This question comes up time and time again and understandably so. Hopefully this will help explain why I don’t supply the unedited footage and even why you’re better off not having it!
Like most (if not all) wedding videographers, I don’t include the raw footage from your day in my wedding package.
I know you must be thinking, because I thought the exact same thing of the videographer for my own wedding: Why can't you just supply it? What does it matter to you when it's no extra work? You don’t need it once you’ve supplied the video, so why not just send it over?
All valid questions.
The thing is, half of my job as a videographer is the edit. To send over the footage too would be giving you something unfinished and not the best reflection of your big day.
The hours spent pouring over the shots, choosing the music, the way in which the story of your day is told…this process is 50% of my professional service and a big part of why you’ve chosen to book a professional videographer to capture your day, over say asking friends and family to shoot it.
“But what if you cut something I really wanted to see?”
For most clients, this is the main concern - that they’ll miss out on moments from their day which I’ve deemed unsuitable or not good enough to make the cut, but are in fact treasured memories for them. This is when I reassure them that nothing ends up on the cutting room floor that is usable and unique.
For example, if I’ve filmed a group of guests chatting for a few minutes, I’ll include a shorter clip of this before cutting to something else. I don’t cut it completely because I’ve already included lots of clips of different guests chatting. When I edit, all the different shots go in - even if it means compromising the artistic credibility of the film.
By that, I just mean that some videographers will prioritise the cinematic awesomeness of their shots in the final edit – and all credit to them for that – whereas this is of secondary importance to me, after making sure I include all the footage I possibly can.
Of course 99% of the time this is a moot point, as 'cinematic awesomeness' + 'all footage' is one and the same thing :-)
This approach is why the full edits of weddings I shoot vary – it completely depends on how much footage there is and therefore how many shots there are.
“Okay, but I still want to see it all – just for my own reference.”
I’m sure that’s true – but this where I have to make a more practical argument: Releasing my raw files still puts me in the firing line. Even if you don’t use it, I’m putting my name to something unfinished and I’m opening myself up to be judged on that.
I've heard of other videographers being bad-mouthed because they were on location for 9 hours but didn't get 9 hours of footage (despite explaining that half the time is setting up shots, choosing angles, prepping for the can't-miss moments), or taking too long to get a particular shot of the venue when they should have been inside getting shots of the guests, or filming a certain person for too long. In a competitive business when you rely so much on word of mouth, comments like this can be really damaging.
There have also been instances where videographers have seen their footage used in alternative edits on social media, which (apart from being poorly done and therefore damaging by association), also falls under copyright infringement, as the videographer owns the rights to the footage and has creative control of how it is used.
This may all sound like I'm just trying to cover my own back...which I suppose I am...but, all I really want to do is assure you that you don't need it. And that you're not missing out by not having it...because you really aren't!
"Hmmmm... I'm not convinced..."
Okay...perhaps more important than all of this (and this was the reason which most struck a chord with me) is that you won't love your edit as much if you have the raw footage too.
The truth is, having the raw footage takes the shine off your packaged wedding film, making it seem less special. It's like going behind the scenes on your very own romantic movie when you’ve paid a considerable amount of money to look back on the real, yet polished, wonder of it all!!
I hope this helps explain the reasoning behind photographers and videographers not releasing their raw shots, and that we’re not just trying to be difficult!
However, if you’re still not convinced, that is completely your prerogative and I respect that. Please do get in touch – I would love the opportunity to address any questions and concerns you still have!