Raw footage is a common addition to packages offered by wedding videographers and is comprised of all of the content filmed throughout your wedding day. It is called “raw” because nothing has been done to the footage after it was captured. That means it hasn’t been edited, color corrected, or had the audio enhanced in any way.
When receiving the raw footage of your wedding day, you can generally expect to receive a small hard drive with somewhere between 100 and 300 gigabytes of video clips. The footage will include hundreds of mostly short video clips and each clip may range anywhere from two seconds to the entire length of your ceremony.
Unless the videographer is setting up for a main event, or taking a short break to eat, there is rarely a moment that goes by where something is not being filmed. With raw footage, you’ll get to see many fun candid shots of friends and family that weren’t included in the final cut. Videographers’ shots are carefully thought out and filmed with the knowledge that they will be edited into a complete wedding video that tells your story to the viewer. Sometimes a good moment isn’t included because it doesn’t fit the story or sequence. Small shots like a close up of a bride slipping into her shoes, or a server placing silverware on the tables can be great moments in a final video. However, if you were to see these same shots in their raw form, they might appear to be a random assortment of scenes that don’t mean very much. Your videographer might have captured a nice moment of Grandmom smiling, but if the shot is a second or two too short it can alter the flow of the final video, and so the editor may decide to leave it out. Keep in mind that with the good comes the bad, and not-so-fun stuff like a guest sneezing, or a person standing in front of the camera will also be included.
Another aspect of raw footage to keep in mind is that the high quality audio recorded during the main events is most likely not synchronized with any of the video footage. Your videographer will most often capture audio on a device separate from the camera during important moments such as your ceremony vows and reception speeches. During toasts at the reception, for example, your videographer will usually plug in directly to your DJ or Band’s audio system to get a direct signal from the microphone. Of course there will be audio recorded from the camera as well, but it will have a noisier quality to it because it will be relatively far away from the person speaking, and will be picking up all of the other sounds from the room. When plugging in directly, you should have a crystal clear audio signal without any other interfering noise. During the editing process, these higher quality audio recordings are synced with the video for optimal sound.
If you want to have all of the moments from the day, and don’t care that they won’t all be perfect, consider adding the raw footage. Some videographers won’t offer it as an option since you are getting unfinished footage, so if it something you and your soon-to-be spouse want, make sure to ask your videographer if he or she can provide it.