CinemaDNG Workflow


CinemaDNG ™is frame-based, just like Film. CinemaDNG™ offers maximum image quality and license free archive of your shots as “Digital Negative” that can be processed any way you like and be archived in an “open file format” that can be accessed and supported for all time to come, no matter what happens.

CinemaDNG is Adobe’s format for saving motion picture digital negatives the digital equivalent of motion picture color negative film (not necessarily the equal in all respects as that depends on the sensor used and how the recorded data is processed, just as the results of movie film depend on how it is processed).

KineRAW-MINI can save data in CinemaDNG format, while KineRAW-S35 can save data in CinemaDNG and Cineform RAW (one time/both). When talking about KineRAW in context, it means KineRAW-MINI and KineRAW-S35. KineRAW Cameras captures light and images which are RAW and remain native information as possible at frontend, while KineStation™ transcode the RAW images into the specific format based on post workflow which may suit for this shot or this team, at backend. There are six workflow we introduce in this article.

CinemaDNG is different from the Adobe DNG (Digital Negative) format that is primarily used as a raw image format for still cameras. However, each CinemaDNG image is encoded using that DNG image format. The image stream can then be stored in one of two formats: either as video essence using frame-based wrapping in an MXF file, or as a sequence of DNG image files in a specified file directory. Each clip uses just one of these formats, but the set of clips in a movie may use both.(From Wiki)

What KineRAW Records into a specific clip folder includes: DNG sequences, LUT used when monitoring, two uncompressed audio tracks, while every single DNG contains timecode, colour matrix from Kinefinity and meta data. Since it contains good colour matrix, it can be viewed by Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop, also a free software like XNView .

Since it is based on sequences (not encapsulated as video file), it is not convenient for editing work: often need proxy files to do editing work. But from 2013, there are more NLE software support CinemaDNG, like Adobe PR CC, and Davinci Resolve 10. For grading, mainstream commercial DI softwares like Davinci Resolve, Adobe After Effect, Speedgrade, Scratch, etc. support grading on the CinemaDNG directly. 

To share the same LUT with Cineform RAW (logged), a special curve is developed to match the difference between CinemaDNG and Cineform RAW. Its name of Curve.cube which is generated in every clip folder. Load curve.cube before doing any grading operation when processing CinemaDNG, the DNG looks like logged, then load LUT designed for KineLog, the DNG would get the same look with Cineform clip loaded LUT.

There exists very big difference from the look/principle of CinemaDNG and Cineform RAW (It involves some mathematics).

1. CF RAW is logged data, not linear or quasi-linear; CinemaDNG is linear or quasi-linear. You could regard the CF RAW as logged from CinemaDNG, simply, though it is not accurately from the look of CinemaDNG and Cineform RAW. Since it is more logged in Cineform RAW, the latitude of Cineform RAW seems quite a bit higher than CinemaDNG when playback directly, but it is nearly the same, essentially.

The look of DNG is adjusted by special colour matrix (NOT look/LUT file) embedded in every cinemaDNG; If no colour matrix, DNG files will not have a pleasant look.

The look of Cineform RAW seems lower saturation and lower contrast, and more latitude than DNG. It is just because LOGGED, no colour matrix. If loading LUT file used when monitoring, the look of Cineform RAW will be more normal, because it contains Color matrix and special adjustment for Rec709 as Kine709 or special colour look such as KineColor.

2. CinemaDNG simply uses Color Matrix to restore/show what was shot. Since Color Matrix is a 3×3 linear matrix, it may over-expose the area which is not over-exposed, and may under-expose the area which has shadow details: this is not burned-in. so these highlights and shadow areas can be restored in DI software.

Logged Cineform output does not suffer the visual latitude mismatch from the look and actual data, so it is easier to judge the exposure level compared to CinemaDNG. What’s also one reason that most high-end cinema cameras record logged footages.

3. You can choose different in-camera LUTs to on-site monitoring or playback, even when you record just CinemaDNG by KineRAW cameras. KineLOG as one of in-camera LUTs is designed to help you exposure at the level of LOGGED way when monitoring or playback, to avoid over-exposure or under-exposure. Note: Recorded clips are still CinemaDNG, while images on monitor is logged, and the KineLOG LUT is saved in the clip folder at the same time.

4. The advantage of Cineform is clear: LOGGED, encapsulated as MOV, compatible with nearly all NLE and DI software, much higher recording time on same media, and visually lossless. CinemaDNG gives DNG sequences, uncompressed, maximum grading room theoretically: can be handled easily in Adobe softwares.

The CinemaDNG footages can be edited now in Davinci Resolve 10 and Adobe PR CC. Before that, CinemaDNG is not well supported in NLE software, but it gains much in Adobe softwares like Photoshop, AE and LightRoom. For photoshop and AfterEffect, they process CinemaDNG by the engine of Adobe Camera RAW, while LightRoom is more professional than ACR.

The Cineform footage is encapsulated in Quicktime MOV, so it is well supported in nearly all NLE and DI softwares. Cineform Studio and Cineform Studio Premium over Cineform Codec acts as the same role as ACR or LightRoom over CinemaDNG. The amazing thing is that its active meta mechanism takes realtime effect without rendering, and supports LUT, Debayer/Demosic options to make clips much more details.

Workflow I: Cineform workflow with KineStation

  1. Clips are transcoded into Cineform RAW mov by KineStation;
  2. Then everything at once becomes clear: you could enjoy the multiple cineform workflow.

Platform: Windows + MAC, because KineStation has windows and MAC version. Cineform itself is also cross platform codec.

Workflow II: ProRes Proxy file

  1. Import clips into Davinci Resolve, and output ProRes proxy files;
  2. Do editing work in NLE like FCP or PR software, and then output XML. XML is linked to original CinemaDNG footages;
  3. Load XML into Davinci Resolve, then do grading job.

Platform: MAC. The workflow can exploit the CinemaDNG RAW in perspective of grading. The cons of this workflow is only MAC platform, and the large CinemaDNG clips demands powerful workstation.

In Davinci Resolve 10, there is no need to do proxy operation, because it supports direct-edit on CinemaDNG.

Workflow III: Adobe CC workflow

  1. Import clips into PR CC, direct-edit in PR CC;
  2. Graded in AE or Speedgrade, no need XML.

Platform: Windows + MAC: Adobe software are cross platform, and can exploit the RAW feature of CinemaDNG.

Workflow IV: Pure ProRes workflow

  1. Clips are transcoded into ProRes422HQ mov by KineStation (V0.5 or higher), or Davinci Resolve;
  2. Do editing and grading work on these ProRes422 HQ.

Platform: Windows + MAC.

Workflow V: Adobe LightRoom TIFF

  1. Using Adobe LightRoom to do first level grading, or/and denoise, then output TIFF;
  2. TIFF encapsulated into ProRes444;
  3. Doing further grading work on the ProRes444.

Platform: MAC.  it suits for TVC and other high demands on grading effect: it exploits the native advantage of Adobe over CinemaDNG, and also provides ProRes444 for further grading.

Workflow VI: Workflow of DAN3D

  1. The DAN3D can batch process DNG into 16bpc TIFF/DPX, with the control and adjustment on debayer and other tuning.
  2. TIFF/DPX for film workflow;

DAN3D is an independent DI software developed by Dan Hudgins, especially for CinemaDNG, and its free. Platform: Windows

Visit Website of DAN CAD3D to Learn More

There is no need to install a special decoder like Cineform. You can use photoshop or XNView to view single frame DNG.

No, because it is not LOGGED.

It seems Adobe PR CC and Davinci Resolve 10.0 support CinemaDNG editing directly. You need to visit Adobe and Davinci Resolve website for more information.

CinemaDNG and Cineform RAW are very high RAW images; for RAW clips, there is no color sampling at all, equivalent to RGB444. Bit depth of Both codecs are 12bits.

Video Tutorial One: Workflow on Davinci Resolve 9.0

Workflow II: The video tutorial to clarify how to process CinemaDNG post workflow with Davinci Resolve.

Online Video


Video Tutorial Two: CinemaDNG Grading Demo

Online Video