As a Huntsville wedding videographer, I explain what raw footage is.

As a Huntsville wedding videographer, I explain what raw footage is.

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What is raw footage and why would I want to buy it?

This is a common question I get from my clients when they learn they have the option to purchase the raw video files. In the following post, I will give you a few tips and things to think about when it comes to raw wedding video footage.

Raw footage is –

In your completed wedding film there are 4 major aspects that happen to make it come together – editing, color correcting, film stock application and tweaking, and sound enhancement.

Raw footage contains none of this and is what is known as “Straight Out Of Camera” or SOOC for short. I like to shoot in a “FLAT profile”. That means, the image looks washed out/with low saturation (colors). It looks very bland. Also, depending on the shooting situation there could be a white balance shift. The image below shows this situation. I was filming in a room with Fluorescent lights – everything has a green tint to it. During the editing process, I am able to remove the green and give the video footage a natural look with warm tones that are flattering to the bride.

SOOC vs Color Corrected with Film Stock Application
SOOC vs Color Corrected with Film Stock Application


The image on the left is representative of what you would be receiving from a raw footage standpoint.

Why would I want to buy raw footage?

There are 2 main reasons I inform my clients they should buy the raw footage:

(1) For archival and safe keeping. This is a moment in history that is pretty big in your life – you are beginning a new family together. This footage was used in creation of your first family heirlooms (video and photo) and one day your kids will probably really enjoy seeing it. Also, while the wedding film is focused on the two of you, I do try to include bits of the major players (parents and grandparents mostly). However, there are always takes that don’t get used in the video for one reason or another. I can tell you that, having been filming weddings in North Alabama since the year 2000 (mostly weddings in Huntsville and Decatur), I am now starting to run into clients whose weddings we filmed way back then. Not only are they thankful that they had their wedding filmed in the first place (which will be another post in itself, “Why should I have my wedding filmed?”) but they’re thankful for the opportunity to have the raw footage to go back and see extra clips of Grandpa Joe or Aunt Sally because they have now passed away. Having those moments from the happiest day in their life on video where they can see and hear loved ones having an amazing time is something that no value be placed on.

(2) You should buy the raw footage because I do not archive or keep copies of anything once the wedding is complete and delivered to you. This was a decision I made a long time ago – I do not want to be in the business of keeping up with hundreds of projects forever. These video projects require a huge amount of space -these days it’s not uncommon for there to be to 100-300GB of video files, a mixture of HD and 4K.

How many people buy the raw footage from their wedding?

While I don’t have an exact number, off the top of my head, I estimate that probably 3 in 5 opt to purchase the raw footage. I know not everyone cares or wants it (Second weddings or smaller weddings with few guests etc), but I do like to make it available if it is important to you.

Is anything else included on the hard drive I get when I buy the raw footage?

Yes! There are a lot of extras included on the hard drive. it’s basically your entire wedding project:

  • All video files from the various cameras (hundreds of clips depending on amount of coverage)
  • An ISO image of the final edited DVD project (used to burn your own DVDs)
  • The DVD label design as an Epson Printer File (if DVDs were purchased)
  • The DVD Case Wrapper design that can be printed on 8.5×11 paper (if DVDs were purchased)
  • Any other graphics I have made that are relevant to the project
  • Any photos my team and I took during the day
  • A master mp4 high definition file of the wedding film/highlights
  • A master mp4 high definition file of the major elements, if purchased as part of the package (full ceremony, reception etc)

Here’s kind of what a typical wedding hard drive would look like

raw footage example
raw footage example

Why do you charge for raw footage? shouldn’t it be part of the price I paid for you to film my wedding?

This is something people wonder from time to time. The reason I charge for raw footage can be explained as – when you buy a wedding cake, would you expect the baker to include the raw ingredients with the cake for the price you paid for the cake? No, of course not. In that case and this case, the cost you pay for the wedding film is for the art and experience as well as to cover the creative process and costs associated with that. (labor and all the fees and costs associated with producing the film – music licensing fees, software usage fees, internet fees, gas, electricity etc). You know the baker has leftover eggs, flour, and sugar from your cake and I’m sure the baker would be willing to sell them to you for a fee if you wanted them. Just like I’m willing to sell you the raw footage if you want it.


I hope this short article has been helpful to you and gives you some insight to consider when thinking about raw footage. If the things mentioned above are important to you then by all means simply check the raw footage box on the contract and I’ll take care of the rest. Easy as pie!

About Kyle Root

Kyle has been filming weddings in North Alabama since the year 2000. He works with a very talented team of individuals who have also been shooting weddings for just about as long. When it comes to Huntsville Alabama wedding videography, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better team on price and quality of work. We love filming weddings in Huntsville Alabama and enjoy being the wedding videographer for weddings in Decatur, Hartselle, and Athens and surrounding areas. As a wedding videographer based out of Hartselle Alabama, I love producing amazing wedding videos for my North Alabama clients as a Huntsville wedding videographer. If you’re looking for a video of your wedding, please don’t hesitate to contact me and visit my main wedding video site at:

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