BlackmagicRaw Plugin and BRAW Studio - What's the difference ? (Updated)

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.

TL;DR : Pros & Cons

Straight to the point, here’s a summary of our findings !

Why would you want to get our plugin BRAW Studio :

  • No cache issues and other issues (no Ctrl-Z bug and Source Settings Copy/Paste working fine, see at the bottom of this post for a full list of BMD bugs)
  • Good timecode for NTSC framerates, so you have the ability to export the timeline to DaVinci Resolve
  • New BRAW Studio Presets feature
  • Metadata inside Premiere Pro (both Properties and Project Panel Columns)
  • Better support for LUT
  • Increased compatibility (CC 2017)

Why would you want to use Blackmagic Design’s BlackmagicRaw plugin ?

  • Free
  • Better performances (for now)
  • Some Mac OSX users have crashes in OSX 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 (Cache, bad Timecode, LUT etc.) arise later on. 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 :

Differences in features and decoding speed

23.976 & 29.97 fps footages Timecode Issue

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.

With our BRAW Studio Panel, you can correct all the timecodes of your project in one click (the same than for setting metadata).

In the BMD’s plugin, you will need to change the timecode manually (Right-Click -> Timecode -> Modify) and you’ll need to open up DaVinci Resolve to know about the right timecode.

BRAW Lut

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!

Presets

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 !

BRAW Metadata Columns in the Project Panel

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.

Sidecar

Minor differences, BlackmagicRaw 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.

Performances and Bugs

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.

Known Bugs of Blackmagic Design’s BlackmagicRaw plugin

After some tests, we got a lot of image caches issues in the BMD’s plugin. Cache issues basically mean that what you see on the screen is not the real content of the .braw with the RAW params you selected.

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 (Ctrl/Cmd + 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.

If you want to know more about Blackmagic Raw BMD plugin issues, here are some users posts on the official Blackmagic forums :

Known Bugs of BRAW Studio

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.

Can we use both plugins at the same time?

Unfortunately for now, on Premiere Pro, you shouldn’t use both plugins as they are fully incompatible and Premiere Pro is not made to switch easily from one importer to the other one. We advise you to not mix different BRAW plugin inside the same project or try to switch of plugins in the middle of your project.

That said, we tried to make it easy for you to try both plugins to compare. From version 1.7.0 onward BRAW Studio should have priority by default. And from 1.7.0, you can set an option which will change the priority’s plugin, so you will be able to switch from one plugin to another without having to uninstall any of them.

For that, go to BRAW Studio for Desktop by clicking on the BRAW_Studio.exe file (BRAW_Studio.app Mac OSX), which is installed next to the BRAW Studio plugins in the MediaCore folder :

  • Windows : C:\Program Files\Adobe\Common\Plug-ins\7.0\MediaCore\Autokroma BRAW Studio
  • Mac : /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Common/Plug-ins/7.0/MediaCore/Autokroma BRAW Studio

Then, you will be able to switch the priority between the 2 plugins with this option : “Let BMD plugin take priority over BRAW Studio”. You’ll of course need to restart Premiere Pro !

Cross compatibility and switch a full PPro project between the 2 plugins

Warning : if you started one project with one plugin, we recommend you to absolutely continue and finish this project with the same plugin. Anyway, if you really need to tweak with your projects, here’s some good information to keep in mind :

  1. If you open a project that used BRAW Studio with the Blackmagic’s plugin, the footage won’t work and you’ll get an ugly green / red screen. Seems like Blackmagic didn’t plan for that to happen and it is buggy. Premiere Pro might become unstable because of this, don’t do it.
  2. If you open a project that used Blackmagic’s plugin with BRAW Studio, the footage will be decoded with BRAW Studio but will return back to Camera Metadata mode and you will loose any custom RAW parameters you entered. We don’t recommend going that way as it could also make Premiere Pro unstable (as you can see there will be two Source Settings, with BMD’s Source Settings being “offline”). If you still want to continue that route, you should open the project with BMD plugin installed, export the sidecar, remove BMD plugin, install BRAW Studio, re-open the project and Load Sidecar in all Source Settings where you need to get back your RAW parameters.
  3. You can’t use the “Replace Clip” feature to refresh a clip and switch from one plugin to the other one
  4. You can try to switch all .braw Clips of one project from one plugin to the other by exporting a FCP .XML and reimporting it into a fresh new project; However you will loose RAW parameters and not all features are supported (you can loose Effects, Text, Graphics layers etc.). In order to keep RAW parameters you should click Update Sidecar before the plugin switch and then click Load Sidecar.

How do I uninstall Blackmagic Design’s BlackmagicRaw plugin ?

To install and uninstall BRAW Studio you can go through our installer.

To install BMD plugin they also have an official installer and an uninstaller (for example on Windows you run again their .msi and click “Remove”). If that doesn’t work you can follow the manual method :

Go to your MediaCore folder :

  • Windows : C:\Program Files\Adobe\Common\Plug-ins\7.0\MediaCore
  • Mac OSX : /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Common/Plug-ins/7.0/MediaCore

and remove the following :

  • BlackmagicRawPremiereImporter
  • BlackmagicRawPremiereSourceEffect
  • BlackmagicRawAPI (whole folder)

That’s all for now, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page to be sure to not miss any news! You can also contact us if you have any trouble.