Our buzzword of 2016 was “Videographer”. It’s a term that has grown in use and in 2016, we heard it a lot. What’s in a word? For us, it’s something that we wanted to get out in 2017- it’s not us! It’s bordering on a dirty word round our offices…we’re not videographers and we don’t employ any either. It’s not going to ruin our day if we hear it but it is important that we set out our definitions and what it means to us. In this article our senior producer, Gavin Hopkins, puts down some thoughts and sets a line in the sand for Enterprise Screen. We’d be interested in your feedback- where do you stand and does it matter to you?
Videographer is an odd word. It’s never really sat right with me. I appreciate what its inventor was trying to get at which, put simply is: a photographer who shoots video instead of stills. I’m sure there are some very talented and capable people working under that job title but to me it’s just not something I identify with and it is not part of Enterprise Screen. So let’s break down the word to understand why I don’t use it to describe what we offer.
The word videographer consists of two parts “video” and “-grapher”.
Video is just a word that describes a file type. Anyone can shoot a video, anyone can upload a video and share it online, in fact more video is uploaded to Youtube every day than you could possibly hope to watch in an entire lifetime. Video has become so common place that video alone, almost has no inherent value. It is the ubiquitous file we click, stream or see on our timelines. Today, we believe it’s the quality and content of that video that defines it’s worth.
Quality and Storytelling
Now I’m not going to get into the many factors that contribute to quality of a video, that’s a separate and wide-ranging topic. I can tell you that all of the best videos, regardless of their subject matter, have one single unifying attribute - they tell a story. A story told through video is generally referred to as a film and at Enterprise Screen that’s what we focus on making for our clients - films. It really is at the centre of everything, “telling the story”. Now, they might not have the same budget or special effects of the latest blockbuster you saw at the cinema but they have more in common with that than they do with the new cat, dog or baby that is being shared a thousand times a minute.
And what about the second part of the word? Well, “-grapher” is described by Google as “indicating a person concerned with a subject denoted by a noun ending in -graphy”. This is likely where a lot of my personal/professional dislike comes from. Photography was established nearly 200 years ago and is notable as being both an art form and a type of Journalism, in fact I am not alone in arguing that a photo can sometimes be more powerful and thought provoking than the written word. In contrast, I would also argue that videography isn’t a thing. It only exists as a way of expressing what a videographer does, which to my mind creates a feedback loop that never adequately expresses what either is.
It’s not about Photo (graphers) vs Filmmakers!
Which leads me to other reason I dislike the “-grapher” part of the word. Due to the nature of the etymological compound derived from “photographer”, it is inherently linked to the idea that, much like a stereotypical photographer, a videographer is someone who operates independently and without support, performing all the tasks related to the creation of the video on their own. It implies creation of a singular product as an output- video, in place of stills.
Simply put, at Enterprise Screen that isn’t how we work. As suggested previously, we plan, we design, we research and we capture within a fairly complex and creative process. We are also a team and unless there is very specific requirement to do otherwise, there will always be a minimum of two key members of our team on every shoot, and more likely three or four. I suggest, this brings a process that pushes the definition of videography far away from us. Our product and our service goes beyond the capturing of the video “file” that is implied in the word. Our team of filmmakers are multiskilled- always balancing the requirements of each client whilst delivering the pre-production, the shoot and the post-production in the most creative, effective and efficient manner possible. A videographer, no matter how talented, wouldn’t be able to provide that same service for you on their own. I would also suggest that 2 videographers would not deliver that same work- for me, the term suggests a minimum input of capturing something and presenting back a video file.
I suppose this begs the question: how do we describe the people we employ to make your videos? Well, there are some specific job titles we have like director, producer and camera operator but there’s a broader term we used to describe our production team - filmmakers. We turn your concepts and broad stroke ideas into targeted, specific films, that we know will get you the results you’re looking for. We tell stories- video is just a part of it.
Photographers might tell you the same!
The more we examine the term, the more I consider that perhaps, Photographer is a term that will need to evolve. The days of the snappy photographer covering weddings, events, even press and journalism have almost long gone. Many of the photographers we work with are more than the guy with the camera. Indeed, their skills in planning for a shoot, working with the subjects and delivering the magic in photoshop go way beyond the word. However, regardless of the great people we have worked with having all of this- they still work as lone guns for hire. There will always be a place for this but we suspect time will turn the name too…are we seeing the last days of the Photographer?
A final thought…
So, whilst other companies might suggest you use their “in-house videographer”, Enterprise Screen won’t be able to provide that for you. We want to offer more and to get the best from us, we need you to think beyond “videographers”. We offer you the services of our team of highly skilled filmmakers who can’t wait to make you some of the best video content you can imagine - films.