What is raw footage and why is it not included in our packages?

Couples ask us all the time if they will get the raw footage from the wedding along with their film. We do not include raw footage as part of our packages — it’s not the kind of thing you can sit back and watch.

Instead of raw footage, we usually recommend one of our add-ons films of your full ceremony and/or full speeches — that way you can see more of the key moments in your wedding.

For an average wedding we film, we end up with 12 or more hours of footage. Because we shoot with editing in mind, we don’t have a camera sitting somewhere doing a single long take — we shoot in short clips throughout the entire day, and a majority of clips are as short as 5 seconds. Most weddings have about 800-1000 individual clips, quite a few being duplicates of your bouquet or rings from a different angle.

We shoot on a number of professional-grade video cameras during weddings and also have a few different sound sources to ensure the best quality sound. After the shoot, the audio and video has to be synced in editing software to match everything up. Then the synced footage has to be cut together to show the angles from the various cameras. The footage then has to be color corrected to match cameras and then color graded to give it the look we are aiming for. We often shoot in flat log profiles on the cameras to give us more latitude to work with the color in post, so the out-of-the-camera color is flat and drab looking on purpose so it can be pushed and pulled more to create the story that we want it to.

The main reason we shoot from multiple cameras and edit these angles together is to create the most compelling and cinematic film that we can. However, unlike a film set, on a wedding day we have no control over the talent! During a ceremony, one or more of the cameras will almost always become temporarily useless due to, for example, the wedding photographer (or guest with iPhone) standing in front of it. So editing is necessary.

We don’t offer raw footage because it wouldn’t be very useful for many people to have. Long gone are the days of just sticking a single camera on a tripod at the back of the wedding venue for a ceremony, followed by some shaky hand held camera work by an increasingly tipsy but well-meaning uncle who happens to own a video camera. And with the end of the era of uncle-cinematography, so ended a single long take of video footage that you could (kind of) sit down and watch in its entirety. There are wedding filmmakers that do offer raw footage, probably because it is so often requested. If you are speaking with another filmmaker about getting “raw footage” I would recommend asking a few more questions to see what they really have and if that matches what you are looking for.

Lastly, we love to brag about your beautiful wedding and our name is often attached to your wedding as your cinematographer. Some tech-savvy people can attempt to cut together their own version of a wedding film with the raw footage, which goes against the copyright, as well as can harm the company if the quality or style of the video does not match our company's guarantee.

If you want to see more of your wedding beyond your film, we can create some add-on films for you of your full ceremony, full speeches or any other wedding events you’d like to see in their entirety.

Karmen Abrahams