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Raw wedding footage. Do you really want it?

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by Curtis Zondag       

 Making wedding films is our art form. Getting to know the couple. Working with the planning team to get all the beautiful shots timed just right. The process is a labour of love (get it? love.....wedding, haha)

       Behind the scenes there are a lot of technical things that are boring for most people: Setting up tripods and sliders, getting microphone levels set on the groom and minister, getting shots of ceilings and flowers......lots of flowers.

       Between capturing all the moments of the day every video team shoots B-roll, and lots of it. This includes establishing shots of the venue, other shots of things like the dress, shoes, flowers, guests clinking glasses, dancing, and much much more.

        The true art in any video\film project is in the editing. The main goal is to tell the story with the best footage possible. Editing time is usually twenty times longer than shooting the footage. Every clip needs to be watched , and sorted before the magic happens. After the main edit is completed the footage goes through a process of adjustments for colour, and audio. Every team has their own secret formula.

       When booking new clients we get a common situation:

"We're on a budget. Can you just shoot it and give us the raw footage?"

My answer to this question is always the same, No.

          My job as a film maker is to give the couple a finished product. A product that will be remembered forever and be shared with future generations. Sound dramatic? It is. It's your wedding. Here's a future scenario: In ten years your spouse will ask you to find your wedding ceremony. With an edited wedding film you can search your hard drive (or holodisk) for "steve and sara's wedding." With raw footage you may be searching for "3445242795.mov" and find a file of your best man drinking a beer. 

         I like to use food analogies. Think of your wedding film as pizza. here are two scenarios:

1- Mike calls me up and says "Can you make me a pizza for $20?" I make the dough, add all the the toppings, bake it, slice it, then give it to him. It's delicious. His fiance is thrilled and tells all of her friends how great it is. Mike is happily married.

2- Randy calls me up and says "Can you make me a pizza for $1.50? I'll bake it myself if you give me a deal." I think about and say "$1.50 won't cover all of the steps involved to make a great pizza. He replies "please just do it, it'll be fine."  "Okay. if that's what you really want." I give Randy a shopping bag and get him to hold it open. I then pour in a  two cups of flour, one cup of water two tomatoes, and a handful of raw vegetables., then send him on his way. Randy gives his "pizza" to his fiance. She leaves him. Randy is now alone and sad. Don't be Randy.

At the end of the day you need an edited film. it may cost a little more but you'll be glad to have it.