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Is raw on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera worth it? Dispelling the myths


Andrew Reid
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[quote name='EOSHD' timestamp='1346500644' post='17089']
What a condescending tone. ProRes on the Alexa is not the same as ProRes on the Blackmagic. I don't yet know how ProRes performs on this camera, I very much doubt it will give you 13 stops of usable dynamic range or as much as raw. It certainly doesn't give you as clean resolution or as much or if or a way to reduce aliasing by downsampling in post to 1080p and equally it doesn't up-res as well to 4K.

So let me get this straight, with your $2.5k budget you spend a boat load of cash on a monitor, 20 people to construct a tent so you can see it, a truck with a generator so you can power it and then two more trucks so you can move it around.

Takes you an hour to move 100m with that crap.

And you have this Alexa beast that shoots ArriRaw...

AND...

You choose NOT to shoot raw to gain a little hard drive space.

Insane!

I'm not anti-ProRes. I'm just in love with the look of CinemaDNG on the Blackmagic and that extra resolution provided by 2.5K and the way the raw material can be pulled around so much in post. Image quality all the way for me.

I feel that if the film and TV industry really wanted convenience and to save money, ProRes is the last thing I'd look at frankly.

If only you guys listened to all that new blood with the better ideas THEN you would save time and effort, instead of dismissing them as not knowing what they're talking about.
[/quote]

the point was not that we're shooting ProRes because its cheaper. thats actually why i mentioned the budget, to make sure that you know its not about the money. but shooting in raw is just not neccessary on the alexa. it just isnt in a real life example. shooting in prores however makes the workflow faster and easier. and the "faster" part is priceless in the advertising industry.

yes my tone is condescending because there are a few people here who worked with raw stills instead of JPGs and they translate this example into motion picture with raw and prores and thats just not the same! thats why i told you to try it yourself.

Andrew, i know that there are many professionals out there doing something that has always been done like that, but that doesnt apply in the digital world. everything is still so new to professionals that they do every possible test to determine if you get any real life benefits when you shoot raw. you, thinking that a couple of guys with new ideas would make it better than professionals, without actually knowing how and why they do it that way, makes you ignorant.
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Do you guys know how much extra dough it is to shoot RAW on Alexa? I'm in process of working out a feature budget. On a £1.6M budget RAW is nearly impossible with Alexa. The Codex unit alone is around £1000 per day! let alone the Data wrangler & post ramifications. Is RAW better? yes, defo. I sat in on the Skyfall rushes last year (ArriRAW), looked amazing. Is it essential? No, most would fail to spot the difference without a bench test. I am only talking Alexa here, I fully intent to shoot both RAW and DNxHD on my BMC, that is the beauty of this cam, it can do both.
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@pietz
you just try to defend you territory ... prores vs RAW is just like JPEG vs RAW ...and it's not about the money ,yeah right :lol: (producers never care about money)...your project cant afford ARRIRAW thats it is reality and dont make this topic in to pissing contest ...
real professionals do testing and thats is reason why important projects are done in ARRIRAW ...
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"important projects are done in ARRIRAW ..." thats just wacky. No low budget feature I know of has been shooting ArriRAW, I asked for it. Got shown the numbers, then thanked god the Prores 4:4:4:4 on the Alexa looks damn near as good. (Low budget being 500K to 4Mil)
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[quote name='Chris Santucci' timestamp='1346521323' post='17106']
The crop factor makes it unusable in my world, raw or not.
[/quote]
If I felt that, I'd have never shot on S16mm. It's not ideal, but for the money - it's a no brainer. Depends on your usual work.
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[quote name='tabac' timestamp='1346521306' post='17105']
"important projects are done in ARRIRAW ..." thats just wacky. No low budget feature I know of has been shooting ArriRAW, I asked for it. Got shown the numbers, then thanked god the Prores 4:4:4:4 on the Alexa looks damn near as good. (Low budget being 500K to 4Mil)
[/quote]

You can't afford to shoot raw with a 4 million dollar budget?

Amateurs are editing raw in their bedrooms on laptops for the price of the camera.

Is creativity completely dead in the high budget movie world now? Is it all about the numbers and the money? Maybe try spending less on marketing and more on workflow?

£1000 per day for the Codex is a lot of money but it pales into significance relative to everything else in a $4m budget surely?
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[quote name='tabac' timestamp='1346517569' post='17103']I sat in on the Skyfall rushes last year (ArriRAW), looked amazing. Is it essential? No, most would fail to spot the difference without a bench test. I am only talking Alexa here, I fully intent to shoot both RAW and DNxHD on my BMC, that is the beauty of this cam, it can do both.[/quote]

ProRes on the Alexa is superb but don't forget with the BMCC you can transcode to CineRaw and still have a raw workflow at 1/5th of the storage requirements.

Or even H.264 at 8bit but a high bitrate and you maintain the benefit of 2.5K then, even if when you throw the raw files away you lose some ability to grade.

And the camera costs to buy what an Alexa raw unit costs for 2 days rental. Ha.
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[quote name='pietz' timestamp='1346517519' post='17102']thinking that a couple of guys with new ideas would make it better than professionals, without actually knowing how and why they do it that way, makes you ignorant.
[/quote]

I'm entitled to think that. There's always good ideas around, both inside the industry and outside.

I'm not ignorant of the smoother, faster, convenient workflow of ProRes, it is great to have.

But personally I will not be chopping 20% of my resolution down for the sake of avoiding a bit of transcoding. I'd rather transcode from raw to ProRes and delete the raw files than record directly to ProRes, boxing myself into that decision and unable to reverse it later for even a single shot.
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[quote name='EOSHD' timestamp='1346460276' post='17052']


This is a damned good point. Certainly worth investigating. Also good to have that backup too. Some SSDs not famed for their total reliability.
[/quote]

This would be definitely handy, BMD should make sure it is well supported, at least with their own recorder, for timecode syncing purposes etc.
Having a set of prores proxies that don't sync to the raw footage would end up being way more time consuming to sync than reenconding all the raw material.
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[quote name='Axel' timestamp='1346508940' post='17094']
When part 2 of the Zacuto shootout was discussed, everybody agreed with the conclusion that 'forgiving' greater capabilities of high end cameras lost against conscientious lighting and clever planning. This is not rendered invalid by an affordable raw camera. With photos, I admittedly use the raw format in the same sense. There is a temptation to do a sloppy job, because almost everything can be fixed in post.

Or so it seems. As a longtime analog photographer and professional darkroom laboratory worker (sounds awkward, from german), I know that 'raw' (undeveloped emulsion) actually came long before Jpeg. Digital imagery are historically the first instances of baked-in compression, and I always scoff at the post-deniers who consider themselves better pros.

The point is that the goal of it all is a better image and that you will fail if you believe that a 'forgiving' codec will get you there. In the end, decisions have to be made as to how much the colors should deviate from average, natural looking values to creatively change the mood or express something. I suspect that many who welcome raw for making their lives [i]easier[/i] will just botch around and compensate for being too shirt-sleeved. Raw needs the same care during shooting as any other format to lead to good results. And the post is actually most demanding.
[/quote]

Very true, you cant be sloppy on the a project, but for guys like me where you cant get every shot you kinda have to work with what you've got. I'm not condoning the use of the mentality of thinking that RAW will save every shot, you have to put care into your projects if you want the best out of it. Just some times we don't have that luxury sometimes :)
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[quote name='pss' timestamp='1346515922' post='17099']
again, coming from a still background....there are jpegs and there are jpegs....set the compression to 7, choose sRGB and don't even start to think about touching the file in any way....set it to 12 and you get a little more to work with....
a 16bit TIFF is a LOT bigger then the raw file it was baked out of but still does not have the same latitude....
RED is funny because red code compression gets pretty strong (even if it is still technically raw) and when you are shooting 1:10 i would hardly compare that raw file to even a 1:3 compression....
so raw is not always the same quality as raw.....cinema DNG is as good as it gets...as pure as it gets....all the data is there....
i have no experience with cineform raw but if it compresses the file in any way you are losing stuff...mostly color (which in turn makes artifacts, moire, ugly stuff....) because somewhere along the way something will have to be "made up" somehow....

i have only played with the available DNGs out there (the pool scene and such)...and i only worked with the raw files in (in my case) in aperture, added my adjustments (graded) and imported the still files into fcpx as jpegs and still got the best looking video (color, detail,...) i have ever seen....maybe this is totally wrong, i will definitely get into resolve to check it out when i actually have the camera and a little time...but so far this completely blows any capture device providing any compressed media completely out of the water....

btw: i was also VERY close to getting the scarlet and went through the same thing there...looking at the raw files, trying to figure out how to use them....all i can say is that i am very happy that there was something in those files that just did not work for me...
[/quote]

Any chance you can elaborate? I like to know more about what you cam across using the scarlet.
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There are certain lenses that look better on S35 and some that look better on a 2x crop sensor.

Nice to have a choice, I'd certainly prefer to use a 18mm T1.6 on S35 rather than Blackmagic. But then I'd rather use an 85mm F1.4 on the Blackmagic or GH2 as a super fast telephoto than on full frame where it is a standard boring portrait lens with uncontrollable DOF :)

All the comparisons to full frame and claims of 'small chip' are bunk.

S35 is large, Blackmagic is medium, consumer camcorder is small.
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[quote name='EOSHD' timestamp='1346532084' post='17116']
Why?
[/quote]

I'm using (mostly) L series Canon lenses, so then my 24 becomes a 55 (or so) and my 11-16 starts at 26 (or so) on the short end and every other lens I have pretty much becomes telephoto. S16 cine zoom lenses generally start at around 10mm and I'm in no mood to start having to shop around for more lenses. The lens I use the most, the 24-70, works well with a follow focus and mattebox so why screw it all up with an 11-16 that has maybe half the focus throw.

This kind of issue is a major gripe I have with certain camera companies. When the 5DMKII was essentially the defacto camera of choice for 4 years (or so) running, why put (for example) an SD slot in a new camera when everyone has been using CF cards? Why release a new camera with a tiny sensor, even smaller than S35, when S35 is essentially the sensor size of choice and a great balance between too large and large enough (for cinema style footage)?

I suppose you could slap a .6 lens on the fronts of whatever lenses you used on this thing, but then you're degrading the image.

I wouldn't compare this thing to a full frame sensor camera, but when the norm is S35, this is an oddity, regardless of the great value of having the RAW capability. RAW isn't everything and it won't make anyone a better shooter or give anyone better footage.
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[quote name='EOSHD' timestamp='1346509724' post='17095']


I'm trying out a Windows beta version of CineForm Studio Premium which supports CinemaDNG from the Blackmagic thanks to David Newman.

Did you convert CinemaDNG to CineForm in that too Glenn, or in another program using the CineForm codec for Premiere?
[/quote]

I haven't actually tried the footage yet. Busy with 12 or so projects to finish right now. There's an article here about it - http://eyepatchfilms.com/?p=903
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this is bmcuser from forum
"
Here's a beta version of GoPro CineForm Studio Premium for Windows. With this, you can use the Studio interface to convert CinemaDNG files directly into CineForm RAW. The conversion will automatically adjust to the white balance from the sensor and the color matrix in the CinemaDNG files...this will eliminate the green tint that you were seeing with the dpx2cf tool (doing it non-destructively.)

Usage:
Launch GoPro CineForm Studio and use the 'Step 1 Import' room to select a single file from the image sequence (it will automatically import the rest of the sequence). For simple batch importing a lot of clips, drag in the folder(s) containing all your shots from an explorer window into the import clips bin.

Then in the 'advanced settings', choose your conversion settings.

Quality: Filmscan 1 is sufficient but if you want to get into the shadows a little more, go with Filmscan2
Encoding Curve: Up to you (Protune default is excellent, optimized for 11)…, but again, upping it to 13 stops will let you get more detail from the shadows.
Decoding Curve: Play around and see what you like best...you can always change this setting after the conversion.

Then add the clips to the conversion list and click 'convert all'.

After conversion, proceed to the 'Step 2 Edit' room to do the adjustments you're used to doing in First Light.

Installer:
[url="http://software.gopro.com/beta/GoPro....152-Setup.exe"]http://software.gopr.....152-Setup.exe[/url]

Keep in mind that this is a beta and your feedback is welcome.

Regarding Resolve not seeing the adjustments you make in FirstLight and Studio, that appears to be a choice made by BlackMagic Design for Resolve. Hopefully they can add implementation in the future.

One more thing...Mac version is in the works!

Jake Segraves
Software Technical Support Manager
CineForm | GoPro...Be a HERO."


"in theory yes but I can´t tell the difference. I pixel peeped it until my eyes started to tear up. With 3,5:1 compression ratio it´s better than the usual 5:1 Red Epic files.
It´s just my opinion but I think doing an uncompressed workflow might be okay for 20th Century Fox but is insane for the main target group of the camera!

Those 4 seconds clip fragments John released are 500 MB each. Cineform RAW is 1/4 that size."

dpx2cf is old way to transcode DNG to CINEFORM and u get green tint problem ...now its optimize in CineForm Studio Premium ..
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