Blackmagic Design Promises Efficiency and Flexibility with New Blackmagic RAW Format

Taking after Apple’s ProRes RAW, Blackmagic Design’s just released its very own RAW video codec — Blackmagic RAW — into a public beta.

The company claims this video codec combines the “quality and benefits” of RAW with the “ease of use, speed and file sizes” of more traditional video formats. Essentially, Blackmagic RAW gives users more options in post-production when it comes to color adjustments.

Blackmagic believes they’ve hit the jackpot with Blackmagic RAW. The company says they’ve created an incredibly efficient codec. According to Blackmagic Design, the new RAW format offers the same quality, bit-depth, dynamic range, and controls expected of RAW while maintaining great performance and smaller file sizes.

Faster performance while Taking Up Less Space

Shooting in RAW is great, but their files can be hard to work with. They’re large and require a lot of attention from your processor. Compressed video files are more light-weight than RAW, but their color fidelity isn’t as high. Compressed formats typically use 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, resulting in reduced color accuracy.

Blackmagic says they’ve solved this debacle by moving the de-mosaic process into the camera, taxing your processors less in post. This move is what gives Blackmagic RAW is quality and speed benefits over typical RAW.

Blackmagic RAW can also take advantage of GPU acceleration with Apple Metal, CUDA and OpenCL. “Frame decoding and image processing is extremely fast, making it super smooth for editing, color correction and visual effects in DaVinci Resolve,” said Blackmagic.

Generation 4 Color Science

The Blackmagic codec uses Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science. The company says this results in “reproducing extremely accurate skin tones and gorgeous, lifelike colors that rival those of cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars more.”

Additionally, images are encoded using a custom nonlinear 12-bit space to get the maximum amount of color data and dynamic range. Blackmagic says the codec is intelligent and “actually understand the camera and the sensor.” So, you’ll have full control over things like ISO, exposure, white balance and saturation.

Different Sizes

There are different settings you can use with Blackmagic RAW. Blackmagic RAW Q0, or 3:1, and Q5 and 5:1 are the highest quality offered. But, you can still use 8:1 and 12:1 codecs to save space.

Availability of Blackmagic RAW

Blackmagic RAW is available now for the URSA Mini Pro through the Camera 6.0 beta update. It’s also available on DaVinci Resolve 15.1 today.

You can learn more about Blackmagic RAW at

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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