Grading the Blackmagic Cinema Camera DNG’s in Photoshop


I have my Blackmagic camera now for evaluation. Unfortunately when I say I have it…it’s at home in London and I am in LA just wrapped on a shoot. I wont be doing a review straight away, I don’t want to rush it but if you follow me on twitter and facebook will do mini updates… James Miller my right hand man has been playing with the files and has written the below for you…

Today I downloaded some RAW test footage from the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (BMCC) shot by John Brawley. John has has allowed 5, 12bit clips in Cinema DNG format to be downloaded.

I won’t go into detail about the Camera as it is covered here:
and also in greater detail at

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera – Image from


Here is the link to download the DNG shots. Hosted by Blackmagic Design –

Shot 1: (141 frames)

Shot 2: (109 frames)

Shot 3: (69 frames)

Shot 4: (131 frames)

Shot 5: (101 frames)


Below are a few frames with grading and the original DNG.

Graded shot 1

Ungraded RAW DNG (converted to jpeg for this post)


Graded shot 2

Ungraded RAW DNG (converted to jpeg for this post)


Graded shot 3

Ungraded RAW DNG (converted to jpeg for this post)


Graded shot 4

Ungraded RAW DNG (converted to jpeg for this post) – The shot above and the graded version above really show the power of using a RAW workflow – the white balance can be shifted away from daylight.

These DNG’s are single frame images, so in this case there are 24 files per second. The simplest, most powerful way to view or grade these DNG files is to use the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in (included in Lightroom and Photoshop). You will find you have the full range of RAW processing power to hand.

Latest version of Adobe Camera RAW is 7.1 –

Screen grabs from Adobe Camera RAW v7.1


The original DNG files are 2,400 x 1,350 pixels (2.5k).

Of course if you have DaVinci Resolve you could just process them straight away. But I like to use Photoshop’s Camera RAW to see how much they can be pushed. You can use any Adobe application that can handle Adobe Camera RAW, like Lightroom.

I upscaled the DNG files to 4k in Adobe Camera RAW (really makes the difference using the RAW plugin to do this). Using Adobe Camera RAW you can adjust colour temperature, shadows, highlights, sharpness etc, the list is endless. You will see very soon just how powerful these RAW DNG files are. After I have a colour grade I am happy with for that clip sequence, I then save a colour preset and then go back and open all the DNG files as a batch, applying the colour preset I have saved. You have a dynamic range of 13 stops to play with here, so have fun.

You can then render these out to TIFF or JPEG (on max quality). These 4k still files are then assembled as a sequence in Adobe Premiere like you do with time-lapse set (open as sequence).

I also added sharpness and, on a couple of clips, a slight amount of grain to cover the enlargement, this too was in Camera RAW.

I output from Adobe Premiere as 4k (4096 x 2304) H.264, ProRes master. Knowing the downscale will really help on transcoding to 1080p. You can also upload 4k H.264 to YouTube now.

Try your hand at grading the RAW footage. Here’s my first effort:
Blackmagic Cinema Camera – BMCC

Here is John Brawley’s full edit ‘Afterglow’ from his footage graded in DaVinci Resolve.

And John’s original post:

If you want to get your hands on one but have yet to place a preorder, then think about renting one from Guy Thatcher at who has 3 coming very soon, lucky boy.

You can pre-order one from CVP below too.

I also wanted to see if I could push these 2.5k DNG files to 4k using a RAW workflow, and you can. It’s a bit of a push but a good test to see just how much detail the camera generates. Here is the link for the video on YouTube, as YouTube supports 4k playback from browsers like Google Chrome

Product beauty shots and DNG files copyright to Blackmagic Design Pty Ltd and John Brawley respectively.

James here – Just adding some updates from comments I have received on twitter etc.

I had some stick that I should have brought the BMCC DNG’s into Adobe AE but I found that way slower. The great thing about opening frames up as a batch in photoshop using Adobe Camera RAW is that you can see the thumbnails of all the frames. In AE you only get a preview of the first frame.

Also another point raised way generation loss etc. – If you are opening RAW DNG and saving back out as TIFF or Jpegs on the hight quality then really this in not a problem. When assembling the frames in Premiere you are working with the tiffs or jegs, there is no other intermediate transcoding. From here you can edit and secondary grade.

If you want to speed the workflow up for editing then output the frames at a much lower jpeg resolution as a proxy. Then you could go back and re render the frames from the original DNG’s at maximum quality and just replace the proxy files with the same name.

Another reason to use Photoshop instead of AE to open the DNG’s into Adobe Camera RAW is that in Photoshop, using Adobe Camera RAW you can up resolution you can’t do that in Adobe Camera RAW in AE.

Another bonus if you use Photoshop & Adobe Camera RAW is that if you change the preferences you can open Jpegs or Tiffs as pseudo RAW and utilise 95% of the tool set. So if using some AVCHD footage you can export a sequence or cuts to a jpeg or tiff sequence back to the single frames. Then you can open in Photoshop using Adobe Camera RAW grade as a batch and save and then assemble back into Premiere. Great for smaller projects, TVC’s, indents etc.



  1. I really think this is a great way for Black Magic to market their camera by releasing the DNG RAW files. I wish more companies would do this even if the files are not RAW files.

  2. Great Grade Phill,

    Very organic, I can’t wait to get my hands on this Camera, Or to see YOU get your hands on this Camera, for that matter!

    People are too paranoid about the sensor size with this Camera, Rolling shutter is the only thing we need to worry about on this fellow in my personal opinion. And by the look of things, Rolling Shutter doesn’t seem like as huge of a problem as I once thought.

    I’m going to download these and play,
    Thank you for Sharing.


  3. Wow! That really is sumptuous! That youtube 4k is absolutely divine! Jeez, this is such a camera. That has me so excited. Those images are absolutely gorgeous – divine! Just so wish it had a S35 sensor. The lack of low light ability really is a deal breaker for me. Hey ho – back to the C300

  4. Hi I have benn following this blog for some time now. Lots of usefull info.
    A couple of cuestions.
    Do you think this is a usefull workflow for short to mid proyects, at least for PS users?
    How would you do your secondaries?

    Cheers from Mexico.

  5. Wow! I do not have any experience with color grading videos yet, but i do post process the photos i shoot and i’m familiar with camera raw so this sounds like its easy to do now. If only my 600d shoots raw too.

  6. What are your thoughts on the crop 16mm sensor? Won’t the crop factor be like 2.3x (36/15.81)? That would make a 50 more like a 115. Even you 11-16 would be like a 25-34. This is going to make it a little difficult to get wide shots with EF lenses, isn’t it? Or is it just a necessary inconvenience for these amazing raw files? The raw capability is pretty cool, but this camera would be killer if it were super 35 (or even better full-frame). Maybe they’ll bring one out down the road.

    1. I can live with it. Some have said it would be great if it had a S35 sensor. Well maybe if it had it would take much more processing power, be larger, heavier and much more expensive. Its the right direction and can only get better.

      1. I still prefer the 5d. There are so many things that make the BMC great, but I can get a pleasant image from the 5D and I don’t have to worry about a crop factor or an internal battery. I’ve come to terms with aliasing and audio, and I love the full-frame. I don’t think I need RAW to make my movies look great. The BMC is in a different category from DSLRs in my opinion. Its also such a barebones design. I watched the Zacuto gear vid about it and I think that it is so much less practical than the 5d. Thanks for the response.

        1. Yeah, they’re different cameras with different advantages/disadvantages.
          If you want more telephoto range, the 5D’s sensor is going to be a hindrance just as much as the BMCC’s sensor is going to be an issue if you want wide shots.
          The BMCC’s integral battery is odd, but can be countered by the camera’s compatibility with virtually any major external power system on the market. With the 5D, you get easier, more compact battery changes, but are stuck with only one power source.
          (Actually, I just found this Switronix battery pack for the BMCC, which seems to solve most of the issue: )
          Blackmagic’s camera has higher dynamic range and resolution than the 5D while being less susceptible to moire (5D Mk.III notwithstanding), though the 5D has potential for shallower DoF with better low-light capability. With the 5D you get an ergonomically designed camera made for handheld shooting, and with mild weather sealing, right out of the box, though the BMCC’s ergonomics are more in its technical ability: recording quality audio to the camera, monitoring audio, timecode/metadata entry, options for RAW 2.5K or 4:2:2 1080p, etc. Media is also cheaper for the 5D.
          It’s mostly dependent on what you use it for.

  7. since NAB, it seems this camera gets better and better. The upres to 4K looks great and should hold up well as a B cam to the big boys 4K cameras.

    ill post up my grades once im finished with them.

  8. Great job!

    You might also want to try VSCO’s film emulations for LR. I’ve been using for about a month for my still work and really love it as it speaks to what I used to use stock wise before I switched to chips. I’m going to run this through LR later tonight.

    1. True raw control, just like with stills. I’ve been incredibly frustrated trying to CC in FCP compared to what I’m used to in CS and LR and also impressed when people do it so well, such as PB. Now it we can just work in the smart sharpen filter into the raw work flow….. I keep having to stop myself in LR and realize this is a part of a filmed sequence and not a single file!

      Now I’ve worked almost exclusively with DSLR’s, with the exception of a RED once for green screen work, so I’ve not had huge files to deal with. This will need heavy storage use if 30 min takes up a 200 gb card as John Brawley mentioned in his talk to the Sydney Institute Film Academy. The camera is a bargain compared to the storage cost but it’s going to be hard to ignore the wonderful range that this camera has and the control it offers.

      1. One more quick question. Just had a bash in camera raw and it’s a lovely experience.

        But I’ve got very used to grading with Mojo and Looks etc. Would you suggest ever using something like Mojo with Raw files? Or would you only use graders that utilize the Raw format like CR and Da Vinci?

  9. Thanks for this!

    I’ve just purchased a c300 and am finding even the Log files lacking compared to what I’m used to as a photographer, editing RAW in Lightroom. Is there any way to do these same sorts of edits to a video and not have to process a batch import, sync the settings, batch export, QT images sequence, export, import to FCP, etc… It’s so tedious to deal with them as individual images. Can we foresee anything int he future where we might be able to incorporate the DNG raw editing into workflow as video clips?

    I’m able to do so much more in Lightroom than I can in Color!

    My dream is to have a camera that I can grade straight video files with all the features of Lightroom. I love the way it handles shadows, highlights, and clarity– these controls are essential to me. If I had this ability, and S35 sensor, I’d pay SO much more for this camera.

  10. Hi

    Check out my Vimeo page robin cawthorne.

    I have produced some workflow videos for grading your Blackmagic footage using lightroom and premier elements. Elements will work directly with the dng files and therfore gives lossless grading.

    I am using very minimal systems for this, namely.

    Mac Mini i5
    Asus Ultrabook i7

    Please let me know what you think.

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