“Can we have raw footage of our wedding day?”

We get this request a lot from clients. As a general rule, Paradise does not provide our clients with raw video footage.  All and all, we don’t begrudge people requesting it. They may be trying to save a few bucks, or maybe they just want to have some fun and edit it themselves. It may even be that they misunderstand just what “raw footage” actually is. We get it.  Hopefully through this blog we can make a compelling case that not only do you not need raw footage of you wedding day but that their a few very good reasons you don’t even WANT it.

What is “raw footage”, exactly?

Raw footage is the unedited footage taken directly from your wedding videographers camera. It has no color correction, no cuts, no off camera audio, and is filled with unused footage that never makes it to the final version of your edited wedding. Paradise shoots weddings with the intention of being edited and, as such, have hours of footage of things like napkins being folded and close ups of the brides make up, not to mention all the major events of the wedding day. It is not uncommon for Paradise to have 600 minutes of footage that must be reviewed and edited into the final delivered pieces that the client receives.

Many people confuse the term “raw footage” with a digital version of their edited wedding film. This is easy to confuse and is usually just as easy to clear up with someone. We gladly deliver all edited videos in a digital format to our clients. We want it to be easy for them to enjoy their wedding film in any way they choose. Unlike edited footage that looks and sounds beautiful, raw footage may look dark or even a bit brown (depending on the camera and the lighting situation) compared to the final product and almost never has great audio, as the camera may be very far away from the subject.

Raw footage also takes up a lot of space. There are many weddings that we shoot that exceed 750 gigabytes of raw footage! To put that in perspective, many computers only have 500 gigabytes of storage total. It would take twelve 64 gig iPhones to hold all that footage.

Why we don’t offer raw footage.

As we said, Paradise does not offer raw video footage . We think this is actually in the clients best interest. Art is all about taking resources and combining them to become something magical. To us, the art we create is not the footage we shoot, but what we do with it. Editing is an art in itself and something, if we do say so ourselves, we do pretty darn well. The bottom line is we just want our clients to LOVE their wedding films and to receive the best product we can deliver. We also want everything our client gets and everything the world sees from Paradise to scream quality and care. We think there’s a certain magic to getting a beautifully finished wedding film that would be ruined by seeing how many times it we had to redo that ring shot to get it just right. In today’s Youtube world we would hate to have anything but the best product possible out there for the whole world to see bearing the Pardise name.

I amount the “raw footage” discussion to a person hiring a famous chef, say Chef Gordon Ramsey, for their event. He arrives at your house and plans the perfect menu for your event, get’s his groceries and supplies together, and then you walk in and say “Thanks Gordon. I got it from here on out” and proceed to try to cook his menu. It may be good food, but it won’t be Gordon Ramsey’s food. We view our wedding cinematography in a similar way. It’s not just the ingredients we use to make a wedding film but how we handle them after they are shot that make Paradise's wedding cinema perfect.

Why you don’t want raw footage of your wedding.

Despite our reasons for not offering raw footage, I think a better argument can be made that most clients who inquire about raw footage don’t even really WANT it…

Raw video footage is a very daunting thing, indeed. It exists in folders with names like “Card 1” and with nondescript file names like “IMG_4067.mov” that give you no clue as to what content is in it, unless you shot it yourself. It would only be useful to someone if  you plan on reviewing and editing the all 10 hours of footage yourself. Most don’t. The fact is most people don’t have the time to deal with this massive project. For a professional editor it will take at least 16 hours to edit a wedding, but it can easily creep upwards of 24 hours depending on the event or client.  Needless to say, it would take someone who was not a pro a lot longer and most likely would not be as good of a product.

Video editing is very hard on your computer. Part of what make s a pro editor fast is the investment they have made to get the best gear they can possibly get to make the process go smoothly, and that includes some serious computer horsepower. Not to mention the cost of storage. A wedding film that is not backed up is one power surge away from getting erased.

Not to mention that video editing is hard! Seriously, it is. No matter what anyone else would leave you to believe, taking three camera angles and three off camera audio sources, syncing them up, and editing them takes a good amount of skill to do correctly and should not be attempted lightly. A good editor is so much more than just someone who can “work computers good”. They are a good storyteller with the understanding of feel and timing necessary to bring life and gravity to the footage they are editing.

You don’t need raw footage if all you want is a digital version of your wedding. Any modern wedding videographer will provide this to their client. You simply will not be able to re-edit their work, and for most people that’s totally fine

Most likely the answer to those questions above is a big “No” for most people. Honestly, do you really need more job in your life or to have to worry if Uncle mike will loose all your wedding footage?

Of course, there are wedding videographers who offer raw footage and that’s great. In fact, for some people that may be exactly what they are looking for. In that case you are paying a shooter to perform a service and not for a finished product. In that’s the way you choose to go more power to you! In fact, there may be a position open here for you as a Paradise editor! If you are  currently a bride or groom looking for a wedding videographer or photographer and you don’t feel like editing it yourself then, by all mean, come by  Paradise  We’d love to make your special day truly unforgettable!


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