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 !
Why would you want to use our plugin BRAW Studio ?
Our new BRAW Studio Source Settings Panel will allow you to access and modify your RAW Settings directly in a Lumetri-like dockable Panel ! Compatible with batch modifications to a selection of .BRAW with Presets or Sidecars)
No Replace Clip bug, No Ctrl-Z bug and Source Settings Copy/Paste is working fine (see at the bottom of this post for a full list of BMD bugs, BMD plugin cache issue seem to have been fixed in Blackmagic RAW 1.5.1 update)
Metadata inside Premiere Pro (both Properties and Project Panel Columns)
"Reconnect Full Resolution" button for proxies is working in BRAW Studio
"Collect Files and copy to new location" in Project Manager is working
Increased compatibility (CC 2017 and CC 2018)
Good timecode for NTSC framerates in Premiere Pro before version 14.3, so you have the ability to export the timeline to DaVinci Resolve (you also have the Export FCP .XML feature in our Panel)
Support : we're here to fix your issues and answer you by email
Why would you want to use Blackmagic Design's Blackmagic RAW plugin ?
Some Mac OSX users have crashes with BRAW Studio and could avoid them by using BMD's plugin (Note : the reverse is also true, there are issues with Blackmagic plugin that can be avoided with BRAW Studio, so make your own tests !)
Faster decoding : that's not true anymore : BRAW Studio 2.0.1+ is as fast as BMD plugin (sometimes faster) !
Don't forget you won't be able to switch easily your projects to our plugin BRAW Studio if some issues arise later on. So please read this article carefully !
Some Free features with BRAW Studio
With the BRAW Studio Panel, you have access to some free features which can be used with the Blackmagic Plugin as the plugin importer.
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, there is a BRAW Studio Presets feature directly available from the Source Settings, where you can save up to 20 presets and apply them quickly !
BRAW Metadata Columns in the Project Panel
When shooting with Blackmagic cameras, the users can set some useful metadata like "Reel", "Scene", "Take", "Good", ... This metadata is set inside the braw file when it is saved.
Some of this metadata can be shown in 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 ordering files using the "Reel" number metadata, or only finding 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 the article.
Also, when right-clicking on a BRAW project item and selecting "Properties", with our plugin you have other information like BRAW compression and much more.
It seems these kind 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 wrong timecode in Premiere Pro due to an Adobe bug, in 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 directly the good FCP XML will need a registered BRAW Studio license, but correcting the timecodes in Premiere Pro is free and can be used with the Blackmagic Plugin. (Take care of the Timecode Shift Issue !)
Update : Adobe has fixed their timecode issue from Premiere Pro version 14.3 !
There are minor differences with how both plugins handle sidecar. The Blackmagic RAW plugin hides away the fact that "Revert to Metadata" is actually loading the Sidecar file's content if there's one AND updating "Decode Using Camera Metadata", whereas in 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 : 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
BMD's plugin speed was better than BRAW Studio for a few months. Since update 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 clips 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 in 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 List are not the same (which can be the case even within 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 of might lead to some 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 :
In BRAW Studio, we already know that some Mac OSX users experienced crashes with BRAW Studio and others 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.