Edit Blackmagic & Magic Lantern RAW Right in Premiere with Ginger HDR

I've been talking a lot about offline/online workflows lately -- how they have, in principle, been used for ages, and still play today, tape or no tape. Such a post production process allows less fortunate folks (such as myself) to work with footage like Blackmagic Camera CinemaDNG and Magic Lantern RAW on hard-pressed machines. But what if your computer can handle the media, and you're sick of waiting through long post processes for CDNG? Ginger HDR may be the solution for you. The plugin allows native editing of CinemaDNG, and now, even ML .RAW files directly, in Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. One user has also devised a work-around for developing CDNG with the powerful Adobe Camera RAW interface, after native Premiere editing. Check it all out below.

Ginger HDR isn't a new plugin, but it's worth posting about here for those who haven't heard of it yet -- I'm pretty late to the party myself. Ever since Adobe sort of, well -- marooned their CinemaDNG format on an island of orphaned support, the question of CDNG's place in the Adobe ecosystem has existed. Of course, there are work-arounds (as there always are), and a number of solutions to get the job done.

Ginger HDR may present the most direct solution for Magic Lantern RAW and/or CDNG editing in general at this point. It sacrifices some flexibility -- it cannot natively use Abobe Camera RAW to decode CDNG, and therefore relies on its own debayering algorithm and white balance controls. That said, Ginger HDR's support of Magic Lantern .RAWs bypasses the need to convert using Raw2dng or RAWMagic, which is hugely convenient.

First, here's a video by John Hable of 19lights, creators of Ginger HDR, explaining basic CinemaDNG support. This process can apply to shooters of any CDNG camera, such as the Blackmagic cameras and the upcoming Digital Bolex. Following that, there's a much more recent video demonstrating direct .RAW import and editing for Magic Lantern:

Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/54754773

Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/67934251

This is quite different than the ML RAW post process that I've been using, which is essentially an offline/online workflow centered around DaVinci Resolve (more on this later). What works for me may not work for you, though, and there's really no "right" way to do this sort of stuff. It comes down to personal working preference, particularly when deadlines (or hardware) aren't an issue.

Of course, deadlines are almost always an issue, and that's a very significant reason Ginger HDR could be beneficial. It is a paid plugin, but if it lets you tackle CDNG the way you've been wanting to, it may very well be worth its $150 cost to you.

The downside of Ginger HDR, as mentioned above, is that it must bypass Adobe Camera RAW. 19lights said in Vimeo comments, "There isn't any way to invoke the ACR interface. Adobe doesn't let external developers pass data into ACR."

Despite this, Vimeo user Edward Whittington has devised a rather ingenious way of "tricking" AE into importing CinemaDNG through Adobe Camera RAW after using Ginger HDR to edit in Premiere. Check out his process below, followed by a little demo of some results:

Since Edward's process requires CinemaDNGs and some manual relinking, it does take more steps (and time) to complete than the direct .RAW import scheme above. Whether the greater flexibility in developing your RAW is worth this extra time and work is ultimately up to you. If the ACR interface is preferable or even vital to your process, though, it may be worth considering.

I think it's great that Edward figured this out, so if you end up going with this process, be sure to let him know of your luck! 19lights also seems open to feedback, so if Ginger HDR is what you've been looking for, check out the links below for more.


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good thing that i already have it

August 31, 2013 at 7:40PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Just curious (and trying to get a few last questions in before this site goes all-pro) - to those who know the post-production software inside and out - are there are programs that will simulate the lighting options? In other words, the color/color balance, temperature, contrast, brightness, etc. work on the whole of or on parts of shots but could one actually redesign the physical lighting in post? Could one simulate, as an example, moonlight or "sun through the window" effect in post with all the appropriate physical properties, including the multiple reflections/bounces that would be taking place under the real conditions?
The reason I am asking is because, when late last year, nVidia came out with their new "lifelike face rendering" (aka "Digital Ira"), the biggest improvement was how they accounted for the light hitting a human's various skin layers. Hypothetically, if it can be done real time on a real fake human face, it can be done - and, in fact, easily so - on inanimate items and space.
A quick YouTube clip of the "Digital Ira" below.
[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwL1VWlEQI0 ]

August 31, 2013 at 9:58PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Unfortunately, no, the only way you can do this is to build the entire environment digitally and just either roto or key your actor into that digital world. When you feed a computer a 2D image all it sees are colours, lights and darks. Just take a look at your scopes in any NLE. There is no way for it to differentiate between physical objects on a 2d plane. The only way they could do digital ira was because the computer could see every polygon and so could wrap the light around.

September 1, 2013 at 1:46AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Alex Rednaxela

Thanks for the answer, Alex.

September 1, 2013 at 5:02AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


IMO, while this may require some sort of a MoCap type of software for the entire set, it would instantly become a holy grail of the cinematography. Shoot in flat/overhead coverage, add all the dramatic effect you need in post pretty much in real time. If "Digital Ira" can be rendered instantly, so could a beam of light.

September 1, 2013 at 1:08PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


But Ginger is only 8bit, isn't it ?

September 1, 2013 at 7:53AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Why would you want to? Just edit with proxies from Resolve

September 1, 2013 at 1:36PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Fresno Bob

He-he-he: "Upcoming Digital Bolex". He-he-he !

September 2, 2013 at 11:24AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Lets pretend that I'm pirating my version of premiere. Does this program allow me to read raw files in premiere if I currantly am unable to?

I was never here.

September 4, 2013 at 6:53PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM