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Blackmagic Camera Post Workflow

  • April 17, 2013
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Blackmagic Camera Post Workflow

In our second post on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, we are going to look at some workflow options for getting both the CinemaDNG and ProRes files out of the camera and into the NLE of your choice. Keep in mind there are many factors that dictate how you will approach post workflow – storage space requirements, speed, hardware, software, quality and final delivery – just to name a few. (Here is a link to our first post on the camera.)

By Derek Johnson
(Assistant to Shane Hurlbut, ASC)

A Bit about ProRes and DNG files:

The advantage of working with ProRes files is that you can get going right out of the box. The files are easy to work with, no transcoding necessary, and at 10 bits, the file size is smaller to deal with. This format does not have to be color graded (the camera applies a burned in LUT), but you can adjust it with limited range. Once you have your media, import it directly into your editing application and go. Round tripping is not necessary.

One of the big deals with BMCC is that it comes bundled with DaVinci Resolve and that gives you an immediate way to work with RAW files.

The 12 bit uncompressed RAW opens the door to freedom and creativity with color grading. The dynamic range is outstanding. If you have never worked with RAW format, this camera offers a great opportunity for testing the waters.

Workflow for Blackmagic Cinema DNG files:

Here are the basic steps for round tripping from DaVinci Resolve to FCP7 and Premiere Pro (steps are same for both):

Open DaVinci Resolve and start a new project.

 ProRes Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

Import CinemaDNG files into DaVinci Resolve.

ProRes Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

Choose Conform to see timeline. (You may choose to do a basic color correction at this point.)

ProRes Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

Click the Delivery Tab and select the Use the Easy Set Up option and export to Final Cut Pro. This also works for Premiere Pro.

ProRes Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

Render out your media. You will be making low-resolution proxies that your NLE can manage.

Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

New Proxy file for editing. (Each clip in your timeline will export as an individual proxy file.)

You can now import the proxy files into your NLE of choice. For this example, we will use Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro 7.

In your NLE, create a new project and import your files. Make your edits in the timeline and save project.

In Premiere Pro, export as Final Cut Pro XML. In Final Cut Pro 7, export as XML.

ProRes Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

Back in DaVinci Resolve, use the Conform Panel to import the XML file.

ProRes Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights

Make sure you deselect “Automatically import source clips into media pool.” This is what will relink your original CinemaDNG files.

Make sure you deselect “Automatically import source clips into media pool.”

Your edit is now relinked to the original CinemaDNG files for final grading and delivery.

To include After Effects in the above workflow, one option is to work with those shots that need effects separately. Export those clips to AE and do the necessary work. Then export the final composition as a standalone clip. When you import it back into Premiere Pro or FCP, you can replace the old clip with the new one.

Using DaVinci Resolve:

DaVinci Resolve comes with a configuration guide. You will need a high performance graphic processor and other requirements to get the most out of this software. Part of what makes this camera and software package so exciting is that you have the option to shoot for cinema and export for cinema.

Other Options:

Other alternatives are to open the CinemaDNG files as an image sequence in Adobe After Effects. Make your adjustments and then render it out as a movie. In Photoshop, open one image. Then make your adjustments recording a Photoshop Action and apply those adjustments to the rest of the images in that sequence. Here is a link – http://adobe.ly/OmYthD – to instructions on how to record an action in PS. You can then Export via Media Encoder as DPX, H.264 or Quicktime. In Premiere Pro, you could also assemble converted DNG files (as TIFF or JPG) and finish your edit there.

Adobe CinemaDNG Converter:

Adobe has a free download to convert your DNG files so they are accessible to process in a variety of software. (This may be more useful to photographers.) Camera manufacturers use different RAW formats, which can make it challenging to open the files.

You can find more information and download the converter here: http://adobe.com/dng.

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