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Another patented and closed RAW format - BlackMagic RAW
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    Following in the footsteps of Apple's ProRes RAW, Blackmagic Design has launched its own RAW video codec into a public beta. Blackmagic RAW "combines the quality and benefits of RAW with the ease of use, speed and file sizes of traditional video formats," the company says. It arrives today on Blackmagic's URSA Mini Pro cameras (in beta) and DaVince Resolve 15.1, and developers can grab the SDK for macOS, Windows and Linux.

    You can trade file size for quality by using different settings: Blackmagic RAW Q0 and Q5 offer the best quality, while the 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 and 12:1 codecs let you save space while still shooting RAW. "RAW 8:1 and 12:1 offer high quality and speed, making it suitable for productions that wouldn't normally consider shooting RAW," says Blackmagic.

    Full PR

    Blackmagic Design today announced the public beta of Blackmagic RAW, a new and very modern codec that combines the quality and benefits of RAW with the ease of use, speed and file sizes of traditional video formats. Blackmagic RAW is a more intelligent format that gives customers stunning images, incredible performance, cross platform support and a free developer SDK.

    The Blackmagic RAW public beta will be demonstrated on the Blackmagic Design IBC 2018 booth at #7.B45. Customers can download the public beta for use with URSA Mini Pro cameras via the Blackmagic Camera 6.0 Beta Update. In addition, DaVinci Resolve 15.1 Update, which includes support for Blackmagic RAW, is also available free of charge from the Blackmagic Design website.

    Blackmagic RAW has been in development for years and is a next generation hybrid codec that features multiple new technologies such as an advanced de-mosaic algorithm, extensive metadata support, highly optimized GPU and CPU accelerated processing and more. It can be used from acquisition throughout post production for editing and color grading, all from a single file.

    Traditional RAW codecs have large file sizes and are processor intensive, making them hard to work with. Video file formats are faster, but suffer quality problems due to the use of 4:2:2 video filters that reduce color resolution. Blackmagic RAW solves these problems with an intelligent design that moves part of the de-mosaic process into the camera where it can be hardware accelerated by the camera itself. This results in incredibly efficient encoding that gives customers the same quality, bit depth, dynamic range and controls as RAW, but with much better performance and smaller file sizes than most popular video codecs. Because the processor intensive partial de-mosaic is done by the camera hardware, software such as DaVinci Resolve doesn’t have to do as much work decoding the files. In addition, GPU and CPU acceleration make decoding of frames incredibly fast, so you get extremely smooth performance for editing and grading.

    Blackmagic RAW is much more than a simple RAW container format. Its intelligent design actually understands the camera and the sensor. This means the image data, along with the unique characteristics of the image sensor, are encoded and saved into the Blackmagic RAW file, giving customers much better image quality, even at higher compression settings, as well as total control over features such as ISO, white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation and more.

    In addition, Blackmagic RAW uses Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science for superior imaging that results in reproducing extremely accurate skin tones and gorgeous, lifelike colors that rival those of cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars more. Images are encoded using a custom non-linear 12-bit space designed to provide the maximum amount of color data and dynamic range.

    Blackmagic RAW also makes it easy for any software developer to access all this technology. The free developer SDK lets any third party software application add Blackmagic RAW support on Mac, Windows and Linux. The Blackmagic RAW developer SDK automatically handles the embedded sensor profile metadata, along with Blackmagic Design color science, for predictable and accurate image rendering that yields consistent color throughout the entire pipeline.

    Blackmagic RAW features two types of file compression. Customers can choose either constant quality or constant bitrate encoding options, depending on the kind of work they are doing. This lets them prioritize image quality or file size. Constant quality uses variable bitrate encoding so complex frames are encoded at higher data rates to preserve detail and maintain the highest possible quality. Blackmagic RAW Q0 has minimum quantization and yields the highest quality, while Blackmagic RAW Q5 uses moderate quantization for more efficient encoding and a smaller file size. Blackmagic RAW 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 and 12:1 use constant bitrate encoding to give customers the best possible images with predictable and consistent file sizes. The ratios are based on the unprocessed file size of a single frame from the camera’s sensor, making it easy to understand the relative amount of compression being used.

    The pristine camera native quality of Blackmagic RAW Q0 and 3:1 are perfect for effects heavy feature film and commercial work. Blackmagic RAW Q5 and 5:1 are extremely high quality making them great for episodic television and independent films. Blackmagic RAW 8:1 and 12:1 offer high quality and speed, making it suitable for productions that wouldn’t normally consider shooting RAW. Now, more customers than ever will be able to use high quality RAW images in an incredibly efficient way that was impossible before.

    “Blackmagic RAW could entirely change the workflow going from camera through post production,” said Kees Van Oostrum, Director of Photography and President of the American Society of Cinematographers. “A superb image quality, fine detail and incredibly small file sizes could possibly make Blackmagic RAW the go to format for filmmakers. It will be an important change for post because the editorial team can work with the camera original files, which are fast enough to use for everyday editing. That means less confusion in regards to creative choices I make at the camera. The images can now travel throughout the entire workflow because we’re shooting, editing and grading with the same files! Blackmagic RAW could be a game changer in the way films, television shows and commercials are made.”

    Blackmagic RAW dramatically simplifies and speeds up post production workflows. DaVinci Resolve 15.1, which was also released today, includes full support for Blackmagic RAW. The performance of Blackmagic RAW is much faster in DaVinci Resolve than any other RAW format. This makes editing, color correction and visual effects incredibly fast. In addition, working with single files instead of folders full of still image sequences greatly simplifies media management. When the RAW settings are changed in DaVinci Resolve, a .sidecar file can be generated or updated if one already exists. When opened in other software applications that support Blackmagic RAW, the .sidecar file, which contains the RAW settings made in DaVinci Resolve, will be automatically used to display the image. If the .sidecar file is removed then the file will be displayed using the embedded metadata instead. This innovative new workflow gives customers a non-destructive way to change RAW settings while working between different applications.

    Featuring a fully scalable design and completely modern CPU and GPU acceleration, Blackmagic RAW is optimized for AVX, AVX2 and SSE4.1 enabled processors, multi-threaded, works across multiple CPU cores and is GPU accelerated with support for Apple Metal, CUDA and OpenCL. Frame decoding and image processing is extremely fast, making it super smooth for editing, color correction and visual effects in DaVinci Resolve. Another benefit of media being stored as single files, and not image sequences, is it makes media management easier and file copying much faster.

    The free Blackmagic RAW Developer SDK is available on Mac OS, Windows and Linux. This SDK takes care of all the work for developers, so adding support for Blackmagic RAW to third party software applications is easy and fast. Developers get access to GPU and CPU accelerated algorithms for decoding files, along with unique information about the camera’s image sensor so their applications can accurately decode and display the files. The SDK features highly descriptive and flexible metadata options designed to support today’s modern workflows. Metadata is embedded directly in the .braw file or it can be stored in a .sidecar file. Metadata is important because it contains the RAW settings along with information for the slate, iris, focus, focal length, white balance and a lot more. The metadata in .sidecar files can be used on top of the embedded metadata without overwriting it. Blackmagic RAW also supports frame based metadata so customers can access values, such as focus distance, that often change on a frame by frame basis.

    “Blackmagic RAW is the world’s only truly modern, high performance, professional RAW codec that is open, cross platform and free,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “It’s exciting because customers can get the visually lossless image quality of RAW with the speed of traditional video workflows. Best of all, there are no hidden licenses or ongoing fees. Blackmagic RAW has been designed to provide the industry with an open, elegant and standardized high quality image format that can be used across products and in customer workflows absolutely free!”

    Availabilty and price

    Blackmagic RAW is available today as a public beta via the Blackmagic Camera 6.0 Beta Update for URSA Mini Pro. The final release of Blackmagic RAW is expected to ship in several weeks’ time once further testing is complete.

    The DaVinci Resolve 15.1 Update, which features support for Blackmagic RAW, has also been released and can be downloaded today free of charge from the Blackmagic Design website.

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  • 32 Replies sorted by
  • Very good news for BM users. I would like same thing for my GH5s.

  • Yes this is excellent news.

  • @flash

    Very good news for BM users. I would like same thing for my GH5s.

    I believe we will see paid raw option, but most probably only for new cameras.

  • @ Vitaliy_Kiselev sad news :-/

  • & John Brawley had to keep the RAW tidbit a secret, which I assume he's a beta tester for...

    I think we can definitely say John Brawley is not a leaker!!!

    I hope BM RAW is free, cause that means I'm more likely to buy more cameras and more companies are likely to support it.

    This is an excellent opportunity to save on disk space, recording media, etc and update color science / colorspaces with the changing times.

    BMD is on a good track here, look forward to their next Camera release cycle and I hope they get into 360 / 3D action cams very soon...

  • 12:1 RAW sample:

    I don't see a way to download it unfortunately to mess with it.

  • Download BM Raw clips and RAW Player here ( registration needed for player)

    https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicursaminipro/blackmagicraw


    DaVinci Resolve 15 free download

    https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/


    use jDownloader to download above Reza and Thom Vimeo clip

  • @NickBen

    it is all nice and sound, but need to read all terms.

    Free SDK really does not mean that it is fully free or algorithms are open.

    I believe BM shows that company can do if engineer leads it and banks back with good funds :-)

  • BMD have really done well to implement this new raw codec. Hopefully some other cameras will use this codec, but it will be a while before anything gets to market. I don't give a hoot if it is not 'completely free', as long as it works reliably and efficiently. Oh, hang on.... it IS free!!! Here ya go Vitaliy, time to bring your negativity to the discussion.... heh heh.

    “Blackmagic RAW is the world’s only truly modern, high performance, professional RAW codec that is open, cross platform and free,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “It’s exciting because customers can get the visually lossless image quality of RAW with the speed of traditional video workflows. Best of all, there are no hidden licenses or ongoing fees. Blackmagic RAW has been designed to provide the industry with an open, elegant and standardized high quality image format that can be used across products and in customer workflows absolutely free!”

  • @caveport

    Well, such thing has lot of positive sides.

    But we yet to know all the negatives. It is certainly based on patents. All algorithms are closed and distributed as compiled SDK.

    We yet to know agreement terms with Red who owns patent on compressed raw video (general one).
    It was due to them we had DNG raw stored in separate files to get around patent.
    Apple ProRes RAW became possible due to private agreement with Red - one of the terms had been sales of cameras on Apple site.
    Here we also have some private agreement no one talks about. And I am afraid we will soon can find consequences like some limits on how BM cameras can be designed or cartel price agreement.

  • From the Red Skark News video Black Magic are claiming to get a stop to a stop and a half more out of the shadows of the USRA Mini Pro due to the sensor optimized partial de-mosaic filter in camera processing. So we might be seeing 14 stops of DR out the Pocket 4k if and when BRAW is implemented. This USRA Mini Pro claim should be easy to test now. Just shoot the same scene before the software upgrade with RAW and after the software upgrade with BRAW on the USRA Mini Pro...

  • From the Red Skark News video Black Magic are claiming to get a stop to a stop and a half more out of the shadows of the USRA Mini Pro due to the sensor optimized partial de-mosaic filter in camera processing.

    Sounds fishy.

    Only way to get such thing is some kind of internal noise reduction that will be part of new raw format.

  • From this BRAW test:

    Kholi (Camp Comet) claims:

    " - New update in camera has cleaned up my image in a massive way, FPN nearly vanished with a firmware update.

    • New Noise Profile is very pleasing, never used NR before anyway, but profile is extremely awesome."

    Sounds like your right as there is an apparent improvement in noise, so the algorithm from partial de-mosaic filtering in camera is either having the effect of acting as or applying what appears to be a "non-offensive" form of NR.

  • algorithm from partial de-mosaic filtering

    Such thing should not be in raw. So it is marketing term for heavy noise reduction.

    I believe that BM is preparing for massive standardization of raw in mainstream FF camera bodies in 2019. As they will need to compete here.

  • After playing with the sample raw clips from BMD, I'm impressed so far. Good highlight rolloff, clean images and no over-sharpening or detail enhancement noticeable. Clips show metadata info as 12:1 compression but I'm not certain about how the compression works on BMD RAW.

  • Noise reduction typically makes a video file require less bandwidth when being compressed, all other things being equal. It would make sense to clean the data before compressing it. From what is being reported, 12:1 looks great so maybe NR is the key to 12:1 receiving high praise.

    It's official: We have now entered the era of Blackmagic.

  • @majoraxis

    12:1 compression do not require any noise reduction or such. It is same algorithms as ones used in JPEG2000 or HEVC.

    But BM marketing requires this. As next year will be battle of DR numbers and HDR and first year of raw on general cameras. In other words - next year will be most tough year in BM cameras history.

  • If someone can do a test with URSA Mini please:

    Shot a scene quite underexposed pre update and then again with the "improved" codec. Make sure to push the sensor into beeing noisy as hell, make the picture a colour-pixel-snowstorm, but good enough to still see the scene that was filmed.

    If there is little, some, a lot or heavy noise reduction in the new processing, will be quite visible by comparing real raw to BRAW. And it will also test, if 12:1 is still possible with such a compression nightmare;-)

  • Out interview

    Sorry for some audio quality drop towards the end and screen part quality, but it was too noisy and too far mike.

  • @Psyco I have an URSA Mini so I was excited by this release. But I've found that it only works for the URSA Mini Pro. There are many BM forum posts complaining about this.

    The sensor in the UMP and UM are the same, I believe the processors are similar so the BRAW debayer function should translate. Maybe BM will leave it for a while to see how many people will upgrade from the UM to the UMP.

    I'm not going to knock BM. I could afford to upgrade BM cameras several times compare to an Arri or even a Red.

  • I have to credit Blackmagic - for better or worse, they've continuously 'disrupted' the media back-end market by giving the people what they want.