Adobe's Camera RAW Plugin Can Color Correct Your Video, & It Does an Amazing Job

Credit: James Trent - Contrastly
Did you know that the insanely powerful Adobe Camera RAW plugin can be used to process your video clips right inside of Photoshop?

Most photographers are already acutely aware of Adobe Camera RAW and the wealth of creative power that the plugin brings to a photo post-processing pipeline. However, outside of a few crafty filmmakers who have used it to process CinemaDNG footage from the hacked 5D and several other cameras, few filmmakers have had the pleasure of manipulating their footage with Camera RAW.

In an excerpt from a fantastic Lynda series on working with RAW, Bryan O'Neil Hughes shows you just how quick and easy it is to import video into Photoshop, convert it for use with Smart Filters, then manipulate it with Camera RAW.

For a more in-depth example on color correcting GH4 footage with Adobe Camera RAW, here's Giulio Calisse:

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One of the best things about post-processing your footage this way is that the Camera RAW plugin has some incredibly powerful and relatively high-end features, like advanced denoising and chromatic aberration correction, that you don't usually find in any basic color correction plugin. Plus, it offers a significantly different -- some would argue refreshing -- way to work with color that allows for far more creative experimentation than your traditional three color wheel setup.

Of course, the downside to this is that it can take forever to export video from Photoshop, especially if you've applied a bunch of advanced filters like Camera RAW and utilized some of the processing-intensive features like noise reduction. Despite the fact that it may take ages to export, though, it's hard to argue with the stellar results.

Have you guys ever used this method to color correct or grade your video clips? If so, provide some insight into your process and the overall experience!     

Header Photo Credit -- James Trent

Your Comment


It's a brilliant tool, but not designed for video. I don't know if it had an update, but I must warn: it causes flickering in the composition.

I really like the highlight and shadows sliders, for instance, and I think they work better in ACR than in Resolve. So I tried with Magic Lantern raw and CinemaDNG files of the BMPCC and the change of exposure, highlight, vibrance and some other sliders causes a flicker in the image, especially if it has change in brightness in the middle of the shoot. The ACR has some auto settings that can't be changed.

December 24, 2014 at 1:41PM, Edited December 24, 1:41PM


Guys from NFS, you should really warn about the flickering in the post, because this can harm someone's work. It's a well know issue among those who have been trying ACR for a while.


Canon raw:

Blackmagic raw:

I can post my own examples on Youtube. Oh, and Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2014 at 7:57PM


I think you're right about the flickering issue but I believe the topic above is about actual video clips inside Photoshop not RAW as in Magic Lantern or Blackmagic. I actually like my color results best in photoshop as well but it takes a really looooooong time to export.

December 25, 2014 at 3:08AM


I highly recommend this method, although the workflow is admittedly a bit funky. If you shoot on a Blackmagic, it's pretty cool. It takes longer to grade than the average method, but there's a degree of control it gives you that's really freeing.

In particular, if you use it in a Photoshop batch process alongside other powerful effects, you can get fantastic results without ever needing to delve into Resolve/Colorista/etc.

Here's an example of something graded with the Photoshop method. This was done through ACR, selective color, and shadow/highlights.

December 24, 2014 at 2:05PM, Edited December 24, 2:05PM

Sean Parker

Would this work with CS6?

December 24, 2014 at 4:31PM

Miguel Sotto

Yes, covered in PS CS6 The Missing Manual, not very deeply but because video uses frames one can use Smart File in order to implement the tools in PSCS6.

Head to Barnes and Noble, pull the book and check pages: 788 through 790.

You have to import it initially as a video layer first, then create a new layer as an SO or as an SF. Otherwise it imports as a still (filters will only adjust frame by frame).


Rob Manning

December 27, 2014 at 12:52AM

Rob Manning
Writer, film maker, photographer, composer-lyricist

Note to down voters, adherents to other platforms etc. This was not an endorsement of said tool set, just in answer to "Can it be used".

Right now BMD has a free ware version of Da Vinci that does a whole lot of colorist work at no cost, no water marks etc.

December 27, 2014 at 5:22PM

Rob Manning
Writer, film maker, photographer, composer-lyricist

Giulio Calisse does mention that you can add grain, just be aware that it doesn't change pr. frame basis in the same way that Film Convert does it.

Without having tested it excessively it does seem to be faster to export it as a "Photoshop Image Sequence" instead of "Adobe Media Encoder" Depending on you workflow this might add another step on top. You will benefit from having better compression (i.e exporting a .tiff sequence)

The ACR engine is implemented in AE if you import Cinema DNG files, so it should, in theory, be possible to make a script that would enable the ACR engine for use with other formats than raw. As for better support in PS an option to render via the Adobe Media Encoder app doesn't seem like a lot of work.

December 24, 2014 at 4:46PM


The film grain bug was fixed in 8.4:
Grain effect now varies from image to image to facilitate editing time-lapse and video frame sequences.

That said I still like filmconvert grain better, but this is cheaper!

December 24, 2014 at 7:57PM


Writing as a still photographer... ACR is the worst of all RAW converters by a wide margin. Particularly with Canon. I'd go this route if I were feeling lazy or the client didn't matter.

December 24, 2014 at 5:32PM


Dave, I'm also a still shooter who uses LR exclusively, which as you know is the same as ACR. I'm curious why you dislike it so much?

Sorry for the OT reply.


December 25, 2014 at 11:02AM

John MacLean Photography
Still Photographer

Thanks for posting this.

I've been doing an awkwardly lengthy but effective camera raw workflow with Gopro/Phantom footage for some time now. The combination of processing in camera raw and then doing additional tweaks in FCP7 seems to yield the best result. CS5.5 is especially helpful for removing fisheye on footage shot with the wide setting, using the Nikon fisheye lens preset with some manual adjustments.

Granted, I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to grading but I couldn't achieve these results in Resolve or FCP alone:

I know there's some artifacts from compression but I'm more concerned with the overall feel of the footage, especially coming from a Gopro.

The only weird thing I've noticed is a slight overall gamma/color shift when importing into FCP, which I'm thinking is maybe due to Adobe using a different color profile.

Thoughts on that? I haven't delved yet.

December 24, 2014 at 11:50PM, Edited December 24, 11:49PM

Tom Gunia
Paunchy Camera Guy

For those who are interested. There's a topic on the Adobe forum to get this feature inside premiere cc. With a group we are filing requests to get it added. Every bit helps!

December 25, 2014 at 12:13AM, Edited December 25, 12:13AM

Gilles van Leeuwen

I've struggled with color correction/grading in Premiere and SpeedGrade (using CC2014 - I'm new to these and have used just a little).
I understand and like ACR. I've been using it in Photoshop CC2014 to color correct and tweak my GH4 footage and so far like the results a lot. My advice, unless you have a wicked fast computer, is to trim your clips fairly tight in Photoshop before going to ACR. It both taxes computing power and takes a long time to export so only export what you need + a few seconds buffer on either end. I then just tighten up the corrected clips in Premiere CC2014. Haven't noticed any flickering so far.
I'd love to find a way to correct only in Premiere, but at my level of knowledge and experience this is working. And, most importantly, the end result is footage that looks gorgeous (to me).

December 25, 2014 at 7:23AM

Steve Ramsey

As a primarily stills guy I've always wondered why the ACR filter isn't used more. It's a million times more intuitive than any other coloring program.

Not only ACR though, CaptureOne can do raw video as well. I worked with a guy on a job for Mary Kay where they wanted the stills and video to totally match. The budget was into the clouds when I mentioned this option and to just use the strobes' modeling lights. 100% exact match across all shots. No wasting time changing light setups or needing a second space.

December 28, 2014 at 9:26AM