer showed up. He knew what he was doing, and I'm guessing that his pictures will look awesome. But the photographer does something very different from the videographer or the filmmaker.
The photographer captures the moments of an event.
So, even if he has to fabricate something ("hey, groom, put your foot up on your leg like this while you're tying your shoe") he will snap a picture that embodies a moment.
The videographer and the filmmaker can't really do that. Because video is a time-based medium, we must capture the feelings of a moment, not just the moment itself.
So, if someone ever asks you to shoot an event, think about what kind of video guy you are, and approach the shoot accordingly.
Your Media Production Mentor