Do we really need RAW video? – ON THE COUCH Ep. 23 part 1 of 4 – Dan Chung, Clinton Harn, Emmanuel Pampuri

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In the 23rd episode of ON THE COUCH, I was lucky enough to sit with fellow bloggers and shooters Dan Chung, Clinton Harn from and Emmanuel Pampuri from

Do we really need raw video?

I started off by stating an observation: These days it’s almost as if smaller cameras (like Blackmagic cameras) mean more and higher data rates, often raw – while more advanced camera systems feature more advanced codecs (e.g. XAVC I in the FS7/F5/F55).

Dan pointed out that Panasonic is the manufacturer who addressed file size more than any other, because they come more from a broadcast perspective. People start to realize that RAW is not the holy grail for much work, and actually it slows you down – so now the future really is in efficient codecs, the right codec for the right job.

Emmanuel mentioned that people need to think about the workflow – the camera is just the first step of a longer workflow and people often neglect to look at the whole pipeline when thinking about what camera to shoot on.

Clinton talked about how he shot his first feature film recently, and they decided to shoot RED. He found working with it quite easy and loved the fact that you have different compression ratios of raw, which you can choose depending on how much post production goes into each particular scene or shot.

Dan said how it’s not practical for him as a news shooter in any circumstance to shoot raw – he shoots compressed formats like XAVC, MXF and so on … only in very difficult situations where for example he knows he has the time and budget to work on a shot with a blown out window, it makes sense for him to shoot raw to get those highlights back, for example.



Backup workflows on set

Regarding backup workflow we talked about how everyone processes the massive amounts of news footage he is gathering and backing up. Much like me, Dan makes back-ups on set using small 2.5” drives, and makes three copies. One of those copies should be kept away from the other two for safety purposes. Emmanuel takes the G-Dock with the G-Drives ev for the shoots on the day, the third one is a larger drive at the hotel which is backed up to after the shooting. One of the G-Drives ev goes back to the studio via mail every day in the evening.

I mentioned how dual slot recording for instant backup takes a little bit of pressure away from backing up on set, because you end up with an instant copy of the whole card on another card. However not all cameras support this yet, the C300 and the FS7 do though.

Clinton mentioned how it makes a lot of sense to use only smaller cards in cameras – just in case something happens, you simply lose less footage. Common sense that should be applied by anyone – however it gets harder with cameras like the Sony A7s which takes 64GB SDXC cards (that take around 2.5 hours of footage) as a minimum size.

Dan summed the topic of storage up concisely by saying, “have a storage plan and stick to it – because when you don’t and when you vary the plan, that’s when things get lost or missing.”

In the next part of this episode we talk about permanent backup strategies for data – how can your data survive over decades? Check back in a few days for part 2 of this episode of ON THE COUCH.








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Christopher April 6, 2015

Great as usual. was wondering whats Mic’s you are using for during this interview ?

Nino Leitner Reply
Nino Leitner April 7, 2015

We are using Rode HS1 microphones. They are great – however there were some problems on the backend with the sound mixer on this particular show, so there unfortunately there is some hiss in the background. Sorry for that.

Christopher Hicken April 7, 2015

Thanks for getting back to me Nino, as I know its off topic, but I have a regular corporate gig where I feel this is the way to go over Lav’s.

Kevin Alexander Reply
Kevin Alexander April 6, 2015

Great stuff. I especially appreciated the discussion about RAW. I’ve got my first narrative short film shoot coming up soon, and I’ve been trying to make up my mind about RAW vs ProRes. I’ll be shooting mostly on BMCC. The discussion gave me a lot to consider. I’m probably going to follow Dan’s advice and save RAW for a few shots where I think I might really need it.

Peter Kent April 25, 2015

I’ve been using the BmPCCs exclusively for about a year now to cover events, I found that to be the best solution for me as well but the only issue is that the camera wants the card formatted for Raw OR ProRes. So I actually have to carry an extra card (or two) dedicated for Raw for each camera. This will probably be the same for the Drives in a BmCC. My setup is usually two 128GB cards for ProRes and two 64GB cards for Raw but that’s because some clips extend over 30mins.

Sten Rosendahl April 6, 2015

Even smaller cameras like PXW-X70 support dual slot recording.

Jonathan April 6, 2015

This seems a big video commercial for G-technology; 4 people paid by G-Tech on a couch… It wouldn’t hurt me if it was on the G-Tech site but here… ! Feeling very strange ! May be it is how the world is working now ?

Nino Leitner Reply
Nino Leitner April 7, 2015

Hey Jonathan, I’m sorry if it came across as that – actually yes, G-Technology is a big sponsor of this show and most of our episodes wouldn’t exist if they hadn’t generously supported us. We’re not making a secret out of this, their logo is on top of this post and at the beginning and end of every episode. Having said that, their HGST drives work more reliably than the competition as frequently pointed out by objective testers like Backblaze or Tom’s Hardware – which is why I am actually using their drives and supporting them!