ProRes Raw Status as of May 2020

I have been spending some time looking at ProRes RAW in the last weeks and I have come to some conclusions that I wanted to share with you.

First of all ProRes RAW together with the unsupported CinemaDNG is the only RAW video codec that is not camera manufacturer specific this is a benefit of course as it makes your workflow camera independent.

ProRes RAW partners currently only include Atomos and DJI see full list here https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT200321

Atomos implementation is based on HDMI data transfer and capture of raw signal on disk. This is limited by HDMI bandwidth.

  1. HDMI 2.0 imposes a limit of 12 bits depth
  2. HDMI 2.1 will remove this limit and allow 14+ bit depth however this is not supported mainstream right now

So if you have a camera with an APSC (Super35) or Full Frame sensor with a 14 bits RAW image capability you will be limited by two things:

  1. Sensor Readout: in video mode most full frame camera can’t output the full frame at video recording speed. Super35 being smaller are better in that respect
  2. Bandwidth of HDMI: your camera will not have more than HDMI 2.0

So in short right now the only camera on the market that can fully benefit from ProRes RAW is the ZCAM E2 see here link

This camera needs an external monitor and you need a Ninja V anyway to record ProRes RAW but it does have a Nauticam housing.

So right now your only option to full exploit ProRes RAW underwater is to use a ZCAM E2 with Nauticam housing and HDMI 2.0 connection.

Super35

Super35 cameras remain professional domain, Varicam EVA1 has ProRes RAW support still limited to 12 bits.

Nauticam makes a housing for it. It is of course expensive and this is really prograde.

Full Frame

Due to readout and scaling limitations there are no full frame cameras that can output 4K. However the S1H can offer a cropped Super35 (APSC) output to ProRes RAW this also has a Nauticam housing supporting HDMI 2.0. Am not considering the Nikon Z series total fail in this review.

Sharpness and lens correction

MFT format lenses are autocorrected other formats aren’t we don’t know what ProRes does.

Furthermore we have no details of which demoisaicing procedure is embedded in ProRes. Camera without an antialiasing filter appear to work badly indicating the algorithm favours speed to precision.

It is therefore possible that the IQ in ProRes RAW may be worse than log out of camera. This has been discussed in a workshop on Raw, gamma and log I have attended this week.

Conclusion

At Prosumer level the only options currently for ProRes RAW is the ZCAM E2 as the Panasonic S1H firmware has been delayed.

It is likely that ProRes RAW current readiness produces an outcome that may be equal or less satisfying that standard video processing.

I will keep following on the subject and keep you updated for now the advice is don’t rush it.

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