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Raw Video Footage – Why We Don’t Sell It + Why You Won’t Miss It

I’ve always been a little obsessed with story; the way the random symbols that we use to convey language, how when they are artfully and skillfully arranged they can suck you in for hours, and transport you to another time and place.

So we talk a little about raw footage: why we don’t offer it, and why you won’t miss it. The moments and minutia of a day aren’t important, until they are used to tell your story. Every once in a while, in the inquiry stage of wedding films, we get a question about whether we have a package that includes raw video footage.  We want to explain why that isn’t something that we offer, and why that’s okay.

Raw footage probably doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Unless you’ve ever worked with video, you probably imagine that raw footage looks pretty much like our finished videos, just without music, and a lot more of it.  A pretty look of things that happen as you go through the day, just click play and relive the entire day, moment by moment.
*That’s a documentary edit, and we do offer that for your ceremony & speeches.

Raw Video FilesSadly, this isn’t the case.  First, video footage doesn’t come all neatly spliced together like that.  It’s just a great big list of files.  Until you pull them into an editing program, it’s really hard to even watch them.  Once you do pull them into an editing program, they aren’t necessarily in order.  Camera 1 will be in order, and Camera 2 will be in order, but not the whole set. Multiply that by the many different cameras we use throughout the day.

Our video footage also doesn’t look so pretty right out of the camera.  Each camera is full of different settings, and there are bonuses to each one.  The standard ones give you a picture that looks pretty nice coming out of the camera, but don’t always allow you to do as much in editing.  If the sun is SUPER bright that day, you might lose some of the picture.  If there are reflected colors (colored uplighting, DJ lights, light reflected off the grass, water or sand) that gives the skin tones a funny color, there’s only so much you can do with it.  There are other picture profiles that make the picture coming out of the camera look a little….flat.  Not so pretty.  But that picture contains a lot more information for us to work with in editing.

Raw Footage Comparison

It’s kinda like, if you buy a dress off the rack, you can usually find one that fits pretty well.  You can also buy a dress off the rack, take it to a seamstress, have it altered and have it REALLY fit.  Or, you can go talk to a designer, have them design and fit a dress just for you….and you’re going to come out with a dress that was made for you ready to walk down the red carpet.

We like to go for the red carpet look!

It’s also not what we’re about.

We’re about telling your story.  About carefully knitting the moments from your day together until your heart swells.  Now, you’re probably going to tear up watching some special bits of cell phone footage one of your friends captured.  By itself, it’s a great moment.  But what we want to do is carefully craft together all those little moments that matter to tell the whole story: the groom making sure his tie looks perfect, and opening that special gift.  Your dad seeing you dressed as a bride for the first time, the tiny photo of your grandmother on your bouquet and her jewelry that you carefully put on, before you walk down the aisle and your dad gives you one last squeeze before putting your hand into your soon to be husband, both of you fighting back tears…that story.  That story tends to lose momentum when you have to wade through all the in-between moments.  During your actual wedding day, that’s probably a good thing, otherwise we’d all be ugly crying our way down the aisle.  You need a little minutia to keep your makeup from running. As much as you think you might want to, you probably don’t want to wade through 6 hours of minutia to enjoy the happy moments.

It’s all about the story.  Just like it really doesn’t matter what kind of gear we use (small enough to not be an obnoxious distraction, hefty enough to get good footage), or how we deliver that product to you (really, however you want: DVD, Blu-ray, USB, online delivery)….none of those things are worth anything unless they are being used to tell your story.

Here’s why you won’t miss it.

This is why we spend so much time doing our homework.  You won’t miss the minutia because we spend quite a bit of time before your wedding day finding out what is important to you.  Finding out the base of your story.  Once you’ve booked with us, we send out our questionnaire, and we begin to get to know you.  We meet with you, talk with you.  We go over the details and plans for the day, we talk about any concerns.  Before your wedding day even happens, we have a pretty good idea of what those special moment are going to be, and how we need to capture them to tell your unique story.

Also, that documentary edit I mentioned earlier?  We do offer a documentary edit of your ceremony and speeches. That is a straight edit, start to finish, of those crucial parts of the day that you do want to preserve forever.

Okay, so now for just a few of my favorite examples.

raw footageWe did a shoot this spring and got to shadow the DNR to stock some fish in the Northern Panhandle.  It was our second year filming this project, so I really felt like we knew what we were doing and I had some ideas.  Primarily, I planned to stick a GoPro on a selfie stick and chase these gorgeous fish around.  I really wanted to get up close and personal with these fish. That’s exactly what I did, for most of the day.  I chased fish with my little selfie stick.  I ruined my favorite pair of shoes doing it.  I got home and looked at the footage and was so disappointed…it looked like total crap. (In my own defense, a GoPro in a waterproof case has no screen to check settings in camera, so I was just guessing at what underwater settings would be) Upside down (which I knew it would be), but even after I flipped it, just dull and ugly.  Chris did the edit for this project, and I was pretty amazed at what he pulled out of that crappy looking footage.


That split screen from earlier?  That’s from a recent edit we shot, and here is the teaser.  We’ve been doing these little (under 60) teasers lately within a few days of each wedding, and we are loving being able to add that to the product that we deliver.  Just a taste of the story to come.



Here at MotionWorks, we specialize in creating beautiful films to tell the story of your wedding day.  We’d love to talk to you about how we can create a film for your wedding.  Click the “Book Your Film” button or contact us to start the conversation!

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