Blackmagic Cinema Camera CinemaDNG to CineForm RAW Workflow (Windows)

Beginning with version 1.3, the Windows version of GoPro CineForm Studio Premium and GoPro CineForm Studio Professional provide support for the conversion of CinemaDNG into CineForm RAW. Below is a brief overview of the suggested workflow.

If you don't already have GoPro CineForm Studio Premium (or Professional) installed, download a trial version from www.cineform.com/downloads/.

1) Launch GoPro CineForm Studio Premium and make sure you are in the Import Room. Click on the 'STEP 1: IMPORT & CONVERT" button at the top of the screen to enter the Import Room.

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2) In Windows Explorer, select the folders that contain your CinemaDNG sequences and DRAG them into the 'Import New Files' bin on the left-hand side of GoPro CineForm Studio.

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The sequences should import quickly and you'll see them listed in the Import List with a generic thumbnail that says, 'RAW'.

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Note: Don't worry that the image has a greenish tint. That is normal for undeveloped RAW sources. The conversion process will take care of this.

3) With any one of the clips/sequences selected in the Import List, click on the 'Advanced Settings' button towards the bottom of the window. The Advanced Settings dialog box will appear.

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This is the window where you will choose your conversion settings.

Frame Rate: This determines the frame rate of the converted file. Its best to keep this on Source to match the frame rate used in the original image sequence.

File Format: Choose between AVI or MOV. Select the format that is the most compatible with the other video applications that you will be using the converted files in. Note: DaVinci Resolve does not support AVI so be sure to use MOV if you plan on working in Resolve. On windows, most other applications prefer the AVI format.

Quality: These are bit rate settings. Medium is adequate for most 4:2:0 camera sources, but for the 12-bit CinemaDNG files, we recommend going with the Filmscan1 setting. Film Scan 2 can be considered overkill for most sources, but it is beneficial for green-screen work. Film Scan 2 also requires the most hard drive space. NOTE: The converted CineForm RAW files will be about 1/6 the size of the original CinemaDNG sequence...but the visual quality will remain the same.

Crop Region: Clicking on this check-box will open up a new area of the advanced settings window where you can specify a precise region of the original image to use for the converted file.

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Note: You may not want to crop the image during the conversion because you can always do this later using the Framing Controls after the conversion or in your NLE. By not cropping during the conversion, you will have more of the image available to you later.

Despeckle/Dead Pixel Fix: Use this option to clean up a dead pixel from your camera sensor.

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Black Level Subtract: Use this to increase the black levels on the image.

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Encoding Curve: This is where you select the encoding or input curve. You can experiment with these to get different results. We recommend using the Protune option because it will produce smaller files and generally be more color correctable than using a fixed number of code words per stop. You can read more about this at David Newman's blog about Protune.

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Decoding Curve: This determines your output curve and this can be changed later. Again, experiment to get the results you want. If you use the Protune encoding curve, we suggest using the 'Match Encode' option.

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Remember Settings: Check this to make these the default settings for the rest of the clips in the Import List.

Click 'OK' to save the settings.

4) Select a conversion directory by clicking on the 'CHANGE DIRECTORY' link at the bottom of the window. Then select all the clips in the bin by pressing 'ctrl+a' on your keyboard. Then click the 'ADD TO CONVERSION LIST' to add the clips to the Conversion List. If you want to the converted files to have specific names, select each clip one at a time and specify a new name by typing it in the 'FILE NAME' text box. Then add that clip to the Conversion List. Repeat those steps for each clip.

5) When all the clips have been added to the Conversion List, click the 'CONVERT ALL' button to begin the conversion. It should process fairly quickly.

6) When the conversion is done, the 'CONVERT ALL' button will change into a 'PROCEED TO STEP 2' button. Click on that to view the converted files in GoPro CineForm Studio's Edit room.

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As you can see, the converted CineForm RAW files, with the Protune input and output curves applied, develop into spectacular looking images. From here, you can choose Demosaic options and use the White Balance, Image Controls, Framing Controls and Looks to apply many non-destructive adjustments to the clips...saved in a database as Active Metadata.

The Active Metadata adjustments you make here will be applied to these same files wherever you are playing them back. You do not need to render or export new files out of GoPro CineForm Studio's Edit room. Just import them into your NLE and start editing. If you want to further refine the image, return to Studio's Edit room, make an adjustment and then switch back to the NLE. The changes will be immediately applied.

NOTE ABOUT AUDIO: Currently, the audio .WAV file from the CinemaDNG sequence is not getting included in the conversion to CineForm RAW. You can either re-sync the .WAV file with the CineForm RAW file in your NLE or use the free VirtualDub software to combine the .WAV file with the CineForm RAW file.

Thanks for taking the time to view this article. Feel free to leave any comments or questions.

Acknowledgment: The footage used in this article was filmed by John Brawley. Read more about  his Afterglow shoot here.

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66 Comments

  • 0
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    Jake Segraves

    This question is a bit off-topic. In any case,  Neo HD is now GoPro CineForm Studio Premium. You can download a trial version from www.cineform.com/downloads.

  • 0
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    ragnar eriksson

    Hi Jake,

     

    Thanks for getting back to me. I have tried importing uncompressed DNG's into GoPro Studio Premium but to no avail. I have only got the free trial at the moment - not sure if this should matter. For what it's worth I can't import a ProRes 422 file either so perhaps I'm not doing something correctly somewhere rather than this process not being possible. 

     

  • 0
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    rob tor

    great job!!! it´s very useful for me.

    thanks

  • 0
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    Jason Conrad

    I am also interested in a mac version.  Any way I could get notified by email when one's available?

  • 0
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    Jake Segraves

    The trial should work but only using the Windows version. Which version are you using?

  • 0
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    Eddie Barton

     Okay, thanks for your help Jake.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Jake Segraves

    Nothing has changed. Are you using the free, Premium or Professional version of GoPro CineForm Studio? Only the Premium and Professional versions support these files. If you continue to experience issue, please open a support request.

  • 0
    Avatar
    ragnar eriksson

    I'm using the Mac version. 

  • 0
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    Eddie Barton

    Awesome, downloaded the trial and I'm loving it! Couple of questions though. I notice that the CF raw show the full dynamic range that the BMD Film space has, but CF applies contrast and saturation. Is there an encode curve (I think that's what it's called) that allows us to use the BMD Film color space and gamma like Resolve does when debayering the raw DNGs? Resolve matches the BMD Film space as if it were recorded to ProRes using the option on the camera. I've tried turning off the image controls and I've tried switching the color matrix from "Source" to "Neutral." Both give me an image close to what the BMD Film color space gives me in Resolve, but the CF raw files have a very slight color cast (not extreme like the unprocessed DNGs shown earlier). Sorry for the long questions...

  • 0
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    Lucas Pfaff

    Huh, strange thing - I CAN'T do this on my machine! :(

    Using the latest version (1.3.2.169) and various DNG Sequences, nothing works. Also the Afterglow-ones that were used in the example. When I drag the files in the bin, for a fraction of a second there's something flickering on the screen, maybe an import-dialogue, and then it's gone, no footage in the bin.

     

    What's going on? :(

  • 0
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    Jake Segraves

    We don't offer such a tutorial but i found this on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H71YUgHk0RU

    Maybe that will help.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Eddie Barton

    I'm using the same Afterglow footage you used in this post by the way.

  • 0
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    Grant Deliberto

    Hi Jake,

    You say the Raw DNG support is coming for Mac "soon," but I've seen posts about that since last October. Do you have a solid idea of when this will come out, because many indie filmmakers, like myself, use Macs, and the workaround is terrible. Please let us know - it's the only thing keeping me from buying your product right now. Cant wait to use it!

  • 0
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    ragnar eriksson

    Hi Jake,

    As mentioned above version 2.5 is scheduled to support BMPCC compressed DNG raw files to CineForm Raw, is it possible to use Adobe DNG Converter to 'unwrap' them first and then use them in GoPro Studio Premium? 

  • 0
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    Jake Segraves

    Hi Eddie, you might just be seeing the ProTune preset applied to it. That adds some contrast and saturation. Look down in the right hand column of the window and in the Presets, click on the preset that says 'none'. That will reset the values to not have any looks applied to it. Let me know if that's not what you were referring to.

  • 0
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    Jake Segraves

    Hoping to have Mac support coincide with the GoPro Studio 2.0 release this summer...we are close!

  • 0
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    Jake Segraves

    Hi Rangar. Version 2.5 will not support BMPCC files. Those compressed DNG files are not supported in the decode libraries we use in GoPro Studio Premium and Professional. As a result, we can only support the uncompressed DNG files. I have not tested using Adobe's DNG Converter, but I do not see any reason why that would not work. If you have success, please share it with me/us here on this thread. Thanks.

  • 0
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    Jake Segraves

    Eddie, we read the metadata in the DNG files and include that in the converted file (white balance, etc.). We don't apply the same curve that is used in Resolve. We don't even know what curve they are using. We use our own curve and its a coincidence that it is even close to the one used in Resolve.

  • 0
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    Edward Ornelas

    Hello, I would like to know if it would be possible to shoot cineform straight out of the blackmagic cinema camera? If so, what would it take?

  • 0
    Avatar
    raw video

    Blackmagic Pocket support, plus audio with video: look at RAW 4 PRO helper, it does that for Cineform.

  • 0
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    Eddie Barton

    Hi Jake, thanks for the quick reply. I just tried that and it gives the same slight green cast (compared to the output of Resolve) as changing the color matrix to Neutral or turning off the Image Controls.

  • 0
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    Jake Segraves

    Hi Edward. You could run the HD-SDI signal out to a CineDeck.

  • 0
    Avatar
    David Esp

    In case it helps anyone else wanting Blackmagic Cinema Camera (BMCC) RAW footage compressed to CineformRAW for import to DaVinci Resolve:

    Having experimented and web-searched today regarding RAW (footage from a BMCC) encoded to CineformRAW for use in DaVinci Resolve, it seems that:

    • Naïve / simple use of Studio Premium to encode the RAW gives either green-tinted frames (as in the above main article) or black frames in Resolve, depending on the version of Resolve (10.0 and 10.1 respectively).  Seems to be some kind of inter-application compatibility involving looks (in this context I want essentially no looks; in Resolve I just want to see the same thing as RAW).
    • More advanced configurations can overcome this.  However I don't want to go "Advanced" (e.g. having to refer to notes each time) if I don't have to.  Beyond my repeatable comfort-zone.
    • The RAW4Pro utility ( http://raw4pro.com/) provides a simplified front-end to CineformRAW generation, additionally maintaining the audio track (via a temporary intermediate WAV file, that you can optionally delete afterwards).  The result looked correct in Resolve (10.1) and in Windows Media Player, and (unlike the situation for Studio Premium) the audio came with it.

    To minimise the distraction/scariness/risk of encoding technicalities, to just get the job done, I am very happy that I purchased RAW4Pro [ http://raw4pro.com/].  A blow-by-blow account of my investigations and experiments todat are at http://blog.davidesp.com/archives/989.

    Incidentally, for my test-footage (a few-seconds of a color chart handheld against a landscape), with RAW4Pro compression mode of Fine (as opposed to Draft), the compression factor achieved was 5.5: most definitely worthwhile.

  • 0
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    Jake Segraves

    That's correct Gina, even with GoPro Studio Premium installed, Resolve will behave the same way. And Adobe's first release with GoPro CineForm support also does not have this ability. Please contact Blackmagic and Adobe and request this as a feature in their products.

  • 0
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    Lucas Pfaff

    Hi Jake,

    yeah I was using the normal free Studio, haha :)

    I now got the Demo for the Professional Version to play around with it a bit. However, I'm having a hard time to set it up properly.

    I made a comparison from cRAW and the files developed in CameraRAW, and I get a whole lot of color fringes (a bit like moire) with the Footage, regardless of the Demosaicing-Algorythm. This guy came to a similar result: http://www.similaar.com/foto/blackmagic-workflow/index.html

    Is there any fix on that?

     

    Also, I have a hard time with the Output Curve. I rendered the cRAW file into Protune, then choosed Protune as Input, and set Cineon 95-685 as output; I then opened the file in Nuke to watch it a bit, but even when I set the Viewing LUT and the file to Cineon, it seems a bit too muddy IMHO.

  • 0
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    Dwilson

    Jake, How goes the battle of being able to convert Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera compressed DNG raw files to CineForm Raw? Does this still seem to be something that CineForm/GoPro has interest in pursuing? 

    David

  • 0
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    Gina Wang

    Already contacted BM, but it might also speed up the support by the 2 software is if GoPro do some marketing campaign with BM or Adobe. You realize that sales of both  will increase ( by a noticeable percentage I reckon) if it happens...  Thanks anyways.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Jake Segraves

    We're releasing a new version of GoPro Studio Premium 2.0 at the end of August, but unfortunately it won't support CinemaDNG conversion to CineForm RAW on the Mac side yet. We're hoping to get that into a 2.1 release before too long though.

  • 0
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    Jake Segraves

    Nobody is currently working on this here on our end. You can use the technique mentioned in the comment above yours to accomplish compressed DNG to CineForm RAW though. That method works quite well.

  • 0
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    Gina Wang

    I have read about and would like to confirm that even with the Studio Premium installed, Resolve will NOT treat CF RAW as a RAW file but a normal CF file, is this true? Will Premiere Pro 6 (or the whole Adobe suite) treat it as a RAW file when working with CF RAW? thanks

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