Getting Raw: What is raw footage and do you need it?

Some things - like sushi - are best enjoyed raw. But what about those raw files you probably keep hearing about? What are they and should you add them to your wedding film package?

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To put it simply…raw footage is what comes straight out of my camera before any post processing. It’s a collection of files that aren’t color corrected, audio synched, or enhanced with that special creative cinematic editing magic.

At the end of your wedding day, I head home with hundreds and hundreds of unedited clips. Most couples book me to film their wedding day and craft their love story into a creative four to six minute highlight film - or a slightly longer twenty to twenty-five minute feature film. Which means that when I'm in front of my computer, editing and creating your final pieces, a lot of that footage I collected throughout the day gets left behind. Perhaps a clip is too long or it doesn't fit in with the film's narrative, or more than likely there just wasn't enough time to include it.

When you hire me to create your films, I’m so indescribably honored, because I know how much trust it takes to hand someone the keys to your story and say “run with it.” I love pulling together the pieces of your day, creating a narrative flow, selecting the perfect music to accompany the mood, and delivering something that elicits big belly laughs and enough tears to warrant an extra handful of tissues.

Once the films make their way to their new home with you, all of that unedited footage gets tucked away on a hard drive, labeled, and stored in a closet in my office. And the more I’ve thought about it lately, the more it just doesn’t feel right to me that the files live out the rest of their digital lives there.

the benefits of raw footage:

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  • You get the most complete version of your day possible. You’ll get to relive hugs from the grandparents and well wishes from your wedding party as you’re preparing to head down the aisle. All the little moments throughout the day will come alive at your finger tips.

  • You get to hear and see family and friends who may not make it into your highlight film. Try as I might, it’s hard to fit every person who attends your wedding into a five minute film. Having the raw footage ensures you’ll be able to look back and see all the faces present.

When you decide to add raw footage to your wedding film package, there’s few things to keep in mind:

On the left you see what the clips look like straight out of camera. On the right, take a look at the color corrected and enhanced versions.

On the left you see what the clips look like straight out of camera. On the right, take a look at the color corrected and enhanced versions.

  1. Size: Raw files are HUGE! I’m talking more than your average computer can store kind of big. For all my techie friends out there, it’s not uncommon that I’m working with a couple hundred (if not more) gigabytes. When you add raw footage to your collection, I’ll deliver them all sorted into folders on a nice sturdy external hard drive for you, so you won’t have to worry about finding a way to store them.

  2. Color: Raw files are not color corrected or enhanced. When I’m editing a highlight film, feature film, or full length ceremony I spend quite a bit of time enhancing the natural colors from your day AND shaping the colors to match the mood and energy of your day. Just keep in mind as you’re watching through your clips that your raw footage won’t reflect this intensive color editing.

  3. Sound: Raw files aren’t audio enhanced. Throughout the wedding day I’m collecting audio through multiple sources - sometimes as many as five or six different channels. That ensures that I have backups on backups of your beautiful vows, your emotional first looks, and those kickass toasts your friends and family are sure to give. However, just like with color correcting, it takes time to make sure all the audio in your films sounds clear and warm. Your raw clips will include sound, but keep in mind the audio won’t sound as vibrant as it does in your highlight and feature films.

  4. Story: Raw files are just that - they’re raw bits and pieces that aren’t linked together to tell a coherent story. When watching them you’ll be clicking from clip to clip - getting ready here, reception there, special dance there. Sitting down to watch through your raw files will feel more like watching a collection of old home VHS tapes than your cinematic highlight, but the tradeoff is you’ll get to see each moment as it happened completely.

With all this in mind, raw footage is the perfect way to make your wedding film experience even more memorable - and to be able to re-watch not only your love story - but every piece of your day for years to come. Looking for the most complete picture of your day? Adding on raw footage is a no-brainer.

Add raw footage to your wedding film package with Rachel Epperly Media. Get in touch to set up your consultation and reserve your date today!