Blackmagic RAW Plugin and BRAW Studio - What's the difference ?
November 5th, 2020
(Originally published on September 13th, 2019)
Blackmagic Design released their own plugin for Premiere Pro and Media Encoder to decode BRAW : in this article we will explain its differences with our plugin BRAW Studio so you can choose what's best for you
Table of Contents
TL;DR : Pros & Cons
Straight to the point, here's a summary of our findings !
And if you want to test BRAW Studio after reading this article, you can transfer your existing project as explained here.
Why would you want to use our plugin BRAW Studio ?
Support : we're here to fix your issues and answer you by email
BRAW Studio PrPro Panel will allow you to access and modify your RAW Settings directly in a Lumetri-like dockable Panel ! It allows batch modifications to any number of selected .BRAW Sources with Presets or Sidecars, and lots of others features
Why would you want to use Blackmagic Design's Blackmagic RAW plugin ?
Basically the only good feature of their plugin is that it is free. Some MacOS users had crashes with BRAW Studio and could avoid them by using BMD's plugin (But the reverse is also true, there are issues with Blackmagic plugin that can be avoided with BRAW Studio, so make your own tests !).
In Premiere Pro, there is a native feature to save and apply presets from any effect by right clicking on the effect name. This feature doesn't work with either the BMD plugin or with our BRAW Studio plugin. It will sometimes result in bad situations (when the ISO lists or LUTs available are different for example).
But from the 1.7.0 version of BRAW Studio onwards, there is a
BRAW Studio Presets feature directly available on the BRAW Settings tab
, with which you can save up to 20 presets and apply them quickly !
BRAW Metadata Tab in Panel and Columns in the Project Panel
When shooting with Blackmagic cameras, the users can set some useful metadata like Reel, Scene, Take, Good etc. This metadata is set inside the .BRAW file when it is saved.
Some of this metadata can be shown on the Premiere Pro Project Panel in list view with the BRAW Studio panel. So you can sort and organize your files in terms of the metadata. For example, you can organize files using the Reel number metadata, or separate the files which are tagged Good.
Note that this feature is free in BRAW Studio, and can be used with the Blackmagic Plugin ! More info in this article.
Also, when right-clicking on a .BRAW clip, either on the Project Panel or on the timeline, and selecting Properties..., with our plugin, you have other information like BRAW compression and much more.
It seems these kinds of metadata are not visible in Premiere Pro with the BMD's plugin for now.
The NTSC .BRAW files (framerate 23.976 / 29.97) have a timecode problem in Premiere Pro due to an Adobe bug,
with both our BRAW Studio plugin AND in BMD's plugin
No big deal... except if you want to export your timeline in FCP XML and import it back to DaVinci Resolve (for color grading for example) : there will be an error when importing.
Check our article about the wrong timecode for more details about how to deal with this problem with BRAW Studio.
Exporting the correct FCP XML directly will need a registered BRAW Studio license, but
Update : Adobe has fixed their timecode issue from Premiere Pro version 14.3 !
There are minor differences with how both plugins handle sidecars. The Blackmagic RAW plugin hides away the fact that Revert to Metadata is actually loading the .sidecar file's content (if it's available) AND updating Decode Using Camera Metadata, whereas, with BRAW Studio, it is clear that Load Sidecar loads the .sidecar values into the GUI Custom RAW Values, and Decode using Camera Metadata stays the same once the .BRAW has been imported.
Reconnect Full Resolution
BRAW Studio lets you reconnect full resolution media when you are attaching proxies to .BRAW in Premiere Pro, while the Blackmagic plugin doesn't let you do this.
WARNING : For this, you should make sure you don't have Blackmagic RAW Adobe plugins installed, because they will conflict with BRAW Studio and prevent you from reconnecting your .BRAW media.
Project Manager : Collect Files and copy to new location
BRAW Studio lets you choose Collect Files and Copy to New Location in Premiere Pro's Project Manager, while Blackmagic plugin has a bug. Topic discussed, with screenshots, here and here.
Performances and Bugs
BMD's plugin speed was better than BRAW Studio for a few months. Since BRAW Studio version 2.0.1, this has been corrected. Sometimes BRAW Studio is even faster, because we also offer a hybrid CPU-CUDA (nVidia) decoding technique on Windows, please test it !
Also, when importing hundreds of .BRAW Sources, we noticed that BRAW Studio was faster than Blackmagic's plugin.
Known Bugs of Blackmagic Design's Blackmagic RAW plugin
We experienced a lot of image caches issues with BMD plugin version 1.5. Cache issues basically mean that what you see on the screen is not the real content of the .BRAW color grade with the RAW params you selected. Note : this has been fixed with BMD Blackmagic RAW 1.5.1 update, so don't forget to update!
Some users also report Source Settings controls freezing forever. We also experienced a (rare) crash on Windows.
Trying to copy / paste the plugin from one braw clip to another works well, but if the ISO Lists are not the same (which can be the case even with files from the same camera, due to the Dual ISO system), it could result in bad situations, like corrupted source settings.
Using Undo (Ctrl/Cmd + Z) is also a problem : the value you see in the GUI returns back to its previous value, but the image will stay the same; and it's not a problem with the cache. If you generate a new image, the value used will be the one before you made the undo ! The only solution to get the correct value back is to change this value again.
Also, using Premiere Pro's Replace Clip feature might lead to corrupted projects with the Blackmagic RAW plugin, but not with BRAW Studio.
If you want to know more about Blackmagic Raw BMD plugin issues, here are some users posts on the official Blackmagic forums :
We already know that some MacOS users experienced crashes with BRAW Studio, but most have our plugin running just fine. We have not found the origin of these crashes, for now we are still investigating.
Should I install Blackmagic RAW ?
Yes of course ! Because it will also install the Blackmagic RAW Player and the Explorer / Finder thumbnail previewer, which are awesome tools for your daily workflow. But you should uninstall the Adobe plugins that are installed along with them if you want to use BRAW Studio.
We have a checkbox in our installer to directly install only the Player and the thumbnails and delete the Adobe plugins !
Please note that some features of BRAW Studio for Adobe CC V2 are available for Blackmagic RAW Adobe plugins users, such as metadata import, timecode fix, timecode shift fix and export .XML !
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