Introduction to BRAW Studio

In this article you’ll learn what is our plugin BRAW Studio and its basic usage : limitations of the trial, BRAW Studio Panel for PPro, explanation about the Source Settings, how to copy them from one clip to another and the Sidecar file.

What is BRAW Studio for Adobe CC ?

BRAW Studio is a Premiere Pro / Media Encoder / After Effects plugin which uses the official Blackmagic RAW API made by Blackmagic Design to import, decode and process your .braw files.

It means that your imported footages will have the same look and visual quality than in the official Blackmagic tools (DaVinci Resolve and BRAW Player), using the Blackmagic’s Color Science Version 4 Algorithms (the only version available as of now in the BRAW API).

We always update our plugin the quickest possible as soon as a new version of the BRAW API is available (see our Changelog), in general when a new firmware for your camera is released, or a new version of DaVinci Resolve.

In order to Install or Update for free BRAW Studio, just download the installer following this link, unzip it and execute the .exe (Windows) or .pkg (Mac OSX).

Licensing

Trial vs. Full Version

With the TRIAL Version of PPro, you can see how our plugin is running on your computer before buying it; please check that it’s performances are good enough for you and there is no issue preventing you to use it. .braw files will be fully decoded until 500 frames, for each of them. After, a gray “Trial Image” will be displayed, asking you to license the plugin. In order to know how to license BRAW Studio, please follow this article.

One license can be used on up to 2 computers, but not at the same time. So for example, you can register the license on your Windows computer and on your Mac, or on your personal and professional computers, but you will not be able to use them at the same time.

The BRAW Studio Panel for Premiere Pro

The BRAW Studio Panel can be found in the Premiere Pro top menu, under “Window” -> “Extensions” -> “BRAW Studio Panel”.

Some metadata are saved into the BRAW File, such as the camera name, the lens name, the compression ratio, the “Scene/Shot” numbers, … You can access them in BRAW Studio in Premiere Pro only. Please read our dedicated article about the BRAW Metadata for more information.

Also, we had issues with the timecode (which Premiere Pro automatically sets) of NTSC BRAW Files (23,96 fps and 29.97 fps footage). The timecode for these files are wrong basically with our importer. There is no big issues with this except if you want to export your timeline into XML to import it later in another software (for example : to finish the color grading in DaVinci Resolve). In order to solve this kind of situation, please follow our tutorial here.

If you use this feature of correcting timecodes, please note that the “Shift Issue” could happen to your project. In order to avoid it and know more about it, please read our article !.

The BRAW Studio Source/Layer Settings

Source/Layer Settings are the official RAW parameters you can set to change the way your .braw are decoded. In order to create a seamless experience with BRAW Studio, we took inspiration from the same UI in DaVinci Resolve to design our GUI for our BRAW Studio Source Settings. Any user switching from Resolve to/from Premiere Pro should easily find the same parameters without confusion.

The two different effects (Source Settings or Layer Settings) correspond to the same parameters but applied to a different element.

The Source Settings are applied on the Source, so if you cut a clip in two parts, changing the parameters in the Source Settings will change the aspect of both parts of the clip at the same time because they have the same “Source”.

The Layer Settings are applied on the Layer, so if you cut a clip in two parts, each effect will change its own part.

In Premiere Pro, the Source Settings can be accessed from the “Effect Controls” Panel. You can double-click on your clip in the project panel, or if you have already added your clip to a timeline, you can select the clip in the timeline, then in the “Effect Controls” Panel, click on the “Master” tab. For now, there is now “Layer Settings” in Premiere Pro.

In After Effects, you can’t change the Source Settings, but the Layer Settings is an effect to apply to a braw layer to be able to tweak its parameters. See our AE dedicated article.

The BRAW Studio importer for Adobe Media Encoder does not offer for now any way to set Source Settings to your braw files and just apply the default settings, which corresponds to the “Decode Using : Camera Metadata” (see below). However, in order to apply different settings you can use a sidecar file (see below : “What about the sidecar file ?”)

Setting : BRAW Studio Presets

The official Premiere Pro Presets functionality doesn’t work well with BRAW Studio, and we strongly advise you to not use it !

From BRAW Studio 1.7.0, we implemented directly in the Source Settings the “BRAW Studio Presets” feature : you can load and save your RAW settings in up to 10 different presets, fast and easy!

When loading a preset, the “Decode Using” will automatically be switched to “Custom” if not already on. All the settings in the loaded preset will be applied in “Decode Using : Custom”. If ISO in loaded preset is not in the available list of the current Source Settings, the closest value possible will be set. If the LUT (with Embedded or Sidecar origin) is set in preset and not available in the current Source Settings, then LUT will not be applied.

By saving a preset, the preset name in the drodown list will automatically change to : “#i - braw_name - Date - Time - (APP)”.

Setting : Decode Using

The “Decode Using” setting indicates how your file is decoded. There are 3 values available :

  • Decode Using - Camera Metadata : The default value. It corresponds to the settings used in the camera when the braw file has been shot. If a sidecar file is present for this braw, its values will be set here. (see below section : “What about the sidecar file ?”)
  • Decode Using - BRAW Default : it corresponds to the fixed default settings for every parameters. These default values has been taken from the BRAW API documentation. Note that : Color Science, Gamut, ISO, Gamma and LUT don’t have fixed default settings, so the one used here are the ones from “Camera Metadata”.
  • Decode Using - Custom (A or B) : it corresponds to the custom settings you would want to set to your braw file. All the other parameters can be changed only in this mode ! When you import a file and switch “Decode Using” from “Camera Metadata” to “Custom”, you should not see any difference in the aspect of the render, because all parameters of the “Decode Using : Custom (A and B)” are initialized with the values from the “Decode Using : Camera Metadata”.

Setting : Custom A and Custom B

From BRAW Studio 1.7.4, we implemented two “Decode Using : Custom” : A and B. It means there are two internals set of RAW Params you can change and access :

Thanks to this new feature, you can quickly compare two different color grading by clicking on the “Switch A/B” button (the image preview on the right will update) :

Note that loading a preset or the clip sidecar will load the values inside the current Custom (or in CustomA, if DecodeUsing : Camera Metadata or BRAW Default is selected).

Setting : Color Science

The only color science available for now from the Blackmagic RAW API is the “Color Science Version 4”. This option is displayed as an indication, but as it is the only option possible, you can’t change this setting.

Setting : ISO

The available ISO List depends on the camera used to shoot the braw. Some cameras (like the BMPCC 4K for example) have a DUAL ISO system : if you shoot between ISO 100 and ISO 1000, you will be able to change the ISO in BRAW Studio only between this range (100-1000), and same for the range between 1250 and 25600. For more informations about the DUAL ISO system, you can follow this article : https://fstoppers.com/education/what-dual-iso-and-why-lowest-iso-not-always-best-option-343087

Setting : LUT

In some Blackmagic Cameras, it is possible to set some LUT in the camera itself. If BRAW Studio detects a LUT in the braw or in the sidecar file attached, there will be an option available to apply it in BRAW Studio, and select the LUT Source (“Embedded” for the LUT in Camera or “Sidecar” for the LUT in the sidecar file).

Setting : Update and Load Sidecar buttons

  • Update sidecar will put the actual settings in “Decode Using : Custom” in the sidecar next to the braw file.
  • Load sidecar will set the settings in “Decode Using : Custom” from the sidecar next to the braw file (if present).

A blue popup should be displayed at the bottom right of Premiere Pro, indicating if the sidecar has been updated/loaded or not found.

Note : For now, the LUT feature is not saved or load by these buttons into the sidecar.

How to copy Source Settings from one clip to another

In Premiere Pro effects, there are 2 ways of applying existing effect parameters to another. The “Copy/Paste” feature and the “Preset” feature.

The preset feature of Premiere Pro should not be used with BRAW Studio, and could involved undesired effects.

So in order to apply the parameters from one clip to another one :

  • Go to its Source Settings
  • select the effect and use the shortcut “Ctrl + C” (Cmd + C on Mac) to copy (you can also right-click on the Effect name and select “copy”)
  • then in the project panel you can select one OR many clips and use the shortcut “Ctrl + V” (Cmd + V on Mac) to apply the BRAW Parameters on these clips !

Note : the available ISO List could differ from the clip you copy the params to the clip you paste them ! In this case, if the ISO is not available in the second list, there will be blue popup which will appear at the bottom right of Premiere Pro, saying that ISO has been set to the lowest value possible under the original ISO value.

Sidecar file Workflow

The Sidecar file is a JSON file with the .sidecar extension, which is associated with a .braw file if it has the same name and is located in the same folder. It is Blackmagic’s official reversible way to change the way .braw files are decoded without modifying the original .braw file. The content of the Sidecar changes the behavior of “Camera Metadata”. If no Sidecar is present, “Camera Metadata” will take its RAW params values from what’s stored inside the .braw footage.

If a sidecar is present next to the BRAW file when imported into Premiere Pro with BRAW Studio, or when an existing project is loaded, its values will be used in the “Decode Using : Camera Metadata” mode. But it change it if the Sidecar file is created, moved or deleted during the Premiere Pro session and after the braw file import.

In the “Decode Using : Custom” mode, you will be able to export (Save) the current settings in the Sidecar, or import (Load) the settings of the Sidecar inside the Source Settings.

The sidecar can be used in some workflows, mainly to export the RAW params and use them in another software. For example, if you grade inside Premiere Pro with BRAW Studio, and export your timeline as a FCP XML for importing it in Resolve, there will not be the values of the BRAW parameters inside the XML and so there will be not present in Resolve after importing the XML. A workaround is to export the Sidecar and you will keep your BRAW Settings !

BRAW Studio for Desktop - The hidden settings

From BRAW Studio 1.7.0, there is the BRAW Studio for Desktop called BRAW_Studio.exe in Windows and BRAW_Studio.app in OSX next to the plugins.

You will find it here :

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

The BRAW Studio for Desktop is the same windows that the one which is opened from “Settings & License” button in Source Settings.

From it, you will be able to set options for BRAW Studio, but also register your license(s).

For example if you get a crash before being able to access Source Settings of a clip, we will need some logs to help you, and it will only be possible to activate logs from there ! (See our article abour reporting a bug !)

CPU-CUDA Experimental Optimization

We implemented a new way to decode your braw files, and it should give you better performances (the difference can change from a computer to another). You can test this implementation by enabling this option (disabled by default).