Blackmagic Design’s new RAW codec family – Reading between the lines

Blackmagic Design have announced their new RAW codec family at IBC today. Possible interpretations of the press release:

Blackmagic RAW has been in development for years


We started on this long before we heard Apple was developing a post-focused RAW codec.

Blackmagic RAW…moves part of the de-mosaic process into the camera where it can be hardware accelerated by the camera itself


There is no margin in giving away free post software. We are a post production hardware company that makes cameras, not a computer maker.

Because the processor intensive partial de-mosaic is done by the camera hardware, software such as DaVinci Resolve doesn’t have to do as much work decoding the files


We want our software to be cross-platform. We need to make sure Resolve works on operating systems and hardware that might not be as good at working with media. Popular hardware and OS combinations aren’t powerful enough to work with ProRes RAW

Blackmagic RAW is much more than a simple RAW container format. Its intelligent design actually understands the camera and the sensor. This means the image data, along with the unique characteristics of the image sensor


Despite cameras not having huge differences in sensor and glass, we think Apple ProRes RAW doesn’t include enough metadata to capture their individual characteristics.

“Send me a Blackmagic”

Blackmagic Design is up against one of the biggest brands in post production. As much as people say “Can I look at it on the Avid,” they also say “Can you send me a ProRes.” It makes post-production adjacent people in TV and film feel like they are ‘in with’ the post process – even if those brands are all they know. They would be happy if you showed them you work on a Adobe Premiere Pro CC timeline, or if you send them an H.265 MP4.

I’ll be interested to see if Blackmagic gets people switching from Apple and Avid codecs for post. I’m looking forward to seeing how well ProRes RAW converts to Blackmagic RAW.

According to, the Blackmagic’s beta codec and sample media don’t work in Final Cut Pro X, but there’s no business reason why they shouldn’t. If Final Cut users liked it, Blackmagic could sell more cameras.

As regards Apple’s ProRes RAW working in Resolve, I’m sure they would like that, but they also like other applications being used as off-line editors while the online -the last 5% – is done in Resolve (if needed).

Overall: A reaction, not an instigation.

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