behind the scenes in video production

Videography or Video Production

Videography or Video Production Services

What’s the difference and why would I choose one over the other?

It’s a fair question. On the face of it, ‘videography’ and ‘video production services’ are the same thing, right? Well, not quite, and we’ll explain why.

Over the years, technology has been instrumental in making the use of video more affordable and more accessible. At one point, video production services were only possible with large crews carrying heavy gear, with lighting, external microphones, chunky tripods and supports. Over time, the ability to operate everything as a ‘one man band’ has become very doable, and in some cases you don’t have to make any sacrifices over quality. In fact, in some instances, creating a video with a single person has a huge number of benefits above working with a full crew.

james read tan video production
lights and cameras set up in a photo and video production studio with white walls - ready for a shoot to commence.
james read tan video production

Using this example, we’ve categorised ‘video production services’ as a process being created by a team, and ‘videography’ where all of those individual roles are reduced down and are completed by a single camera operator. So when does one option become better than the other? Let’s make as much of this conversation not about the cost, as you would imagine that a single person is going to cost less than a team – true – so what I’d like to demonstrate is why you should choose one over the other independent of the cost.

A typical video production services team is comprised of a producer, a director, camera operator, lighting, sound, and you can expand that further to include production assistants and runners. A producer will manage the organisation and administration of the project, although that’s hugely under-described. They’re the person who is involved from the beginning and sees the whole project through. They’ll understand the needs of the project, and the needs of the client and will have worked with the client throughout development and will oversee production and post-production to completion and delivery. The director is responsible for the ‘look’ and how the visuals of a video production services project will be constructed. They’ll work with the producer on how best to visually represent the messaging within the video production services project, and with the camera operator to create and capture the shots. They may also conduct interviews with contributors. The camera operator will know his or her camera kit inside and out, being skilled in understanding all of the technicalities around how light is interpreted, how to maintain focus and exposure to get the best quality and stability in the picture. All of this goes into contributing great visuals to a video production services project. More commonly understood are the lighting and sound operators – always undervalued, and commonly have roles that merge into the camera operator’s role. However, it has always been said that the quality in video production services is all down to the lighting, and that you’ll always notice badly recorded sound above a poorly recorded picture! Production assistants and runners help slicken the project, and may be responsible for logging project information as it’s being recorded, to supporting the technical roles, helping to organise people, even making sure that transport, food and drink for the cast and video production services staff are all looked after.

video production behind the scenes
video production behind the scenes

Now, most video production services projects that we work on don’t require all of these independent roles, but it’s important to know where they come from to be able to understand where they may need to be compressed. If we’re putting a brand film or an advert together then we’ll likely allocate roles to a producer, director, and camera operator, sometimes alongside a lighting operator too. This helps us to guarantee quality video production services across the board. The more you merge job roles, the greater the risk of averaging them. So if the aesthetic of a project requires amazing lighting, then we’re best to allocate that role seperately to the role of the camera operator. If there’s a large requirement of interviewing people, directing actors or models, then it’s important that the producer can run the project and the camera operator can run things technically so that the director can focus on directing people. This means that each project should have the team carefully constructed based on its needs.

Most of our smaller video production services projects require just a producer/director and camera operator. In this structure, the producer/director runs the project from the organisation, client management, and overview of the visuals – which are communicated to the camera operator. The camera operator then takes charge of all the visual, lighting and sound requirements to capture the best of the scene possible. I have now been shooting with Haider for over 4 years and this gives us an almost telepathic understanding and level of trust between us that makes this work really well, and it’s our most common starting point for short promo work of all kinds.

Interestingly, recipe videos require slightly less direction, and in that instance we’ll split the roles into a producer and director/camera operator as the producer will usually have lots of work to do prior to the shoot and afterwards to communicate steps to the video editor. Again, Haider and Lauren have this down to a T.

You can see how this works 🙂

We class all of the above as different levels of video production services, and we’ll advise new clients on how we think we need to spec a project to keep quality as high as possible, often with suggestions on how to trim back if the budget doesn’t allow.

behind the scenes in video production
behind the scenes in video production
behind the scenes in video production

Videography then is borne out of amalgamating all of these roles into one, which places a lot of responsibility on a single person. This isn’t necessarily something new, and in some senses this has become an easier role over recent years, although with so many blurred lines between when a bigger team is and isn’t required, managing expectations is pretty important. There are certain situations where a single person, single point of contact, lightweight, inconspicuous single creative is ideal for a video production services project. Shoots where capturing quick visuals that require little setup, moments where you need to be nimble and of quick reaction, situations where you don’t want to draw too much attention. We’ve often found that for events where sound capture is either secondary or not required, and the key requirement is capturing visuals, videography works a treat. Conference footage, people reactions, even brand launches are times where we would prefer to send a single person as the benefits of such a trim operation add a benefit.

Where we’re careful are when the requirements need a little bit more, but run the risk of putting too much pressure on a single person. Imagine capturing an interview, and being responsible for asking the questions, listening to the answers and formulating new responses all the while making sure the subject is perfectly lit when the sun may be moving through the clouds, the sound is audible despite the sirens and overhead aircraft whirring away. It’s a lot to ask. It’s not that it’s impossible by any means, but you increase the risk to the delivery of the video production services project, which is then when we judge it to be a step too far.

THM
panasonic s1h video camera
panasonic s1h video camera

Above all, we’ll prioritise quality in balance with budget of course, but this is why it’s so important to spend that time at the beginning of a project understanding all of the requirements so that we can do what we do best. At the end of the day, whether you go for videography or video production services, it should always be decided by the needs of the project.

Steven Mayatt, Creative Director

Steven Mayatt of Pocket Creatives

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“Fun, innovative and unflappable. Pocket Creatives are great to work with – whether it’s finding the perfect lighting for trifle to capturing GoPro footage on a whisk, they always approach every situation with a steady yet game-changing attitude. I see the whole team as trusted creative partners to make great content together.”

Kitty Aldis, River Group

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“I have been working with Steven and the brilliant Pocket Creatives crew for 3 years – in fact since they started out. They have captured in excess of 100 recipes, produced 7 videos including 2 crowdfunding campaigns, their work, professionalism, and commitment to client satisfaction second to none. What’s more is how they have developed, evolved and grown in creativity, experience, and inspiration.
On a personal front the individuals in the team have to most wonderful personalities – an absolute joy to work with!”

Tanya Robertson-Lambert, Tanya’s Just Real

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“I worked with Steven and his Pocket Creatives team to create a recipe video, and I couldn’t recommend their services enough! From the ideation stage, through to filming and editing the finished product, at every stage, the whole team were first-class, going above and beyond to create a compelling, high-quality recipe video that generated heaps of engagement. I would definitely work them again.”

Ben Cullen, OLIO

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