What is Raw Footage for a Wedding Video?

What you need to know...

The topic of raw footage for your wedding video often garners attention and intrigue it raises an important question that we frequently encounter: what exactly is raw footage, and what misconceptions might exist about it?

What to expect:

Let's delve into an essential conversation about what to expect when you opt for raw footage from your videographer, beginning with some context.

Traditionally, videographers may not automatically include raw footage in their wedding packages, though some offer it as an additional purchase. This practice is a deliberate choice among filmmakers, influenced by the conventions of production.

How do you obtain raw footage?

Typically, raw footage might be available for purchase or licensing at an additional cost, separate from the videographer's primary service, which is to deliver a polished, finished product. The original rights to the footage usually reside with the videographer, allowing them the discretion to use, sell, or even discard the content unless an agreement specifies otherwise. This is akin to photography, where photographers deliver edited images and rarely provide the raw, unedited files.

What does raw footage look like in 2024?

So, what exactly is raw footage in today's digital videography landscape? Gone are the days of tape and film; modern videographers record onto digital media, such as memory cards or mini hard drives. Each press of the record button generates a distinct file, ranging from brief moments to lengthy sequences. These files are raw in that they lack any form of post-production treatment—no color correction, audio enhancements, or editing. They're delivered just as they were captured.Receiving raw footage doesn't guarantee a comprehensive view of your ceremony or any given moment from a single, uninterrupted angle. For instance while some videographers may or may not set up an additional camera for different perspectives, the cameras unmanned nature means they're susceptible to interference, which could compromise the footage.

It is Not:

Raw footage from a wedding is not akin to the charming, nostalgia-infused vintage home videos that one might expect. These raw files are unedited, unrefined clips straight from the videographer's camera, lacking the warmth and immediacy of home movies shot on older formats like VHS or 8mm film. Unlike those vintage recordings, which often carry a candid, intimate quality due to their continuous nature and in-camera editing, raw wedding footage is a collection of disparate moments captured with professional intent but without the narrative cohesion or emotional polish provided by post-production. It's important to temper expectations: raw footage will not offer the same ready-to-watch, emotionally resonant experience as a vintage home video or a professionally edited wedding film.

How will I receive the footage?

It's also important to note that raw footage isn't readily watchable as a continuous movie; it consists of individual clips that, without editing, don't form a cohesive narrative. Usually videographers take anywhere from 100-300+ clips which you would receive individually.

Will it be compatible with your computer?

Raw footage provided is in a format that may not be immediately compatible with standard media players on most computers. These files often require specialized video editing software for full playback, editing, or even to open them efficiently. To facilitate smoother viewing on computers without robust editing capabilities, creating proxies—lower resolution versions of the original files—can be a necessary step. This process, while ensuring the footage is more manageable for preview and selection purposes, underscores the importance of having access to appropriate video editing software to work with these raw video files effectively.

Is the software included?

Please be aware that with the provision of raw footage, videographers do not include any software required to open or play these files, nor do they offer future editing services for them. The delivery consists solely of the separate, raw files as they are captured. It is essential for clients to understand that handling and viewing this footage necessitates having or obtaining appropriate video editing software capable of opening and managing these specific file types completely outside of the videographer.

Is there value?

Despite the simplicity of declining such requests, we recognize the want for extra footage. Raw footage can have some clips that are special which your videographer chose to not add into highlight reel but usually they already include every best curated moment in the highlight reel since they shoot with intention in mind.

In conclusion, while raw footage may not be essential for everyone, understanding what it entails helps in making an informed decision about its value to you. We hope this clarifies the nuances of opting for raw footage of your wedding day and aids in your decision-making process.


If what we are already including isn’t enough and you'd like to see every usable clip from the day, we offer "The FOMO Edit", which is a single video of every usable clip (not shaky, blurry, too bright, too dark, etc). It's generally about 1-2 hours long, contains no audio or music and is in no specific order. Pricing starts at $1,800 and usually goes up, depending on the time it takes to compile the footage.

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