What’s the Difference Between a Videographer and a Creative Video Production Agency?

Whether for a wedding or a commercial, an experienced San Francisco videographer or agency can help you turn any moment into movie magic. However, there are some events a videographer may not be able to capture alone. Read on to learn more about videographers and creative video production agencies to determine which is suitable for your next project. 

What Does a Videographer Do?

Videographers are generally responsible for filming video footage at an event (like a wedding or conference) or for a film production (like a commercial or documentary). Many videographers are independent contractors with flexible pricing and schedules, while others work for video companies. Skill levels can range as well as the experience of the average Videographer.

Good videographers are skilled at capturing action on camera without compromising quality. Recreating moments is not always possible, especially for live events, so capturing everything perfectly the first time is important. Camera focus, movement, and the subject’s location within the frame are factors most videographers consider crucial to how the final product turns out. Critical to all of these is the lighting as well. It’s important to consider the existing light  and when to supplement. 

Other Videographer Duties

Some videographers are able to offer editing, coloring, and delivering their video footage, often for an additional cost. However, some videographers may only act as “camera operators” and not have the expertise or time to light the scene, edit your footage or encode it for your final need. In these situations, videographers may refer you to a different editor or leave you with unedited video clips that need color grading.

Every videographer’s skill set is different, and some may offer additional options for capturing your event, such as sound production and lighting. A videographer’s capabilities usually depend on their training, experience, and available equipment. Since most independent videographers pay for or rent their equipment out of pocket, finding two videographers in San Francisco with the same gear is rare. 

What Does a Creative Video Production Agency Do?

A creative video production agency like Four Winds Creative can help you plan and achieve the best video production possible. While videographers are relatively hands-off until the event or production day, creative agencies are heavily involved in pre-production, production, and post-production. However, the specifics of what creative video production agencies do and their involvement depends on the event/production and your specifications. Four Winds Creative will be as involved as you want us to be in your production. We love what we do.

Pre-Production Through Post-Production

From the very beginning, creative agencies will help you develop a pre-production and marketing plan. This includes working with producers to discuss the project’s target audience, goals, and messaging and prepping for the day(s) of production. Creative agencies may want to visit the venue beforehand to check sound, test bandwidth, locate electric outlets, and determine the best camera angles for your event’s needs.

During the production or event itself, a creative video production agency will usually have multiple crew members present, including a producer, director, videographer, Director of Photography, sound mixer, and possibly a production assistant. The number of videographers and other crew members will depend on your project’s needs. Live events like conferences usually demand multiple videographers and cameras operating simultaneously for various camera angles and coverage. 

Creative video agencies will pass video footage and photos off during post-production to their editors. Editors will review all footage, edit the videos, and add audio and graphics where needed under the producer’s direction. Most creative agencies offer multiple revisions and will work with you through post-production to ensure deliverables meet your standards.  How quickly does that footage need to be edited? Do you want to post social videos the same day? Creative video agencies like Four Winds Creative are used to “quick-turn” editing and delivery requests. 

The Importance of Project Briefs

The first step in working with a creative video production agency is to provide them with a project brief. Typically at least one page, a project brief summarizes what is expected of the creative agency to give them an overall idea of the project. The brief should include all the information the agency will need, including information you’ve already communicated. Usually, the brief is shared with and repeatedly viewed by everyone involved with your project, including producers, videographers, editors and internal management. 

If you need help creating that brief, Four Winds Creative will work with you through a “Discovery Meeting” to help you distill the key points of your communication and video needs. 

Having a “single source of truth” is important to communicate all expectations, accommodations, and details. The Project Brief can be this source. A standard video project brief should include the following:

  • Type of video you want to create (commercial, social media ad, short documentary, etc.)
  • Audience details 
  • Objectives and message
  • Desired delivery method for the video
  • Audio needs
  • Graphic needs
  • Budget
  • Timeline
  • Brand guidelines
  • Itinerary for live events when appropriate


The length and details of the brief will vary by project. In many situations, you may already have a comprehensive plan for your video production, so your brief should be detailed enough to ensure the agency is on the same page. In other situations, you may have a goal for your project but want the creative agency to do the creative ideation. In these scenarios, focus your brief on the project’s target audience, objective, and desired message and the agency will help flesh out the remaining details.

Videographer vs. Creative Video Production Agency: Which Is Right for Your San Francisco Event or Project?

The most significant difference between videographers and creative video production agencies is that agencies are much more comprehensive. Videographers work better for smaller events and productions that don’t require too much camera work beyond pointing and rolling. Creative production agencies are ideal for larger events and productions requiring thorough advanced planning and multiple crew members. 

A creative video production agency will almost always yield more professional and finished results than a videographer. Reach out to Four Winds Creative today for high-quality video planning, production, and editing in the San Francisco area.


Do I need both a videographer and a photographer at my San Francisco event?

A videographer is responsible for capturing videos at an event, while a photographer is responsible for capturing still photos. Some videographers may offer to do both services at an event. However, this can lead to mixed results and certain moments only being captured in one medium. Especially for corporate events, having both a videographer and photographer in attendance ensures every memorable moment is captured without compromise.

What is the difference between a videographer and a Director of Photography (DP)?

While videographers generally operate the camera, a Director of Photography is intimately involved in the lighting and the design of all the camera shots. They provide consistency across many videographers or camera operators. Often, these terms are relatively loose and interchangeable depending on the production. Additionally, in some situations, a DP may act as both Director of Photography and videographer. 


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