When I first started shooting video (circa 2005) just about everyone who picked up a video camera came from the indie film world. It was downright offensive to refer to us as anything other than “filmmakers”. But because the tools of our trade were prosumer cameras like the Cannon XL1 and the Panasonic DVX100, which more resembled the tools of a traditional videographer (you know the old guys that shot weddings) as opposed to traditional “filmmakers,” (you know the cool guys that smoked cigarettes and labored over their art) outsiders would often refer to us as “videographers”. This was especially true in the corporate environment where they were used to hiring “videographers” to shoot events, lectures, etc. They were not sensitive to the fact that I didn’t want to be lumped into the same category as the older traditional guys they hired before.
At some point I gave up correcting people and learned to embrace it. In hindsight I am glad I did. The distinction between what we do, and what filmmakers do is worth noting. In my eyes the filmmaker is a part of the establishment, seeking entry into the Hollywood or Indie-film circuit. They go to film school and write scripts. The videographer on the other hand is looking to tell a story (most likely a documentary) with any tool at their disposal, with as little fuss and with a general disregard for any acknowldegment beyond maybe a shout on the vimeo staff picks page. We are not so evolved as to seek monetary compensation for anything more than a means to shoot more video. Yes, I am a videographer! And having a term that I can reclaim, embrace, and redefine is empowering.
Big thanks to our friends over at Contour Magazine for the write up on The Videographers Guide. Check it out and share here.