Wedding FAQs: Raw Footage

aka “He gives WHAT to his wedding clients? Wedding videographers hate him” and other Buzz Feed-ey titles.

Hey folks,

I wanted to take the time to explain some terminology.

In the world of wedding videography, the way we word what you receive can be confusing. One man’s “feature film” is 8 minutes long, while someone else’s is 2 hours long. It can be confusing to see these vague, non-standard phrases when you haven’t hired someone to shoot a wedding before.

Raw footage is one of those terms, so I wanted to take the time to explain it.

For me, raw footage is the footage exactly as it came off the card. Totally uncooked. There is no colour correction, audio processing, or syncing. It is the footage in the same format as I have it when I begin editing. This means things like:

  1. It can look really bad. The beginning and end of shots may be out of focus, underexposed, and shaky, because they were not meant to be a part of the edit.

  2. It can be hard to watch on some computers. Not ever computer can play every video file, so I can’t guarantee you’ll be able to watch it. Especially video in 4K.

  3. The files will be in a folder, renamed in a format like This means that you will have hundreds of files and no true way of knowing which file contains what.

To give you an idea of what I mean, check out a screen recording of me scrolling through, and playing a few seconds, of raw footage from a recent wedding. I simply picked some shots at random and recoded myself previewing them.


As you can see, from a technical standpoint, it isn’t the prettiest footage. There are camera movements that aren’t meant to be seen, and some of the footage looks flatter then it was when I delivered it.

These limitations aside, I have decided that for 2019, I will include raw footage for every wedding. So why do wedding videographers hate me for it?

Okay, no-one hates me for it, but the general consensus with wedding videographers tends to be to either charge for this service, or not offer it at all because it may reflect badly on the quality of their work. Plus, some people worry about missing out on revenue if a couple decide to take it somewhere else to get edited.

I completely understand these concerns, but here’s how I look at it:

  1. You are smart enough to realize that what you are watching is raw. When you see your film, you will know that I shoot with purpose, and editing, colour grading, and audio post processing is all part of the process.

  2. Every second may be valuable in ways that we don’t really understand at the time. Presumably, everyone in that room is there because they mean something to you. The more time that passes, the more special it is to be able to see and hear these people when they’re younger. It’s like travelling back in time. Why would you not want every second (even the stuff that didn’t make the cut)?

  3. I mean… I’m sending you a hard drive anyways, right? May as well transfer it over.

You’re probably wondering, do people actually watch raw footage of their wedding?

Immediately after, some do, and some don’t. I’m not entirely sure what the breakdown is. But over time, I believe most people have a look.

Does this all make sense? If so, great! If not, feel free to contact me, or leave a comment, and I’ll answer as soon as I can.