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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old November 15th, 2011, 11:35 AM   #1
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Raw Footage

Hey Guys - I had a bride recently asked me for raw footage of her event. Now I've already given them the highlight video and the final product which they loved. But now the bride wants all the footage I did during pre-ceremony. I specifically told her ahead of time that I do that for the highlight only. There were times when the bride/groom were taking pictures with their photographer and I tagged along just to get footage for the highlight. She even wants all that. I told her that I was hired to record the ceremony and reception and have given her everything we agreed on. She asked, nicely, if she could get the raw footage even for a fee. I would charge her for sure, but a part of me doesn't want to give it at all because while filming sometimes we don't get a great shot, or the lights might not be good, or someone might be saying something, or its shaky, or whatever. Thats why we edit to clean it up and I don't want to sell something that is not representative of my editing skills, which is what is usually seen and advertised.

Now I've only started doing videography this year and have done about 8-9 events and am still very new to this. This is the first time someone's asked me for raw footage. I'm probably going to give it to her, mostly because i'm new and don't want bad publicity. But I wanted to know what you guys do about this.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 11:42 AM   #2
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Re: Raw Footage

That subject has been discussed a number of times.

Do a quick search of the forum here you'll see that the consensus is that RAW footage doesn't go to the client.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 12:12 PM   #3
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Re: Raw Footage

Ok, thanks. I'll check.

Do you guys usually include the pre-ceremony as a standard when putting together the main event?
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Old November 15th, 2011, 01:30 PM   #4
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Re: Raw Footage

Hi Raji,

This subject has been discussed a lot, by myself included. But I'll answer here anyway...

We have a "raw footage" clause in our contract, saying any raw footage is our property, and may be purchased...BUT, we price it very high, and require they purchase ALL of it...this generally discourages people from buying it.

I'm sure if you look at a lot of older posts you will see that a lot of us disagree on this issue, that some of us say "why not just give it to them?" and others who say "No way!" for artistic reasons.

My bottom line is, like you said, there are MANY times when the footage is bad, even garbage! And I don't want that out there representing our final product when it's not what we do.

So if in the end I have a bride that is willing to pay for it, I give it to them...we convert it to DVD, and put chapter markers every 10 minutes and don't do any fancy cases or anything like that. I explain that what ended up in the final video most often has been color corrected, had audio tweaked, among many other things and that none of the raw footage will have any of that.

Like you said, this time I would let the bride have it...(or buy it), but then add something to your contract about it...whatever you decide you want to do with it. Hope that helps!
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Old November 15th, 2011, 01:44 PM   #5
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Re: Raw Footage

It's also worth mentioning that most of us ( I think) have in our contracts that raw footage is retained only for xx weeks or months; so if it's asked for after some time has passed, we have a simple out, saying we don't have it anymore (even if maybe we do).

But I think my reaction would vary, based on the reason they want it in the first place. I know none of us want our work to be represented by what they might see in raw footage, but then again, it may also make them aware of how much work we do in post to accomplish the final product! Might give them a new appreciation for what we did for them. Unless they're editors themselves,what would they want it for? Just to watch as is? I would do my damnedest to talk them out of that. Maybe reassure them that we didn't omit anything "good", but just cut out the poor footage. (And yes, charge a huge price for it if you must give it up!)
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Old November 15th, 2011, 01:54 PM   #6
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Re: Raw Footage

This is an email I wrote recently:

"I have no problem with this, it just becomes a logistic/usability issue. I also ask that the footage be only used privately and not for commercial purposes. We usually record about 60gb of footage, so to get that to the bride I would need an external hard drive capable of storing that much data and have it shipped with a return shipping label paid for.

I can't guarantee that the footage will be usable. HD footage is provided untranscoded and needs proper hardware and software to properly edit. It is also unprocessed, so the exposure, cropping, sound and stabilization will be incorrect. We also shoot in a neutral setting to increase the latitude of the camera, so it takes a bit of work to get it to look right (color grading). If they have experience with raw files from dslr's, its comparable.

I plan to include a documentary edit. It's basically a camera on a tripod capturing the full ceremony and speeches. This might be more of what she was looking for in terms of raw footage? "
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Old November 15th, 2011, 02:14 PM   #7
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Re: Raw Footage

YES, very good point to add Ben....we just recently had a bride from June request her raw footage this week actually. We still have it, but since her wedding we have added to our contract "within 90 days of final delivery date."
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Old November 15th, 2011, 02:44 PM   #8
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Re: Raw Footage

I feel their are few advantages too giving/selling raw footage over giving it. There are downsides, no real upsides.

In extreme cases, a troublesome client can post raw footage on the web representing it as your work. Or they can view it with a media player on TV with friends. Or they can pass the hard drive around the family or to friends to view. That's not how I want my footage seen, but that's just me.

I have given raw footage to clients at no charge to close a deal upfront, but that's the only way I'll give it. Once the deal is done I will never rework the deal to include raw if they didn't ask for it upfront. Just my 2 cents.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 11:55 PM   #9
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Re: Raw Footage

I've only done it once to a very fussy P.I.T.A bride. I did it to shut her up. It backfired on me big time. As soon as she viewed it came the email flood of.... why did you cut that bit? Why did you not include the sound from...? Why did.... why.... why.... why...... <groan>
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Old November 16th, 2011, 12:11 AM   #10
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Re: Raw Footage

If a bride was totally and completely happy with what they got for their wedding video, they wouldn't ask to see raw footage. Think about it. When the bride sees their wedding highlights, they're thrilled at first. But soon they realize that a lot of things are missing from their "completed" dvd. The realization sometimes comes many years later. This is one of the perils of shooting a short form wedding, and especially videos that are "time shifted."

A short form is snippets of the day put together as a montage. Every shot is out of context, and the bride cannot relive the day with just five second fragments. To accurately see what happened, the bride needs to see a long form wedding in real time, from beginning to end. That is why she asks for raw footage, because she's hoping you captured everything in real time the way she remembered it happening.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 06:00 AM   #11
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Re: Raw Footage

I pretty much agree with Warren. I've also found that some brides equate length of finished product to quality and dollars spent. They want to see more for their money.
As for "why did you leave this and not use that" my service agreement clearly states that I have complete control over the edit and while I will cover the event and capture all the MAJOR events of the day (which are spelled out in my agreement in terms and conditions) I can not guarentee that any particular footage or person will be seen in the final version. Something like that. IOW I get to choose, not the b&G. If they don't like that, then find someone else. I will not allow a amature/nonprofessional to dictate to me how I cut the wedding. Sound harsh? Maybe but I don't have brides emailing or calling and demand silly things, like "can you take so and so out of the video since I decided I hate them now?"
We've all had those calls and frankly I have neither time nor patience for them so I try to shortstop as much of that nonsense as possible upfront.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 12:01 PM   #12
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Re: Raw Footage

I think in my case, the bride was happy with what she got, but she wanted more. Since I was there for so many hours and in the final product, she got about an hour and a half of the video, she wanted to see more. Especially the getting ready stuff. Let me ask you guys, is that standard in yoru final product? Maybe its my fault, because I'm new. But the getting ready footage for me was just for the highlight. I only included a couple of clips in thef inal video as my intro and in my DVD intro. But I didn't make that part of the ceremony/reception DVD. Do you guys do that?
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Old November 16th, 2011, 01:54 PM   #13
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Re: Raw Footage

When I'm shooting, I am constantly aware that what I'm getting is going to be included in my raw reel, so I pay attention to my audio, as well as try to minimize camera shake or unnecessary movement. Rather than raw footage, I always give the bride "edited raw footage." I take out useless cuts, or shaky shots as much as possible. In the case of multiple cameras, I quad screen the footage so that all camera angles are viewable simultaneously. In the end, the bride gets a cinematic short highlight, plus the edited raw. All this may sound tedious, but I'm using Edius, which does everything in real time with no rendering necessary. Once the bride gets all of this, she will not complain about wanting to see more.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #14
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Re: Raw Footage

I think Warren brings up an interesting thought with the term "edited raw footage".

We all know that a good percentage of what we shoot ends up on the cutting room floor, if you'll pardon the old expression. So, we still have lots of room to work, so that we can still cut out any horrible shots, inappropriate audio, etc. Then we can still give them the 'raw' footage they're asking for - it's still vastly different from the final product we gave them, so they should be happy, right?

Maybe fewer people will ask in the fist place if we all go to long form edits... :p
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Old November 16th, 2011, 06:14 PM   #15
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Re: Raw Footage

All I do if the groom (it's normally the groom not the bride!) wants raw footage, is give them the clips I use that make up the actual DVD without the header titles. Like others I will only give it out as a last resort but by sending out your edited footage there are no nasty wobbles and the content is absolutely identical to the DVD (just titles and music is missing) so they cannot say "You left out this and you left out that!!"

I think the overall result here, as always, is DON'T!!! Unless it means the bride isn't going to pay or something drastic it's way better to not release raw footage.....besides I very much doubt whether many people could actually play or edit the camera files on their home computer anyway!!

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