Wedding planning blogs and websites are amazing! They offer so many great tips and tricks, inspiration, planning “do and don’ts” and planning timelines. They also let you, the bride and groom, know about wedding cinematography, and why you should hire a cinematographer or videographer, and for that we will be forever grateful, because we believe strongly that you should investment in a beautiful film.
However, most of these wedding planning blog writers are not photo or video professionals, and are unaware of what goes into making these works of art come to life. One of the bits of advice many of our brides are given is “Ask your videographer for the raw footage.” Frankly, we think this is bad advice for most couples, and here’s why…
What is Raw Footage anyways?
Raw footage is the unedited footage taken directly from your wedding cinematographers 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. FCI 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 wedding flowers, not to mention all the major events of the wedding day. It is not uncommon for FCI to have 600 minutes of footage that must be reviewed and edited into the final delivered films that the client receives.
“Can we have raw footage of our wedding day?”
So this past week I had a meeting with a new couple who were considering Family Creative Imagery to shoot cinematography for their wedding, and they asked me if they could receive the raw video footage of their wedding.
This is a common question amongst brides and grooms. Maybe it comes from the original wedding videographer days with the giant VHS tapes coming out of the camera… maybe there’s something on a wedding planning site that suggests you ask this question to your videographer… whatever the reason is, Brides and Grooms ask me all the time; “Do we get the raw video footage?”
My answer is “No, and here’s why…”
1. There’s just TOO much, and you’ll never watch it all.
Say you’re hiring 2 cinematographers to shoot 9 hours of your wedding day. Those cinematographers are both shooting the majority of your wedding day, meaning that there’s going to be upwards of 12-15 hours of footage in total!
A large part of what you’re paying your professional cinematographer to do is go through all of that footage, pick out the best parts, cut together the story, and make your final video look beautiful, and tell the wedding day story in a reasonable 1-2 hours.
2. They’re in annoying little clips
Back in the day when weddings were shot on video tape, you would just keep shooting on one tape until it was full, and tapes held 1-2 hours on them. Now, I’d say 99.9% of wedding videographers and cinematographers shoot in an HD digital format, which means that there are HUNDREDS of little nondescript short clips; some 20 minutes long, some only 12 seconds. Sometimes it is the exactly same clip over and over, while the cinematographer was trying to get the camera movement just right… Again, this is what you’re paying your cinematographer for; to do the annoying tedious work of going through each of these clips and make it a beautiful concise video that tells your wedding day story!
3. The file sizes are huge!
As a cinematographer, I currently have approximately 20 TERABYTES of storage in order to keep all the current projects, all the archived projects, and back ups of all of those; and that amount only grows every summer. To put that in perspective;
- 1 terabyte = 1000 gigabytes
- 1 gigabyte = 1,000 megabytes
1 song from iTunes is about 5-7 MB, 1 photo on your iPhone is anywhere from 2-4 MB
Many of the weddings we shoot can exceed 200 GB of raw footage! To put that in perspective, many computers only have 500 gigabytes of storage total. It would take three and a half 64 GB iPhones to hold all that footage.
4. We use 85% of the footage anyways.
If you are using us as your wedding cinematographer, the majority of the footage we shoot will still end up in your final video anyways. In every cinematographer collection we offer a full length documentary film. In every full length documentary film we include all of your wedding ceremony, all of your reception speeches, first dance, cutting the cake, etc. So you’re not going to miss anything significant.
What we do is ‘cut out the fat’; the awkward 20 seconds before the recessional song comes on… the shot where the sun is in your eyes, and you’re making a not-so-pretty face during your photo session… the section of a shot where we’re moving to get a better angle so the camera’s bouncing around and shaky, the other ‘takes’ while we’re trying to get just the right close up of your flowers…. you get the idea.
5. Photographers don’t do it. Authors don’t do it. Painters don’t do it. So neither do we.
An Author will never release their first draft of their novel. An artist doesn’t share their rough sketches and brainstorms of their painting, and 99.9% of professional wedding photographers won’t give you the unedited raw photos.
The reason: they are producing art, and the rough ‘stuff’ is not a true representation of what they want to show you.
And the same goes with us… As a wedding cinematographer, we consider what we do an art form, and we put a lot of time and effort into creating it. We spend hours going over all the footage, selecting the best shots, tediously mixing the audio to sound it’s best, making sure each shot is colour corrected and matches the rest, and carefully placing shots to the thoughtfully chosen music. And we plain just don’t want you to see our fudge ups!
Bottom line: Let us tell your story!
In the end, what it all boils down to is this; hire a professional to do what they do best!
At Family Creative Imagery, we’ve told a lot of love stories. We’ve seen a lot of different kinds of weddings, and we’ve learned a 6th Wedding Sense, and just ‘know’ when things are happening. We are
Let us cut together all your raw footage and tell your love story too!