Cinematographers discuss ProRes RAW

Sunday, 08 April 2018

Here are some excerpts from a discussion over at CML where TV and cinema cinematographers discuss ProRes RAW. (link via today’s Tao Colorist Newsletter):

Ned Soltz:

ProRes RAW bit depth depends upon what the camera sends out. So for Varicam it would be 14 bit, for Sony FS it would be 12 bit

Mitch Gross, Panasonic Cinema product manager:

Both the EVA1 and VariCam LT RAW outputs will be supported by the Atomos recorders for ProRes RAW capture. 4K60p/2K240p at launch on Monday, EVA1 5.7K30p in May.

Scott Ferril:

I'm certain "RAW" will now permanently change to mean a Bayer pattern

James Marsden:

The point is I don't see ProRes RAW helping with any of this, and I find Almost all clients are editing in Premier or Avid […] ProRes RAW is unlikely to work on a 2012 Mac Pro.

Alexander Ibrahim:

I do expect ProRes Raw to enable some productions to move from ProRes/Rec709 to a raw workflow and HDR. […] It will matter to a lot of my productions though. R3D nearly breaks a lot of their post workflows. ProRes is easy, but a little too constraining. It will shift the industry, especially the low end and mid range, in ways we should all be excited about.

Mitch Gross:

While I agree that ProRes RAW is a pretty terrific opportunity to “bring RAW to the masses” let’s all make sure not to get too carried away. ProRes RAW may be (Apple) processor friendly, don’t forget that the files are still something like three to four times the size of something like AVC-Ultra or All-I codecs. And they’re approaching 10 times the size of a high quality LongGOP.

Alister Chapman:

I think we need to think a bit differently to how we do now. We tend to assume raw must be graded, must have a load of post work done, when really that’s not necessarily the case.

Paul Curtis:

We should not be working in 709 any more, the tail ends of the gamma curve just compress usable highlight and shadow detail, it's a delivery gamma, not a workflow one.

Also some of us need all the full range linear in post.

So if Apple had slammed down a ProRes Linear intermediate codec, with VBR and maybe a couple of quality settings and found a way to read that data in 'simple' mode for decimating the output for speed then i for one would be all over that. Basically EXR and ACES for the masses, with Piz or DW compression.

I just don't get what ProRes RAW will bring professionals

Mitch Gross:

ProRes RAW will work because it is Apple. With a single step it is supported in lord-knows-how-many-thousands of systems and a host of cameras. These cameras were like ships without a home port, wandering the seas with no effective and manageable RAW workflow. Uncompressed CinemaDNGs? The data load is ridiculous and the workflow a bit mercurial from one camera to another and one post system to another.

ProRes RAW makes it easy. It levels the playing field. All those cameras go into it and will work just fine in FCPX. Finding and applying the correct LUT is easy. Everything just works. That’s the beauty of it.

There are many great points being made, so if you want a deep dive, follow along with the evolving discussion at the Cinematography Mailing List.