Should you shoot RAW or compressed footage. That question lingering all over social media platforms. Many people asking this question. Find out which one you should shoot.

Shooting RAW vs Compressed

There are many modern cameras are out there and with such a large amount of cameras, there is a vast amount of different settings you could dial. One of the most frequent questions in terms of “how to shoot” comes a format. Many higher end cameras offer RAW or Compress options. For example, a camera like Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro can shoot RAW DNG sequence with the separate audio file, or it can shoot Prores format. Choosing what’s right for you depends on your budget and time. Generally speaking, shooting raw is more expensive than shooting compressed format like Prores. I personally have my own golden rule. For documentaries and narratives, I always shoot Prores, because in many cases, the workflow is usually fast and it doesn’t require high-end Post work to be done later. Quick and Dirty, how I call it. In most cases, higher-end cameras will record compressed format in 4:2:2, which technically is enough, even for high budget theatrical release and a good amount of color work in post. RAW, on the other hand, is “uncooked” and technically you get 4:4:4 chroma subsampling. That is way better than 4:2:2 and gives much more flexibility for high-end post-production, like CGI, Tracking and other crazy effects you may drop on it.

So which one should you shoot? It depends on circumstances. Always keep in mind actual cost. 4k is the king now, so shooting 4k RAW can get pricey very quickly, plus on top of actual storage, ideally, you should have a backup drive, and even better if you have a backup of the backup. With such a crazy information, terabytes will start adding up. You always have to think about future and cost, no matter what are you shooting. Some project may require long turn around, such as documentaries. Can you afford to keep terabytes of data on your computer? if money is not an issue, shooting RAW is the obvious answer for you, and in many cases will give you slightly higher dynamic range as well for your footage.

Shoot them RAW, Compress them later

If money is not an issue, always shoot at the highest possible quality, have a highest possible master copy. Then you can do whatever you want, once the project is complete. In some cases, compressed material like 4k Prores, will be an almost identical size to RAW at 4k, it that case, you should always shoot raw, as it gives more flexibility in post.






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