Blackmagic RAW Plugin and BRAW Studio - What's the difference ?
November 25th, 2021
(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 ?
BRAW Studio has a FREE version now !
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 other features
Why would you want to use Blackmagic Design's Blackmagic RAW plugin ?
The only good feature of their plugin used to be that it's free, but now BRAW Studio also has a FREE version to allow import and decode .BRAW. Some MacOS users had troubles 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.
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.
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.
The Premiere Pro feature "Consolidate Duplicates" allows you to clean your project if you have duplicated project items. It doesn't work with the Blackmagic RAW plugin but works with BRAW Studio.
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
The latest version of the Blackmagic RAW plugin is much more stable and they fixed a lot of the bugs they had in the past.
One of the major problem we have seen is that they don't well manage transition from lower version, so be careful if you choose to update at the middle of a project !
When testing it, we have experienced some issues with the "Apply LUT" checkbox not working in the Source Settings. Using the "Revert to Metadata" button at the bottom seems to fix the issue though.
Also, it is less the case now, but the Source Settings could become grayed out and impossible to use.
If you want to know more about Blackmagic Raw BMD plugin issues, here are some users posts on the official Blackmagic forums (some of those issues could be solved now though).
Following links are sorted and most recent ones are on top
The only issue we are aware of is that the Project Manager "Transcode" feature doesn't work, the file is copied instead.
This issue is common with the Blackmagic RAW Plugin, and it also doesn't work with the R3D Source Settings plugin, so maybe it's a global limitation for the Source Settings codecs.
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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