How much footage is too much footage?

The result of this question has definitely been changed by today’s more rapidly adopted digital acquisition formats.

Way, Way , Way back almost 15 years you had to aquire all of your footage on either Film (which has a high cost of processing or transfer) or a low cost alternative that showed up called DV.  The DV camera gave filmaker the ability to shoot huge amounts of footage onto tape that cost as much as counting the fingers on your hand.  Over the years we’ve seen lots of different things, 68 min feature that has 100+ hrs of footage or a doc that has only 35hrs (which is really low for a doc!)  I think it all boils down to the ol script/prep/execution thing.  Different stories take different techniques to aquire.  A scripted film, well it has a script, only a certain amount of words for sure.  A doc, has only as much footage as someone says “CUT”.  Digital aquisition formats will always evolve and make it even easier to shoot more when there is less to shoot.   All projects have their own life and i’m not one to say ‘when is when’, we just cut and cut and cut!

To answer the question, maybe some guidelines from the ‘cutting room’ might be a starting point, all assume a :90 min run time

doc: 30-300hr

feature: 10-90hr

tv (episodic): 1-5hr

Just a starting point, but for sure the answer to the subject is definitely dependent on PREPARATION!

Talk to your editor before you shoot anything short or long, this dialogue will save time and money$

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