RED Licenses Raw Tech to Atomos (Here's Why That Matters)

RED have licensed some of their raw recording technology to the monitor/recorder leader Atomos, with more cooperation planned into the future.

RED absolutely brought raw recording to the filmmaking arenaa with their .r3d format. Years ahead of everyone else, they showed filmmakers the power of having access to the full sensor data in a way that it's taken other companies nearly a decade to catch up to. With being first comes a lot of patents, and RED has a few of those. 

As Atomos, the market leader in monitor/recorder devices, beefs up their raw offering, it makes sense that they would need to license some technology from RED in order to do so. Thus today's announcement that Atomos will be licensing some RED raw tech, and that the two companies will be working more together in the future, makes a lot of sense.

While some might think this is about ProRes Raw, that technology was launched at NAB last year and was in the works for a long time before that, so if it depended in RED patents this would be very late in the game to be licensing it's use. This is speculative, but this is much more likely around a potential Atomos Raw format. While ProRes Raw is great, you can only edit it in Final Cut X. Blackmagic now has Blackmagic Raw, but you can only shoot it on Blackmagic cameras so far, though they are making it open to anyone, no other camera manufacturer has announced support yet.

This is where an "Atomos Raw" format, capable of working with any camera that can put out raw over SDI or HDMI, comes into play. Atomos doesn't make cameras, and they don't make editing software, so they are free to be a format anybody can adopt. An "Atomos Raw" would likely see support from Media Composer and Premiere pretty quickly, faster than Blackmagic or ProRes Raw, both of which want to be the "open platform" for raw, but both of which have hurdles to overcome to do so.

In terms of how the partnership might benefit RED, Atomos is currently the leader is capturing RAW over SDI and HDMI.  RED traditionally has internal SSD slots or pricy lemo cable connections to hard drives, not affordable open formats like HDMI or SDI.  It would be interesting to see if RED might consider releasing a truly stripped down body that output it's raw signal to an Atomos recorder and didn't bother with internal recording at all.   

Of course, RED is making 8K cameras and will surely be releasing 10k/16k bodies soon, which are currently beyond what you can fit over SDI, but maybe working together with Atomos they could find a way.

For more check out the press release    

Your Comment


You lost me at the Atomos Raw part. I don't see why Atomos would purposely spite themselves by making a "competing" raw format to ProRes Raw. I'm sure they wouldn't want to hurt that relationship, ask NVIDIA if they regret upsetting Apple. Red partnered with Apple to make a RED Raven/FCPx kit a year or so ago, my guess is this Atomos/Red partnership has Apples working in the background. They have a working relationship with both companies and Reds shooting ProRes Raw would be huge for them.

ProRes Raw won't be an FCPx exclusive forever, Apple has learned from some of their walled garden mistakes. Look at AirPlay coming to Samsung TVs as an example, they're starting to play ball with other companies "strategically".

It just doesn't make any logical sense for Atomos to release another Raw format, when that would have them directly competing with both Red and Apple who are their partners. Also how would that benefit RED?

January 24, 2019 at 8:32AM, Edited January 24, 8:32AM

You voted '-1'.
Charles C.
Editor/ Director/ Director of Photography/ Wannabe Thinker

I agree, pro res raw edits like Pro Res 422 in terms of decoding so hopefully we will see that format on not just Red but Alexa as well this year. It would make no sense for Atomos to release another raw format based on .R3d technology.

January 24, 2019 at 10:10AM

Brad Jones

Red had patent about a lots of raw video involved, this cause a lots of troubles to many brand to use raw video term and not only. Atomos bouild their raw, well and then? why someone think that most of software add the Araw support more faster then others?
- cineform raw, the first raw video incarnation, with active metadata and more is dead, thanks to Gopro, is now opensource, but implementation is weak and without real power that had when it was a commercial solution. In past there are a cinerecorder, a recorder that record normal and raw data from any camera from sdi (and from rj45 from si2k).
- arri raw, quite good implemented in many software, but best developing are from ACR (arri camera raw) that export a video, recorded only in arri camera.
- RedCode, recorded only in red camera, well implemented in many software, but best like arri is from red proprietary developing software.
- Canonraw, again only canon related cameras
- Sony raw could be recorded from two or three recorder very expansive
- Apple ProresRaw, recorded only from few device, but worst decoded only from FCPX then mean a waste of time/space if a pro software to manage color is not involved
- Braw from blackmagic, sensor related (actually only UMP), free to implement out from davinci resolve, there are just many solution to read and develop it for scratch, nuke, fusion, and beta for premiere... faster to implement be cause... patent to read file are free... i reapet free... many people forget that reading codec mean someone pay to someother money to have SDK also to read file, not only to write, and if you meet name like Red, Apple, Arri you are sure that money are not few bucks.
to me... no problem... just allow me to capture most of dr, less compression visible and keep debayering in post work not previous, to have the time and the option to manage better some part of process.

January 24, 2019 at 3:11PM

Carlo Macchiavello
Director (with strong tech knowledge)

This is an interesting bit of news as it follows on from a video I did called "The Year of the Codec". or follow a discussion on it at LifeGammaGain at

But in general, on this move from ATOMOS. I find it disappointing. A few points.
This move shows how Apple RAW is a bastard child that will never make the grade. It was rushed out for marketing reasons (We have RAW, please do not move away from our proprietary codec walled garden!!!) and does not have core features that RAW should have. ATOMOS is adopting another RAW due to this.

They should have gone with BMD Raw as its revolutionary and free. But as BMD make competing product.. NO.. They have approached RED, and I bet the deal from RED is pretty good, as RED does not want to be marginalised.

To be honest, they all don't. Canon, Sony, RED, etc, all with proprietary lock in RAW codecs.

This is very much an interesting year for codecs as there is a lot of strategic moves going on that will likely shape what we use going into the future.

January 26, 2019 at 2:38PM

James Gardiner