Understanding "Raw Footage"

One of the most common questions I hear from clients is what exactly defines "raw" video footage, and how much or little of it can they expect in their finished product.

To me, raw footage is completely unedited, long-form video taken directly off a camera and given to a client on a hard-drive.  It includes every mistake, shake and focus change.  This is usually not something a client wants to sort through themselves.

While that is my notion of raw footage, I think a lot of people think of it instead as simply the complete natural version of a given part of the day.  For example, the entire ceremony, uninterrupted or altered with outside music or editing.  A common question might be: 

"Can I get the full raw ceremony along with the highlight video?"

A lot of wedding video professionals will provide only a 3-10 minute "Short Film" of the day as a finished product, and leave the complete or "raw" events as an extra to be purchased.

Thousand Words will always provide complete versions of your events (ceremony, reception events, dance floor footage and guest messages) in addition to a 10-15 minute short film of the day.  It is the best of both worlds:  A curated and artistically assembled movie, in addition to full access to the complete events cleaned up for audio and video clarity, but otherwise presented exactly as they occurred.