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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 12th, 2012, 12:44 PM   #1
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One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

As a rule we do not give clients raw footage of Weddings. The only exception we have ever made was when a still photographer friend of ours called and had a client that were on a tight budget and wanted a discounted price for shooting their wedding with no editing, just giving them the raw footage.

The date was open for us so we agreed. We shot with three HDV cameras and at the end of the day checked the tapes before handing them over to the client.

Now 1 1/2 years later our photographer friend has contacted us and says that now that the couple have gotten around to having the tapes edited the tapes are blank! My business partner told her that the only way that could happen was if they stored the tapes near a strong magnetic field like unshielded speakers.

They are sending the tapes to us to look at so I am very curious to see what we see (or don't see). One thing I know for sure is that the tapes were fine when we gave them to them.

In any case this has reinforced our policy of not giving raw footage to clients. The only way I would ever break this rule would be if we had time to at least copy / capture the footage as a backup before handing it over.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 02:41 PM   #2
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

What's the betting they are trying to play them in a DV/DVCAM deck like a DSR 11......?
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Old August 12th, 2012, 03:02 PM   #3
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

Yeah - don't worry. They aren't blank. I had the same thing recently trying to play HDV tapes in a non-HDV compliant camcorder. Just played a blue screen.

But now you'll have to convert them and hold their hands all the way... for free...
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Old August 12th, 2012, 03:46 PM   #4
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

I think what this lesson should teach is not to enforce your policy of not offering Raw footage, but to do it in a better way that will keep you safe from these awkward situations.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 05:27 PM   #5
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

Oh I am sure they kept them safe and sound sitting right on top of their 20 Inch woofer case. Should be just fine....:)
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Old August 13th, 2012, 11:17 AM   #6
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

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Originally Posted by Long Truong View Post
I think what this lesson should teach is not to enforce your policy of not offering Raw footage, but to do it in a better way that will keep you safe from these awkward situations.
One of the reasons we don't want to give out the raw footage is that what we shoot pre-wedding and during the reception includes a lot of staged shots (think glidetrack, etc) that are trial and error with sometimes many takes. Many of which we would not use as they did not accomplish the artistic intent. We don't want shots we would have never used being edited and used by someone else resulting in a product that will be attributed to us but not really our finished product. Nobody is going to distinquish between us as the shooters and whoever ends up doing the editing. I just don't want our reputation linked to something beyond our control.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 12:20 PM   #7
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

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Originally Posted by D.J. Ammons View Post
One of the reasons we don't want to give out the raw footage is that what we shoot pre-wedding and during the reception includes a lot of staged shots (think glidetrack, etc) that are trial and error with sometimes many takes. Many of which we would not use as they did not accomplish the artistic intent. We don't want shots we would have never used being edited and used by someone else resulting in a product that will be attributed to us but not really our finished product. Nobody is going to distinquish between us as the shooters and whoever ends up doing the editing. I just don't want our reputation linked to something beyond our control.
I think it really depends on how you deliver your raw footage and what the intend is.

I personally offer raw footage as an option only if the couple has already purchased a feature film from me and would additionally want to have the raw footage to get a "behind the scene/director's cut" kind of experience.

By doing so, I feel that my couples appreciate my edits even more since they can see how much work has been put into the making of their final product. I also don't need to worry about them using my footage and have it edited by someone else since there is really no point for them to do so.

Raw footage can also be used as a complimentary option I can easily throw in to seal a deal with a couple who wants to negotiate their package. It makes some couples happy to know that they are getting more for the same price rather than forcing me to lower my price because I don't have anything else to offer.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 12:25 PM   #8
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

well, raw footage does not mean original footage.
you could have proposed to give them a transfer of the tape to a DVD, charging the minimum for handling.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 01:08 PM   #9
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

Quote:
I think it really depends on how you deliver your raw footage and what the intend is.
I shoot with 5 different camera's throughout a wedding day and use 4 different audio recorders, most of the images from the videocamera's have crap sound but that's what the audio recorders are for as they are very close to the source, if you would hand them over to a client like this (which can be up to 500 different files for one wedding) they wouldn't have a clue what to do with it. I can imagine questions like, "why is the audio so bad?" or, "there are so many separate files, is there a way to play them continuously?"

I"m with D.J. that raw footage like this can not improve client satisfaction, like D.J. said, there are many staged shots, with a lot of failed attempts, out of focus shots, under- over-exposed shots and so on. In the actual film they get you don't see any of that because that's what editing is for, you trash what's not good and you combine and/or enhance to make a better experience. With supplying raw footage your just delivering an unfinished product that can be ugly at best.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 08:17 PM   #10
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

Whether it improves client satisfaction or not is not up to us to determine. Some people simply enjoys buying everything and it's their own choice. I know for sure that I personally enjoy going through raw footage. I would assume that I'm not the only one in the world who does.

And like I mentioned in my previous post. My raw footage is only available if my clients purchase a feature film from me first. At that point, my job is already done and delivered so I really don't see how selling raw footage to get extra income can affect me negatively.

Most clients who bought raw footage from me in the past have told me that after watching my film and then going through the raw footage, they appreciate my work even more because they can really see what goes behind the scene during production and enjoy seeing how everything is put together afterwards for the final product.

I could care less if my clients see that I needed 3-4 attempts to get certain shots right. They can either think that I'm a bad shooter or be amazed by how tricky and challenging my job can me sometimes. Either way, it doesn't affect me and I'm happy with the extra money I get from selling the raw footage.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #11
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

Hi Long

Some clients also simply want it for a backup...that way they figure they could give the raw footage to an editor 20 years from now (when I will probably be pushing up daisies!!) if they lost the DVD's. In my days of MiniDV I always used to give the tapes to the couple ..sorta marketing advantage but it was mainly to save on storage space as I had the captured footage on a drive anyway!!

I seriously wonder if couples want footage "so they get everything"?? Most people that are NOT video enthusiasts are highly unlikely to have a pro NLE on their computer that will recognise camera files..I think most think that all you need is Window MovieMaker or iMovie to edit a wedding...it's also pretty tough for a non-videographer to start syncing 3 or 4 cameras on an iMovie timeline so I really do wonder what the REAL reason is why they ask for it???

Next season I AM doing a wedding where the bride specifically asked for the footage but in her case, her brother owns a production house and will do the edit for her...I'm not too phased on this as it's only the simple outdoor ceremony being shot. (The brother is in the bridal party so he cannot do two jobs at once)

Chris
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Old August 13th, 2012, 10:16 PM   #12
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

Hi Chris,

I honestly can't bother too much trying to figure out what the REAL reason could be. Whatever the reason is, my work remains the same and everyone is still happy. The client gets the extra footage and I get the extra money.

Since my raw footage is only delivered AFTER they receive their wedding film, I'm not concerned by what they want to do with the raw footage afterwards.

I personally have a backup of everything so I'm not scared of losing anything and the clients can always come back if they want something from me in the future. The footage can also be used later on if I want to use it for a demo reel or promo video for a sponsor.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 02:39 AM   #13
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Some clients also simply want it for a backup...
In my case I allways make a short and a long version of a wedding, the long version pretty much contains all I filmed that day minus the garbage but with all the extra audio added and multiple camera angles edited, that I can deliver into a master 1080p 25mbs mpeg2 file and a 720p 5mbs mpeg4 file and I can deliver Iso files from both the dvd and blu-ray.

The mpeg2/4 and iso files are options they can pay extra for if they want it for backup but all remain finished products and not unfinished like raw footage. So for me I see that as extra income but I secure the quality of what goes out and carries my name.

Quote:
Most people that are NOT video enthusiasts are highly unlikely to have a pro NLE on their computer that will recognise camera files..
That's something to consider as well, what if you have use a mix of camera's that use codecs the clients pc can't read or what if the playback stutters if they try to play back raw dslr footage on an older laptop? We should secure the client gets a format that can be read on their dvd, blu-ray or pc's but with raw footage you never can be sure.

For me at least this wouldn't work, there's too much to take into consideration, not only playback issues but also clients asking why you did not include certain parts they find on the raw footage that was not included into the finished product.

I do get a request for raw footage but its very rare, actually never for Belgian weddings but a few times for a Chinese, Indian, serbian and a Turkish wedding. But in all those cases I don't supply it, only exception I made was for the Turkisch wedding where specifically was asked only to film the dancing part and they would do the editing.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 08:52 AM   #14
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

Hi Noa

I do 30 odd weddings in a season here (September to May) (Yeah I'm lazy!!) and in the last maybe 10 years I think I have had maybe 3 requests at best so it's not a big issue for me.

I did consider giving the bride just the MPEG2 clips but it's hardly worth considering since there are so few requests. I think that if the bride truely want to edit and is a experienced editor, you wouldn't have got the job in the first place..her mate in the industry would have done it.

If I lived in Belgium (in your city) and you were getting married THEN I could understand if you asked for just raw footage if you asked me to shoot your wedding. I did have a bride last season who did a local "film and television course" so I sent her a camera file and she came back to me and said that the version of Premiere that was part of her course didn't recognise the file at all. (It was quite a while ago so it probably was an old version)

For me it's not ever a big deal ... I usually remind a bride that requests footage that I have a friend who got a family member to shoot his wedding and as at his 15th anniversary it's still sitting on Hi8 tape!!!

Chris
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Old August 14th, 2012, 10:14 AM   #15
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Re: One More Reason Not To Give Raw Footage

I shoot on Canon DSLR so providing raw footage consists of either a hard drive that contains the original H264 .MOV files that any computer with quicktime could read or I can provide them a Roughcut version (on DVD or USB) which is a cleaner & sequenced format of the video footage.

Like most of you, those requests are very seldom but I definitely offer the option if they ever do ask for it. It's extra income I wouldn't say no to.
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