Round-tripping to DaVinci Resolve
By Michael Reichmann
CinemaDNG is becoming a very popular format for shooting raw video. It is used by Blackmagic in their 2.5K Cine Cameras and also in their Pocket Cinema Camera anf the 4K Prodution cameras. Magic Lantern also uses it in their hack for Canon DSLRs.
The question becomes, how to turn these raw DNG files into editable video? One approach (simple, but not too efficient) is to use Lightroom, a method which I detailed in this article. A much better approach is to use DaVinci Resolve. Resolve is a hugely powerful program but fortunately one can easily learn how to use just those aspects that one needs. Resolve is available as a free download and it's only major limitation for some users is that it can't export images later than HD.
DaVinci resolve can also handle many other raw video formats in addition to CinemaDNG. These include ARRI Alexa RAW, RED One, EPIC and Scarlet™ R3D files including 5K, monochrome and HDRx. Also supported is Cineform™, Cineform 3D, Phantom™, GoPro™, Canon™ C300, C500 and 1D, 5D, 7D and Sony™ F65/F55/F5 RAW and XAVC. If you don't have a 2.5K or 4K Blackmagic camera the cost for Resolve is $1,000. But, if you are shooting with the 2.5K Cinema Camera or the new 4K Cinema Production Camera the full verison is available free with the camera. Quite a bargain.
SIDEBAR: Here's a thought. On August 2nd, 2013, Blackmagic dropped the price of the 2.5K Cinema Camera to $1,995. If you have any other type of camera that shoots raw video and can use Resolve, you can buy a 2.5K camera, geting the unrestritred version of Resolve, and thus essentially getting the camera for just $9.995. Just a thought.
So – you've got a camera that shoots CinemaDNG, you have an NLE such as Final Cut or Premier, but neither program can handle raw files properly. They need to be debayered and turned into an editable format, such as ProRes. That's where Resolve comes it. It reads and can debayer CinemaDNG raw files. It can colour correct them and it can also export into just about any editingor finishing format that you wish.