by Nicolas on September 13th, 2019
Today Blackmagic Design released their own plugin for Premiere Pro and Media Encoder to decode BRAW. In this article we will talk about the differences between BRAW Studio and BMD's plugin so you can choose what's best for you.
Straight to the point, here's a summary of our findings !
Good timecode for NTSC framerates, so you have the ability to export the timeline to DaVinci Resolve
New Custom A/B feature to quickly compare your RAW params
No Replace Clip bug, No Ctrl-Z bug and Source Settings Copy/Paste are working fine (see at the bottom of this post for a full list of BMD bugs), BMD plugin cache issue seem to have been fixed in Blackmagic RAW 1.5.1 update
Metadata inside Premiere Pro (both Properties and Project Panel Columns)
Increased compatibility (CC 2017 and CC 2018)
Better support for LUT
"Reconnect Full Resolution" button for proxies is working in BRAW Studio
Some Mac OSX users have crashes with BRAW Studio and could avoid them with BMD's plugin
So if you're absolutely looking for performances right now you should test BMD's plugin but you should know you probably won't be able to switch your projects to our plugin BRAW Studio if some issues (Wrong timecode, LUT etc.) arise later on. So please read carefully this article!
Also, if you're on Mac OSX you should consider testing BRAW Studio free trial (500 first frames decoded, unlimited in time) to be sure you you don't experience any crash.
Now we'll explain each point, tell you if you can use both plugins at the same time and how to install / uninstall each of them :
The NTSC BRAW footages (framerate 23.976 / 29.97) have a wrong timecode in Premiere Pro due to an Adobe bug, in 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.
You can't correct them automatically with BMD plugin, but you can with BRAW Studio, please follow our tutorial.
In some Blackmagic cameras, you can set a LUT to change the aspect of the footage inside the camera. This LUT is saved in the BRAW File if applied in the camera.
In BRAW Studio, you will have a checkbox "apply LUT" to choose if you want to apply the LUT of the footage or not, and a dropdown list to choose if the LUT comes from the braw file itself ("embedded") or from the sidecar (which can contain a LUT). It is the same behavior than in Resolve.
In BMD plugin, it seems that there is no way to apply LUT or not, so if the LUT is applied in the camera when shot, it will be applied in the BMD plugin but without ability to switch on or off the LUT (Unless if you export the sidecar, then change the value inside and reload it with the "Revert to Metadata" button).
We also saw a footage where the LUT wasn't being applied in the offcial plugin, for an unknown reason. If you have footages where this happens please send us them!
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 neither the BMD plugin nor with our BRAW Studio plugin. It will result in bad situations sometimes (when the ISO lists or LUT available are different for example).
But from the 1.7.0 version of BRAW Studio, there is a BRAW Studio Presets feature directly available from the Source Settings, where you can save up to 10 presets and apply them quickly !
When shooting with Blackmagic cameras, the users can set some useful metadata like "Reel", "Scene", "Take", "Good", ... These metadata are set inside the braw file when it is saved.
Some of these metadata can be shown in the Premiere Pro Project Panel in list view with our plugin BRAW Studio, but not BMD's plugin. So you can sort and organize your files in terms of the metadata. For example ordering files by the metadata "Reel", or finding only the file which are taged "Good".
Also, when right-clicking on a BRAW project item and selecting "Properties", with our plugin you have other informations like BRAW compression and many more.
For more informations, check out our article : BRAW Metadata from Premiere Pro's Project Panel
It seems these kind of metadata are not visible in Premiere Pro with the BMD's plugin for now.
Minor differences, Blackmagic RAW plugin hides away the fact that "Revert to Metadata" is actually loading the Sidecar file's content if there's one AND updating "Decode Using Camera Metadata", whereas in 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.
BRAW Studio lets you reconnect full resolution media when you are attaching proxies to .braw in Premiere Pro, while Blackmagic plugin doesn't let you do this
BMD's plugin speed is better than BRAW Studio. Improvements in our plugin BRAW Studio can be done to try to match it with BMD's plugin in the future.
We experienced a lot of image caches issues in BMD plugin version 1.5. Cache issues basically mean that what you see on the screen is not the real content of the
.braw color graded with the RAW params you selected. Note : this has been fixed with BMD Blackmagic RAW 1.5.1 update, so don't forget to update!
Some users also report Source Settings controls freezing forever. We also experienced a (rare) crash on Windows.
Trying to copy paste the plugin from one braw clip to another works well, but if the ISO List are not the same (which can be the case even within the same camera due to the Dual ISO system), it could result in bad situations, like corrupted source settings.
Using Undo (
Z) is also a problem : the value you see in the GUI returns back to its previous value, but the image will stay the same; and it's not a problem of cache, if you generate a new image, the value used will be the one before you made the undo ! The only solution to get back a good value is to change this value again.
Also using the "Replace Clip" feature of Premiere Pro might lead to some corrupted project with Blackmagic RAW plugin, but not with BRAW Studio.
If you want to know more about Blackmagic Raw BMD plugin issues, here are some users posts on the official Blackmagic forums :
"issue with braw 1.5 support in premiere" https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=98907
"BRAW Premiere Plugin, Another BUG (Color Temp)" https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=99020
"BRAW v1.5 Premiere Plugin - Timecode incorrect" https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=99211
"BRAW 1.5 Plugin hangs Premiere (BRAW controls)" https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=98993
"Bug in Premiere with BRAW 1.5 Plugin (max bit depth)" https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=98983
"BRAW causes Premiere to freeze" https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=99624
"Unsupported format or damaged file - Braw Plugin..." https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=99221
Overexposure issues https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=98746
"aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" corrupted Source Settings https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=101445 https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=102004
In BRAW Studio, we already know that some Mac OSX users experienced crashes with BRAW Studio and others have our plugin running just fine. We didn't find the origin of these crashes for now we are still investigating.
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. You can use our own uninstaller for that, there will be a checkbox for uninstalling Blackmagic RAW
Now that you understand what each plugin is for, don't forget to read our other article about their compatibility, especially if you have created a project with one plugin and want to switch to the other !