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.
Import CinemaDNG files into DaVinci Resolve.
Choose Conform to see timeline. (You may choose to do a basic color correction at this point.)
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.
Render out your media. You will be making low-resolution proxies that your NLE can manage.
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.
Back in DaVinci Resolve, use the Conform Panel to import the XML file.
Make sure you deselect “Automatically import source clips into media pool.” This is what will relink your original CinemaDNG files.
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 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.
Buy the Blackmagic Cinema Camera:
B&H – amazon.com – eBay – Adorama
Best. Post. Evar. A lot of people are having a hard time using BMCC’s raw workflow and others are using their own recipes. I definitely love this one the most really. Huge kudos for posting this, guys!
Kahleem Poole-Tejada. Thanks for the comment and support.
Great stuff as always shane.. I been reading your blog and viewing you’re frames.. You are such a big help. Hopefully one day I can work with you, or have you shoot something I wrote..
-A very much thank you.
Jesus Hidrogo. Thanks so much for the kind words and support.
Legacy FCP is no longer supported by Apple. Why spend time and resource on something that is no longer supported. FCPX is a current platform supported by Apple.
Because Legacy FCP is still a far superior program to even the updated version of FCPX. I don’t know a single professional editor on FCPX — we’re all still on FCP7 or have switched to Avid.
Yup, you totally can’t beat the 32bit architecture that only allows you to use 3.5GB of RAM!
Here’s a a story about an Emmy winning show that edits with FCPX. This article mainly covers his workflow which is really interesting.
Haters gonna hate.
You’re letting facts get in the way of a perfectly lousy argument. – Tim
What has that so called “support” ever done for anyone?
What about converting a RAW DNG sequence to Cineform AVI’s? That’s what I’ve been doing with great results.
Rob- Yes, Cineform is an option for both Mac and PC users more info can be found cineform.com. Thanks for your support and comments.
Amazing post. Thanks Shane, loyal fan from Lisbon, Portugal.
Macielle. Thank you for the kind words and support.
Great follow to the furst post Derek. Glad to see the BMCC is getting love from all over, especially form the Hurlbut Team who are doing massive work in the industry as it relates to education and more.
I just shot a full day at NAB Run and Gun. I’m happy with the cameras performance.
George E. Kennedy. Thank you for the kind words and support.
Thank you Shane!
Extremely informative as always, and much appreciated.
Danny Hidalgo. Thanks for the kind words and support.
I burn in Timecode and other information, when making proxies (Resolve has a ton of options for that) – especially directors love this, when they watch daylies on their iPad after shooting.
Thanks for the great post Shane. Quick question – do you feel ProRes makes the grade when shooting a feature film?
Ansel. It depends on your workflow. Pro Res works well if you have your look dialed in and won’t be using extensive color grading, but shooting raw gives you much more options in color timing. I would say a feature film project would embrace Raw more than pro res.Thanks for the comment.
ProRes only have a LUT if you use it in “video” mode. If you use it with “film” setting you will shoot flat and need to grade.
Great post but I’m wondering if using Resolve for initial ingest and proxy creation in a FCPX-Resolve roundtrip workflow can create issues.
Doesn’t FCPX have its own proprietary method for creating proxies internally? In which case, if using FCPX, would it make sense to ingest your files using FCPX, and not Resolve?
Also, as a last step after grading in Resolve, isn’t it always necessary to go back to your NLE of choice to combine your sync sound?
James B -Thanks so much for your support and kind words.
While FCPX is not the NLE of our choice – a quick test did let us import the same ProRes files from this workflow example and apply effects, render etc. without issue.
You can manually sync audio at anytime in Resolve.
Just doing post on the bmcc today. We borrowed the camera, so we didn’t actually have resolve. I tried to install resolve lite, but it demands 8gb ram. We had one machine 6gb and another machine with gfx but only 3gb ram. We didnt expect Resolve lite to need all that ram. We’re little indie guys.
Instead we went with after effects 6.
We had 800 gbs of footage. CinemaDNG is an adobe format. We open a camera raw sequence in AE and it gives you still photo style adobe camera raw window where you apply your dailies type grade to the raw file. Then once you have all the clips imported with a rough grade, you transcode to ProRes. It looks like 800 gb will be split over two Mac pros 400 gb each will take 20 hours each. We’ll see how far it got in the morning.
Then we’ll put the ProRes files into fcpx and edit. We’ll deliver in ProRes. If we can tweak the color in fcpx, great. if we have to do a heavy re- grade, we’ll go back to AE and output a new ProRes file.
Just sharing our thoughts in case anyone else out there can’t use resolve for whatever reason. Transcoding now, we’ll let you know if we end up having to take a new course. I think on a project that required lots of matching shots and heavy grading, this method may not be ideal. But for this simple one day shoot….
When you export the CinemaDNG files to create the proxies, does Resolve automatically sync and export the camera recorded audio?
Andrew- If audio is recorded internally in the camera it will be automatically synced in Resolve.You can enable or disable audio in the preferences. To manually link up your audio in the Conform window use the “link source viewer audio with video” and then Render with audio in Delivery window.
My biggest question (and I can’t seem to find any info on it) is:
What is the best workflow for running the DNG sequences through AE for VFX work?
Ideally, what I want to do is import the DNG sequence, do my compositing, and export back out to something comparable to the original raw for grading in Resolve while maintaining all of the color information.
I’ve read up on color management and 32bit linear workflows, but, I’m not sure if that’s what I’m looking for and I’m really confused about what the export format/codec/settings should be.
Ross Hamil, thank-you for your support. I would research using DPX and/or EXR file formats as possible options with your workflow. Both are supported in Resolve and AE.
I’m working with a Director/Editor who uses Final Cut X
I’m not to familiar with the program, but we tried to follow your workflow from FC7 and we can’t seem to get our XML back to davinci resolve that links up to the original Raw DNG files
Any tips on working with fcX?
Daniel Carruthers- Final Cut X is not an application we use. I would be to make sure you are using the most recent version of both FCP X and DaVinci Resolve as Resolve does support FCP X’s XML. FCP 7 XML is based on the relationship of clips against time and tracks and FCP X XML does not follow this connection. They are nothing alike. I would also suggest searching the Blackmagic Design Forum (forum.blackmagicdesign.com) and also Apple’s (discussions.apple.com). Hope this helps. Thank you for your support.
I have same problem! When I conform xml in Resolve – all cuts right, but content wrong! I very wonder with filenaming in this tutorial. Original DNG sequence have Frame[000000-000xxx].dng name. And proxy have Workflow_Example.mov. How Resolve understand throw xml, thet Frame[000000-000xxx].dng is original, that must be linking instead proxy? Thanks. Sorry for my english, it’s not my native language.
Arty Gvozdenkov- You can use ‘force conform’ in the conform panel to link the correct clips in the timeline. In Resolve, unlock track (don’t use master timeline for this), select the clip you want from your media pool and then select and right click the clip in timeline you are replacing. Choose “Force conform with selected media pool clip”. If the timecode is matching-you are set. If the timecode does not match you will get a warning and you will have to adjust the clip to match your edit decision. Hope this is helpful.
Does anyone know if it’s better to grade DNG files in AE. The reason I ask is I’m familiar with AE and resolve looks a little daunting.
I think tha same as Resolve. AE CS6 understand xml. For example https://www.video2brain.com/en/lessons/using-pro-import-after-effects-for-projects-from-other-applications
Thoroughly enjoyed this walk through! I have had a few black magic raw workflow problems myself. Im looking into acquiring davinici resolve to ease things instead of exporting it.
jackson, yes, they are meant to be a team. Very wise
Brand new to Resolve and BMCC. I brought a sample DNG into After Effects and rendered out a ProRes QT (for some reason I can’t load this DNG into Resolve, it won’t read). I cut the QT in FCP, exported an XML for the colorist and gave him access to the original DNG but it still doesn’t relink in his Resolve. Does naming convention matter? Since the DNG is an image sequence and can be several dozen files, what should I call the one unique QT file I’m cutting up in FCP?
Mike Sohcot-ProRes QT is not a supported file format in Resolve. You could look into using DPX file format and Glue Tools for FCP support. DPX is supported in both Resolve and AE. Thanks for your support.
Great write up Shane!
Question about working with proxies.
If you edit your timeline with transitions, time remapping effects, etc…how does that save out in XML when you bring it back into Resolve? Or is this workflow only good for rough cuts?
Thanks Chris – There may be instances where some elements of your edit didn’t transfer to Resolve (ex: a transition or unsupported media) but you could do a final export from Resolve and return to your NLE of choice and finish it off there.
Sorry if asking in the wrong place, but would anyone care to elaborate, what are normal hardware requirements to work with kinds of footage that come from blackmagic cinema camera? Thanks in advance!
Robobee: If you Google “davinci resolve configuration guide” a link for a pdf download will come up. This should help get you started. Thanks for your support.
I notice that Prores of Pocket able to import to Avid Media Composer with fast import without recompress to DNxHD, and stay native Prores 10bit.
Since I haven’t yet enough memory cards to start any serious project with CinemaDNG (1xSDXC 64GB Sandisk 95MB I have hold about 18min), I try Prores workflow with DaVinci and Avid. Any tips for Prores workflow?
Superb post. So helpful. I just have a question regarding the “After Effects in the workflow” issue. You say :
“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.”
What shots should I export to AE :
1) RAW files?
2) proxy files?
3) files that went through all the process and that have been graded with DaVinci?
I guess the correct answer is 3). But then, why do you say to import back the final composition to an NLE and not to Davinci? That’s where I’m a bit confused. Side question: if you forget about AE, once the movie has been graded, do you use Davinci to do a final export of your work?
Hope I’m making myself clear enough. Thanks a lot for your help, and congrats again for the explanation of the workflow. It’s hard to try and be an artist and end up trying and be a software geek!
PLEASE SOMEONE ANSWER THIS GUY’S GREAT QUESTION!!!!!!!!!!!!@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@######
Great post: where can I find one with same workflow but with Avid Media Composer? Thank you!
Any suggestions on an avid workflow?
For 4k raw and prores
Thanks for sharing this informative blog about black magic cinema camera.CinemaDNG is the result of an Adobe-led initiative to define an industry-wide open file format for digital cinema files.Cinema DNG caters for sets of movie clips, each of which is a sequence of raw video images, accompanied by audio and metadata.keep posting such informative blog.
Sanna, you are very welcome and thank you for your support
Hello shane, pls I need suggestions on what system to buy for editing bbcc footage. Thanks
I love Adobe premiere myself, easy to ingest. The Adobe suite comes with After Effects, color all the good stuff to create
Shane, I mean a system (imac or hp workstation)?
Ejiro Onobrakpor, HP workstation kicks ass
Great post. If you did want to color the ProRes files in Premiere, any tips? My footage looks okay, but is coming off a little flat for my taste. Thinking about using Lightroom at the end, but LR is limiting. Just wondering if you’ve found anything in premiere that works specifically well with the ProRes files from the BMPCC.
Jake Repko, I have found that this camera grading works best in Davinci across the board. You have to add so much saturation and contrast to make the image feel that it has color depth, it is weird. Not sure why it acts like this.
Awesome info! Does this process hold true with BM4K ProRes footage as well? I would like to edit with proxies for smoother playback, but not sure how to generate them for the ProRes4K just yet. Thanks, Shane!
ProRes files don’t have DNG files… so workflow is easier bro!
Hey, Shane! Thanks for the amazing post. Really helpful for understanding better the BMCC’s workflow. I shot with the 2.5 camera months ago but now I’m stuck in the color grading stage of my shortfilm. I always assumed I would find someone else who actually understood this process to color grade for me but since I ran out of money to pay for it I’ve decided to do it on my own. So my issue here is, I did my edits in FCPX (seemed a nice chance to give it a try, it wasn’t) working with the individual proxy files that DaVinci Resolve created for me. Yet for some reason, possibly made while doing the proxys, all my material looks way overexposed, which really isn’t in the original raw files, still, I did my edits that way (stupid, I know) hoping I could later relink them to the original raw files and color grade on them. So my question here is, is there a way I can re do the proxy files and just re link them to my edit? And, do you think I can do them in an HP workstation over DaVincy Lite, even though I’m later finishing my edit over a macpro?