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Raw Footage Delivery Standard Practices

Some of our clients will request to have the raw footage delivered at the close of a project. In this post I'm going to explain our standard practices when it comes to handling raw footage.

We are going to cover the following:

What is Raw Footage

About 20 years ago, raw footage referred to the physical master 'tapes' or 'reels' on which the images were recorded in-camera. While "film" is still used for large format feature films - the digital age has replaced most commercial filming (and even some theatrical) with "digital media."

This means that the RAW footage from most productions exists in the form of data stored on an SD card, hard drive or other digital media storage.

The word "RAW" in Raw Footage refers to footage that has not been altered in any way from the way it was shot.

These are the master files that are used in the editing process to create the final edits.

Raw vs Graded Footage

It's also important to consider that raw footage (especially when uncompressed or LOG) have enormous file sizes and will require color grading in order to be usable.

See the two examples below. The first is a screenshots from raw, ungraded footage. (This is what came from the camera)

The second is after we have applied a basic color correction and grade.

Raw, Ungraded Footage

Raw, Graded Footage

The important takeaway here is that raw footage will need to be corrected and graded by a professional colorist in order to be usable.

Do We Deliver Raw Footage

Some production companies simply won't deliver raw footage at all. Intrigue Studio does prepare and deliver raw footage upon request for an appropriate licensing fee, but it's not recommended.

When you hire Intrigue Studios to produce your commercial, promo, marketing video etc... you are investing in the studio's resources, crew and equipment - as well as the final edited deliverables.

Anything outside of the production scope, such as the raw, unedited footage and/or project files isn't normally included and will require an additional licensing fee to be paid.

In most cases it is much more cost effective to allow Intrigue Studios handle the production of any future editing, alternate versions, behind the scenes documentaries, blooper reels etc... that could be produced using the raw footage.

Licensing & Delivery Fee

The licensing fee for raw footage is calculated using several factors:

  • The total amount of raw footage

  • The equipment that was used

  • The total production value

  • The time necessary to manage/copy files

  • The cost of storage/transfer

Every production company may handle the fees for raw footage differently and it's true that some companies and agencies may charge a raw footage fee of as much as a 150% of the total production budget. (Especially for narrative projects like TV commercials)

This means that if the total production budget was $20,000, some production companies will charge as much as $30,000 for the release and rights to all raw footage.

When you consider the fact that from the raw footage of a single production a brand may eventually produce several more videos resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional income... it becomes clear that the total lifetime value of the raw footage is often much greater than even a substantial one time fee.

Intrigue Studios always calculates a fair licensing fee for raw footage on a case by case basis.

But you can see a breakdown of some standards below:

Raw Shoot Footage

Intrigue Studios standard minimum fee for delivery of Raw Shoot Footage:

$5,000 or 15% of the total production cost, whichever is greater.

Raw Behind The Scenes (BTS) Footage

If Intrigue Studios had its own behind the scenes photographer or videographer, the behind the scenes footage can be licensed and delivered, in its own - or along with the the raw footage.

Intrigue Studios standard minimum fee for delivery of Raw Behind the Scenes Footage Only:

$1,800 or 5% of the total production cost, whichever is greater.

Project Files

The project files are the proprietary editing files that Intrigue Studios created throughout the production process. Project files are generally NOT available for delivery.

Summary of Licensing & Delivery Fees

Below is a convenient summary of the above fees:

  • Shoot Footage: $5,000 or 15% of the total production budget (whichever is greater).

  • BTS Footage: $1,800 or 5% of the total production budget (whichever is greater).

In our standard agreements we always include a clause that addresses the raw footage.

As transparency is one of our fundamental values, we have found it's always best to address this in contract and up front, so that any questions related to the licensing and delivery of the raw footage can be worked out in advance, if necessary.

If you have any questions about our raw footage delivery practices, or would like any further clarification - contact us here, or leave a comment below.


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