CinemaDNG RAW Recording Has Arrived for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
It's been in the works for some time now, but CinemaDNG RAW recording has finally arrived for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (which is now in stock at places like B&H if you'd like to pick one up). Though it was mentioned that RAW would be ready when the camera began shipping over the summer, more time was needed for testing and to ensure that it worked properly. Check out more from the announcement below as well as which SD cards you'll need to actually record in RAW.
Here is a bit from the announcement:
The new Blackmagic Camera 1.5 software update adds CinemaDNG RAW file recording so customers can now capture super wide dynamic range in a single file. Wide dynamic range RAW image recording allows users to capture the brightest highlights and the darkest shadows simultaneously, capturing more of the scene than is possible with a regular video camera. CinemaDNG RAW files give users incredible freedom to be able to adjust the exposure manually during color correction with Davinci Resolve allowing more flexibility for incredible feature film look color grading.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera uses the open standard lossless compressed version of CinemaDNG RAW. CinemaDNG RAW lossless compression works in a similar way as a ZIP file where the RAW files are compressed during recording without the loss of any part of the image, so all images retain the same quality when they are decompressed. That means customers get back the mathematically perfect high quality RAW file image that they recorded.
And from Kristian Lam in the Blackmagic forum:
We recommend the Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB SD card if you're going to be recording RAW.
The lossless CinemaDNG RAW will work in DaVinci Resolve and applications from Adobe like Photoshop and Lightroom. However, the Preview and Quick Look feature in OS X is not compatible and you will not see a proper image. This has been reported to Apple. Hopefully, they will have an update that will address this.
Right now if you want to record RAW with the camera, you'll want to pick yourself up a Sandisk Extreme Pro card (though it's possible you may be able to record for a short period of time with slower cards). With a 64GB card recording at 1920 x 1080 24fps, you'll get around 20 minutes of recording time, depending on the scene, since the codec is somewhat variable at about 2-2.4MB per frame according to John Brawley (not per second).
It should be noted that even though this version of CinemaDNG is compressed, the compression is actually very minimal, and will not affect picture quality since it's what is known as lossless -- meaning, you're not actually losing picture information in the process. This is different from something like the RED EPIC, which records in a lossy compression scheme that can affect picture quality depending how much you compress. The advantage to that system, however, is in the flexibility of being able to conserve more space for projects like documentaries or web material that may not need the same level of picture detail as a Hollywood feature film.
If you're looking for one, they are in stock in quite a few places, and you may be able to walk into a store and buy one like I did with mine at Rule Boston Camera. If you've already got a Pocket, head on over to the Blackmagic support page and download the newest camera utility version 1.5, which will install the RAW firmware.