Blackmagic RAW and ProRes 4444

Yesterday I was going through some RAW footage I shot on the Pocket Cinema Camera and, in between wiping away the tears of knowing how much space all this footage occupied, I decided to test out if there was any discernible difference between having a LUT applied to the original RAW footage versus a flat ProRes 4444 export. Surprisingly, there isn't much difference at all.

Can I go ProRes 4444 and Save Some Space?

As you can see, there's no major difference between the two when the LUT is applied. Because ProRes 4444 supports up to 12-bit color like the original RAW files, you can push them around quite a bit in your color grading application of choice.

I will say, however, that things like adjusting the white balance, exposure, and sharpness is nowhere close to being as flexible in the ProRes file (obviously).

Workflow Recommendations

I'm currently considering the implications of shooting RAW and then exporting each clip to a ProRes 4444 file for both editing and color correction. You get the best of both worlds: deep color and exposure adjustments up front and a super flexible codec for editing at the end. Here's how it would work:

  1. Shoot your RAW footage
  2. Import it into DaVinci Resolve/Photoshop and create a neutral, balanced image
  3. Export as ProRes 4444 files
  4. Import ProRes files into your NLE of choice, check that everything is to your liking
  5. Delete original RAW files, which will cut project size by ~33%
  6. Add LUTs and perform additional primary/secondary color corrections in your NLE

If RAW project file size gets to be an issue for you (or maybe already is), this workflow is a quick way to gain back a fairly significant amount of space while only giving up very granular controls you might only need at the beginning of your project.