RAW Video vs 4K

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by dorsal, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. dorsal macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2002
    RAW stills have many benefits over JPEG, but what about shooting video in RAW? The file sizes must be crazy huge, but are there benefits over 4K? I shoot underwater video as a hobbyist and the RAW video cams are getting down into the upper end of "crazy expensive for a hobby" price point -- so I'm wondering about RAW, or "just" 4K. Thoughts...?
  2. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    First questions usually are:

    Do you have a 4k display?
    Do you have any video editing software that can edit 4k?

  3. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    And while 4K is a nice resolution, RAW offers much more than just resolution.

    I have 2 to 5 K Red Epic RAW footage and depending on the codec I use, I can take quite a lot of GBs for just a couple of minutes, especially when I use more than the standard 24 or 25 fps.

    RAW offers handling of White Balance (WB), exposure, colour temperature (WB in other words) and a lot of other settings with the recorded footage, that 4 K H.264, or whatever compression you use, footage will not allow you to do.

    While not a good camera from a handling perspective, maybe take a look at the BM Digital Cinema Camera 4K. It costs less than 3.000 €, and the 1080p Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera can be had for around 500 € nowadays, and it records in RAW and ProRes on SD cards.
  4. ChrisA, Jul 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    RAW gives you a great amount of latitude for color correction. I'm sure you must know how hard it is to get that correct in UW work. Heck, can you even define "correct".

    For those who don't shoot under water the technical problem is that seawater absorbs red light. The white sunlight is no longer white depending on depth. The red channel is nearly dead at 60 feet of depth. You need either some filters to block the other two channels (and the filter depends on the depth) or you need to bring your own lighting with you. Underwater lights and the batteries to operate them add bulk, cost and complexity. Worse is that light illuminate little specs of "whatever" floating in the water. Sunlight is best but is is gone as you go deeper. RAW can help with this because you get more bit depth and can scale the red back up.

    All 4K does is offer more resolution. Many times you can't even make use of 1080 resolution if the water is not very clear. Here in California there is no point of even using 1080 if the subject is more then 5 or 6 feet away. Then how would to view your 4K footage? You'd need a 4K screen.

    RAW would be ideal for UW work, 4K is not as useful.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Handing hardly maters because the camera would have to go inside a waterproof housing. And then you'd be wearing 4mm think gloves. Under those conditions ALL cameras handle poorly. That is just the nature of UW videography. In any case the housing completely changes the handling of any camera. Housings also double the cost at least. A housing for this camera runs about US$3,600

    At this level you are realistically into about $12K in equipment when you total it all up, pelican cases and all.

    A MUCH cheaper system uses a $250 consumer camcorder inside a housing that lacks controls. You turn the camera on an start recording then seal it up in the housing and let it run until the battery is dead. Normally the battery in one of these lasts longer then a typical tank full of air. Sert the camera soon to "wide" before you seal the access door. UW photo is always done with ultra wide lenses so at to minimize the amount of water you shoot through. Use an orange gell inside the window sexted based on your planned depth.

    You would be surprised how well the above cheap system works. Of course you need massive amounts of footage and editing.

    Point is that this need not be expensive but is can be very expensive. Diving is like that. It costs me zero to dive off my local beach (OK $3 air fill plus parking change) but costs $$$ to fly to Hawaii for a week. Can be nearly free or way-expensive.
  6. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Sorry, forgot it was about underwater treatments. Or something. It is too hot here. Probably around 300 degrees in the scale no one uses.
  7. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

    Mar 1, 2010
    While I agree its better in RAW, there is still some benefits to shooting in 4K besides resolution. I believe shooting in 4K and down sampling to 1080p will give you more detail. Not sure if its much worth it or not for the trouble of doing so.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If it does give you more detail it is only because you are comparing an expensive 4K camera with a good lens to a crappy $175 1080i camcorder.

    Or maybe you are comparing compression. The uncompressed 4K going to 1080p ProRes vs. 17Mbit/s H.264 going to 1080p ProRes.

    The higher resolution does allow for some cropping so you have some more options in post, if the distribution will be 1080.

    But the OP was shooting under water if I remember. In that case the answer is easy. RAW is very much worth it if you can afford it.
  9. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

    Mar 1, 2010
    Its all relative...I regularly shoot 1080p on a $3000.00 camcorder and you can shoot 4K on a Samsung smart phone. I'm talking about similarly based hardware or even on the same recorder. Some places can't take 4K yet so you can still shoot 4K then downgrade to 1080p.
  10. rodedwards macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2010
    Magic Lantern Free Raw Video !!!

    Try Magic Lantern raw video ... it's still under development but I use the nightly builds (firmware under developement) for two years without any problems on Canon 5D2.

    Personally, i don't want 4K. I only just got HD tv. Most people wont need 4k for at least 5 years or more.
  11. Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    raw video can definitely be more useful, if you know how to handle it. keep in mind, that raw video will need lots of space, so you'd need a ssd/external recorder, if you want to record longer videos. (and lots and lots or hard disk space for storage).

    most cheap raw cameras don't offer much in terms of handling. while it's pretty great to get a black magic pocket cinema cam for $475, you'll probably need an external battery, ssd-recorder, ssd, some nice 16mm glass or a speedboster adapter to get a wider FOV with dslr-lenses, an external audio recorder, if you want audio, and a rig to put it all together. that's at least another $2000. i don't know, if there's even an underwater housing, that would be usable with that. also, no zoom & manual focus.
  12. ppenn macrumors regular


    Oct 22, 2013
    I haven't read through the replies but what you're asking seems to be a "this or that" question which doesn't make any sense. 4k is a resolution and RAW would be more perceived as codec. You can shoot Raw that isn't 4k, you can shoot 4k that isn't, you can shoot Raw in 4k. They are two totally separate pieces of information.

    To ask, "should I use raw or 4k?" is like asking if you should use paint or a triangle.

    I'm not trying to be rude, but does this make sense?
  13. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    Yes, you should obviously use a triangle.
  14. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Exactly! Went through nearly the whole thread without any pointing this out! You can shoot raw at 1080p, 2k, 4k, 6k, and the list goes on!

    Also, in my mind raw definitely doesn't need capitalisation.

    The question you always need to ask when buying new equipment is "what is my current setup lacking?" and "how can I improve what I already have?"
  15. dvthuong2007 macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2014
    4k is a resolution and RAW would be more perceived as codec
  16. ppc_michael Guest


    Apr 26, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't think it's necessary to edit in 4K. Offlining for edit, then reconforming/onlining in something like Smoke or Davinci Resolve is how I've been doing it.
  17. MacSawdust macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2002
    Thanks for the advice!

    I'm not a pro, so I didn't mean to start the "triangle" debate. It was that I was looking to up my hardware game (we can debate my color grading and composition skills another time). Simplistically, the forum seems to be telling me 4K would give me "more pixels", but RAW would give me "better pixels". Unami had great advice, and I was thinking of the BM Pocket Cinema cam with a Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5 G with auto focus. This kit should fit in a reasonable underwater housing and crush the video I currently get with my consumer cam.

    Thanks again.
  18. Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    i've read that the autofocus of the bmpcc is pretty bad.

    i don't know anything about underwater shooting but i still have my doubts that this is really the right tool for the job. on the other hand: for 475$ it's a pretty nice toy to have anyways.

    check out phillip blooms amazing review of the cam to see what it can and can't do:


    (p.s.: in the meanwhile it got a new firmware update and can now record in less storage-heavy codecs like prores LT as well)
  19. recd macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2007
    Maybe also post to one of the underwater forums such as wetpixel?

    I'll interpret your question as "should I buy an underwater video rig that will give the option to shoot in RAW at 4K resolution, or a 4K rig that uses a codec such as MP4, Mov, prores.

    A Red in a Gates housing seems to be the choice for the Pro cinematographers.
    It will shoot at 4,5K in RAW. It will end up costing more than you will ever want to spend. The file sizes are huge. You need to include the costs of storage media. How much would you need on a liveaboard trip?

    Nauticam has produced housings for the Black Magic Production Camera. It will shoot in RAW at 4K. Reports I have read indicate battery life and camera interface are not ideal for underwater use. Records to SSDs

    The Panasonic GH4 in a Nauticam housing will shoot at 4K at 100Mbps. Would cost $10,000-12,000 all up. Records to fast SD cards.

    Personally, if you are not making money from your video, I'd look at the Panasonic, or wait and see how the the Sony A7s performs. However for the Sony you would need to include the cost an housed Atmos Shogun to record at 4K

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