What is Raw Footage?

by | Oct 29, 2017

What’s going on guys!? Today I’m talking about raw footage- What it is, why there’s a charge for it, and whether you think you need it or not!

So what is raw footage? Answer: Exactly what it sounds like. It is footage that comes straight out of the camera, and it is raw, unedited, flat, has kinda poor audio, and is a little shaky. So when you get raw footage, it will be on either a hard drive or a flash drive, and it will literally look like file numbers (see 0:30 for a visual example). You’re going to see multiple cameras and multiple folders with files numbers that will just read “clip0001, clip0002,..” and hundreds more. It will be slightly hard to navigate, because you have to click on each one. You may be able to preview a thumbnail of the file, but it’s honestly a huge pain. Depending on the file type, whether it’s an .mp4, .mov, .avi (there are so many different file formats), some of them aren’t friendly with some computers. Some of the files types are a little complex for most computers, which is why they need to be handled and edited on an actual editing computer! Another big thing to know about raw footage, is that it’s raw footage- It’s not raw footage and audio. So when you click on a clip, it may have audio in it, but chances are that it’s from the on-camera microphone, which is far away and doesn’t sound good (hear an example at 1:28). Many videographers record audio with external microphone devices, which get really great audio, and records to its own Micro SD card. From there, you can just bring the seperate audio file into editing, and then sync it up, so it’s good to go for the edit, but not for raw footage (since you can only play one clip at a time). See 1:57 for an example of the external microphone synced up in the edit for comparison. For the ceremony and reception, we have multiple cameras recording all at the same time. They are getting shots down the center aisle, left aisle, and right aisle. Right there, you have three different video files to watch, but you can only watch one at a time. Plus you have to watch it on your computer. You can’t put it up on your TV. The point is, it’s not easy to watch.

So why does raw footage cost money? A common reasoning behind that question is “You’ve already recorded the footage, Kristian, so why can’t we just have it?” That is a very fair argument! I completely understand that. However, just because every single clip did not make the final edit (because it didn’t fit the story), doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a lot of hard work, time, and thought into getting that shot.

Okay, so is raw footage necessary to have? Is it important, or is it just a commodity? Just to recap, raw footage is a pain to navigate and watch. However it is a very good keepsake, and more importantly, it’s a backup of your wedding. I have multiple backups on multiple hard drives, Just in case one drive goes down, I have another (but that could fail too!). So you having an extra backup doesn’t hurt! In essence, it is just a keepsake. It’s important to have! For you to physically hold the drive with all of your wedding footage in your hand is really comforting to some people. I completely get that. You’re going to opt to watch the documentary edit (if you book a package that offers it), because you can watch your whole ceremony, reception, getting ready, first look, etc. all fully edited. You can watch all of it, in order. You can relive your entire wedding day (the documentary edit will probably be a few hours long depending on how long your ceremony and reception is). You’re going to watch it on your TV, fully edit with perfect audio, great lighting, and all of the angles are cut perfectly so that you can enjoy each moment at the best angle, while it’s happening.

But that’s it for me today! I hope you guys learned a little something about raw footage, and if it’s the right thing for you!

If you’d like to learn more behind-the-scenes of making your wedding day amazing, check out my Facebook page, follow me on Instagram, and click on my other vlog posts and wedding films. See you next time!


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