BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera RAW Footage + Adobe LightRoom + FCPX

I've received a few questions about the RAW format of the BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera, so I thought i'd do a short video. The RAW setting of the BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera does not shoot video - it shoots RAW pictures. Each picture equals a single frame, so if you're shooting 24p then it will capture 24 individual RAW photos per second. If you're shooting at 30fps, it will capture 30 individual RAW photo per second.

Even though the DNG format is open source, not all DNG files are created equal. This is the reason why you can't import the BMCC DNG directly into Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro X (until they've found a way to support the BMCC DNG version). So if you're not ready for Davinci Resolve, or maybe your computer just can't handle Davinci, one solution for basic color grading / correcting the BMCC RAW files is by using Adobe Lightroom.

Adobe Lightroom can import all of the BMCC DNG files and take advantage of the full dynamic range. Once you've performed your basic color grades or color corrections, you can export the images to JPEG (or tiff). One thing I may not have mentioned in the video is that you would change the export settings to 1920 pixels for the long edge if you want to fit a 1080p HD video project.

The final step is to import your image sequence into an editor like Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere, sync up the Audio file, and export to your favorite video format. The BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera will be available in Micro Four Thirds mount and is currently available for Canon EF Mount (both found here)

bmcc mftbmcc ef mount
find-price-button BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera

36 thoughts on “BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera RAW Footage + Adobe LightRoom + FCPX

  1. Cyrille

    Hi Emm, thanks for this ! I havent'got the Bmc but i'd like to, because the advantage of raw file is conséquent ! To get benefits of the raw images, using lightroom and then export it in a non destructive tiff or tga files for after effect looks to be the best deal. Working with such images is very usefull for compositing and rotoscoping if necessary. The non destructive format is important to get the best master. The other advantage of the "frame to frame is for exporting : As it's heavy, if your computer stop wile exporting, you can restart from the last frame...And win a lot of time ! Maybe if you use cs6 suit on pc with big projects you will know what i mean 🙂 If it's to heavy for the computer, working in jpeg gives good results. Sometimes i export in QT photojpeg file and make quick mp4 or h264 exports with handbrake (freeware). I use this workflow to make quick and light exports for nice previews to my clients. Sorry for my english and good postproduction to all of you 🙂

  2. Emm

    Post author

    @Sherwin Lau - Ah yes, that sounds familiar. That was the plugin I was thinking about. Thanks.

  3. Emm

    Post author

    @Blake - For FCPX, I would export to a higher file type (other than JPEG). Once you have it in your editor, and create a compound clip, there is still plenty of information to color grade directly in the timeline.

  4. Hey Emm,

    How would you go about editing a sequence and then going through and colour grading after? Or if you arent happy with the grade wanted to change the correction / grade after you have edited it?

  5. cK

    Look at the #13 on the jersey near the end! Is that all from the sensor moire, or is some of that introduced (or exacerbated) by the lightroom processing?

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Lee Mullen - Let me find something better to shoot and find a place to upload. 40 seconds of RAW video = 5.5GB Total.

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @chris - Thanks for the input, but if you read back a few comments I was already telling someone about compound clips in FCPX for editing. I wanted to show more about the BMCC and not video editing to keep the video short. I think if someone is to invest in a BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera, I would hope they should already have some knowledge about video editing.

  8. chris

    Emm... Why are you exporting 1920 firstly? Take advantage of the full res so that when it comes time to do any stabilization you don't lose quality. Export full res and drop into the timeline at 1080.

    You didn't cover it, but export each shot out of lightroom into separate sub folders and into a main folder from the export dialogue to your working FCPX drive. When all is done exporting, simply drag the main folder with all sub folders to your desired FCPX event and select "include keyword folders" so that each shot is in its own keyword. You don't need to select "copy files to event folder" as the work is on your drive anyway.

    Next. When you change the frame duration, select all and create a compound clip so it nests into your event and you can use for other projects. Name the shot what you will then move it in the event browser to a new keyword folder for the project. Once done you will have nice neat compound clips ready for editing instead of a million single frames. (I trust you figured this out???).

  9. @Emm - After Effects CS5 and CS6 both seem to import the the Blackmagic Camera's DNG sequences fine. Its grading tools within raw space are a lot more limited compared to DaVinci Resolve, but using After Effects is really great for churning out edit-friendly ProRes dailies, particularly with the option of adding additional output modules for making multiple res versions in one render pass.

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @marklondon - Yes there is crazy changes in LR4 and worth the upgrade. I will have to do that soon.

  11. marklondon

    One thing: Lightroom 4 has finer RAW controls in my experience, so worth the upgrade. If you wanted to get really intense you can also use the Nik Vivenza plug-in to give you node like ability.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Sherwin Lau - I could be totally wrong, but I believe you need an additional plug-in from Adobe to import the BMCC DNG to After Effects. I think Adobe has removed this plug-in from their website. If you could show us a tutorial on how this is done, that would be another good solution outside of Davinci.

  13. Emm

    Post author

    @sarah g - No ProRes export from Lightroom. I use JPEGs even though it has less information than a .tiff or .psd just to keep project size down. It seems like way too many little clips in a timeline, but in FCPX you can highlight the entire project and create a 'Compound Clip'. This will make it into one single file where you can make adjustments as a normal video file.

  14. sarah g

    Why are exporting jpegs?

    Is it possible to export from lightroom in say prores?

    The timeline has 24 images for every second. Thats alot of still images in a project. Is it possible to have each shot self contained if you want to move it in the timeline more easily?

    How about a tutorial using resolve for quick adjustment and exporting into prores.

  15. Great post! If you're familiar with Adobe After Effects, you can use that to import the DNGs as a RAW sequence.

    Import the folder that contain your DNGs, and then adjust the image with Camera Raw Importer (basically the same functions as Lightroom, just a different interface) and export your comp as ProRes or proxies for editing (if you want to do the offline/online).

  16. Dean

    HAHA yesss.. those were the days. Once the concrete scuffs them up, they won't grip the wood floor anymore

  17. Emm

    Post author

    @Dean - Isn't that how Filipinos play basketball? LOL. That's my son who doesn't wear his real Basketball shoes outdoors. He says they are only allowed to be used on real wood basketball courts. He hates seeing scuffs and dirt on his kicks..

  18. jarrett towe

    I think the diy arena on these things is about to explode...check out the pt. grey flea usb 3 cameras...4k raw for 900$...course you need a usb 3 laptop, plus streampix to capture it...but it can and is being done.

  19. Emm

    Post author

    @Sam - They aren't able to keep the EF mount in stock, so I think it will be some time before you see an MFT version. Right now the only benefit I can see with the MFT version is the ability to adapt more lenses. Don't hold me to it, but my guess is they will 'show' it at NAB in April and then maybe have a released version by end of 2013.

  20. jarrett towe

    I will be sure to. These cameras are also available in ef and nikon there is quite a bit of glass that's adaptable.

    Tell you the truth I would grab a bmcc in a second once the active mft mount comes available...that plus the speedbooster from metabones = industry changing.

  21. Emm

    Post author

    @Sven - I will have to do more testing in those areas, because when exporting from Lightroom I also resized the images down to 1920 pixels wide. ND Filters are still a 'must have' because you need to still get the best exposure possible. If you open your aperture for a shallow DOF, you have to cut out the light coming in. Just because you have some lateral in post you should still practice getting the best exposure.

  22. jarrett towe

    I've embarked on what might be the final diy project I would attempt. Since the BMCC is technically backordered until 2014, I am homebrewing a raw camera using an engineering camera. I think you will find that this is the foundation of the BMCC, the BMCC has a much neater package though!

    I am going to be using streampix software (by norpix) to capture to a prosilica 1920 gt c-mount camera. Streampix will capture to Cinemaform codecs. From there, it's off to resolve or Cineform studio. Wish me luck!

    One thing to remember, an engineering camera like the prosilica's is designed to operate 24/7 for years on end...a very durable camera indeed.

    These cameras are around $2000. The software is $1500. It isn't cheap, but it's available now.

    Wish me luck!

  23. Emm

    Post author

    @scottrellwi -

    1. I suggest a computer that has Thunderbolt. If you don't have this, you need to start thinking about buying one. Data transfers through USB will slow you down in post production.
    2. Invest in lots of SSD drives, then invest in external drives for archiving or when working on projects.
    3. You'll need an external power solution. The battery can run for a short period of time, but it really should only be used as a backup solution when you need to hot swap your external power source.
    4. Get a rig because you can't even hold this camera comfortably. Get an external monitor or EVF with waveforms, it will help dial exposure and focus.
    5. The screen isn't that great on the BMCC. Get a good hard case like a Pelican 1510 to throw all your BMCC related stuff in, because the camera isn't weather proof and this huge LCD screen is easily exposed - can't use a regular backpack.
    6. Get a solid tripod something with weight to support the heavier setup and prevent vibrations. Those are the basics..and it hasn't been a cheap journey for me so far.

  24. Sven

    Really nice with Raw-video! Are ND-filters redundant with this camera when shooting in raw?
    In the footage in the end there is moire in the ventilation-parts of the white wall, is it like that in the raw-format too or just when converting to h.264/Youtube?

  25. Sam

    If the MFT version with electronic mount comes out (if ever?), you should definitely go for that one. And then use the metabones MFT to EF speed booster. Best of two worlds. (and you get an extra stop of light!).

  26. MG

    hi emm - I have all canon gear (mark 3, Ef lenses etc.). Would you reocmmend i get the EF version of the BMCC or the MFT one?

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