Autor: Redaktion

Blackmagic RAW

The new Blackmagic RAW codec was officially unveiled at IBC 2018 in Amsterdam.

The aim of the in-house development at was to be able to offer a user-friendly, fast and high-quality codec that provided the quality of classic RAW formats and the speed of lossy video codecs.

How have they done this? The key is in moving part of the de-mosaic processing from the computer’s CPU into the camera itself. With the help of the metadata supplied by the camera sensor, Blackmagic RAW understands the characteristics of the image sensor and the color management used, resulting in cinematic quality images processed at the speed of video, with rendering being smoother and faster than traditional RAW files.

Blackmagic RAW can embed metadata in the generated RAW file itself or add it to an additional file.
Metadata is embedded directly into the .braw file, while an additional .sidecar file contains fully editable and human readable JSON formatted metadata. The metadata in  the .sidecar files can override the .braw file‘s embedded metadata without overwriting it. Blackmagic RAW also supports frame based metadata so users can access specific data such as focus distance, which may change frame by frame.

Blackmagic RAW uses Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science for reproducing extremely accurate skin tones and lifelike colors. Images are encoded using a custom non-linear 12-bit space designed to provide the maximum amount of color data and dynamic range, unlike traditional RAW workflows that rely on LUTs that can harshly alter the pixel data.

Initially released for the URSA Mini Pro , in March 2019 Blackmagic unveiled a second generation Ursa Mini Pro and has updated its Pocket Cinema Camera 4K to add support for the Blackmagic RAW codec. Its post production software, Da Vinci Resolve 15.1, also supports the new codec.

Blackmagic RAW offers two different encoding methods: Constant Quality and Constant Bit Rate. With "Constant Quality" users can choose between "RAW Q0" and "RAW Q5" with encoding taking place using variable bit rate (VBR). Complex, detailed settings in this mode are recorded at maximum bitrate. Constant Bitrate, as the name suggests, works at a constant bitrate (CBR), which results in fewer large files. However, complex settings are recorded at the same bit rate as less complex settings. There are four levels of compression available (3: 1, 5: 1, 8: 1, 12: 1). Regardless of the compression set, however, color depth is always recorded at 12 bits.

The data rates are between 1464 Mbit / s (183 MB / s) at 3: 1 and 368 Mbit / s (46 MB / s) at 12: 1.
Blackmagic RAW Q0 and 3: 1 are recommended for commercial productions or movies with a large number of effects. For independent movies, TV shows or broadcasts, RAW Q5 and 5: 1 offer a very high image quality with reduced memory requirements. Even 8: 1 or 12: 1 compression can be used.

Owners of the Ursa Mini Pro can get a free public beta version that adds Blackmagic Raw to their camera and upgrades it with Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science. For post production Blackmagic have made DaVinci Resolve 15.1 available for download which supports Blackmagic Raw, while for playback the Blackmagic RAW Player can be downloaded from the company’s product page.

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