Is XF-AVC Higher than RAW? This Deep Dive Video Busts Widespread Myths

Is XF-AVC Better than RAW? This Deep Dive Video Busts Common Myths

Taking pictures in RAW format is the go-to methodology if you would like superior picture high quality, flexibility in post-production, and peace of thoughts that you just’re getting nothing however the perfect out of your digicam, proper? Effectively, not so quick. Björn Kurtenbach took a complete take a look at the variations between processed XF-AVC and RAW codecs along with his Canon EOS C300 Mark III.

Being a filmmaker and cinematographer for a few years, Björn Kurtenbach has gained some expertise with completely different capturing codecs over time. And now that RAW codecs appear to have lastly develop into mainstream in lots of sub-$10-15k cameras (Nikon Z 9 for instance – article right here), the query arises whether or not it actually is smart to shoot all the things in RAW.

All the things seems the identical (till we begin pixel-peeping). Picture credit score: Björn Kurtenbach


The Canon EOS C300 Mark III provides one thing known as Cinema RAW Gentle as an inside recording possibility. This format is considerably manageable when it comes to file sizes, as its bitrate is just a tad larger than the XF-AVC All-I (Intra-Body) codec. Since big file sizes are probably the most generally cited issues in RAW workflows, Björn thought this may be an excellent method to check the precise picture high quality of the RAW-Gentle format in comparison with AF-AVC codecs in each intra-frame and inter-frame compression.

It seems that filming in RAW format only for the sake of it doesn’t make a lot sense. The picture high quality is just not higher per se. It does maintain the potential to ship higher picture high quality, however not in all capturing conditions. RAW is definitely not the holy grail right here.

On the flip facet, there are lots of circumstances the place the interior (compressed) XF-AVC footage seems nice, even higher than the developed RAW footage. And that’s one other caveat: you may’t simply throw a bunch of RAW clips in your timeline and begin working, you must develop them first. You may definitely try this, sorry, my dangerous. Nevertheless, in lots of circumstances it’s simpler to cope with processed footage than with a bunch of RAW parameters and settings. And, relying in your state of affairs, the delta in picture high quality is just not at all times price it.

One technical element to notice although: XF-AVC is proscribed to 4K DCI (4.096 x 2.160) or 4K UHD (3.840 x 2.160) in 10-bit 4:2:2 in All-I compression whereas HD (1.920 x 1.080) provides upt to 12-bit 4:4:4 in All-I mode – for the EOS C 300 Mark II that’s, the Mark III caps HD at 10-bit 4:2:2, too. Decrease resolutions and Lengthy-GOP (Group of Pictures / inter-frame) compression can be attainable. So for resolution-aficionados, RAW codecs have extra to supply (relying on the sensor).

Bitrate chart
picture credit score: Björn Kurtenbach

Maybe crucial level right here is that this: Fashionable cameras are wonderful units, they’re extremely specialised computer systems with a picture sensor hooked up. They usually supply many intelligent instruments to course of the incoming sensor info in a method that gives the person with nice footage to work with on the fly. Log codecs give the pliability wanted, noise discount algorithms clear up the footage earlier than it’s written to the playing cards, digital picture stabilization reduces digicam shake, and different digital tips enormously scale back chromatic aberration and different nasties.

With RAW, none of that’s the case. Positive, you may have full management over the event and fine-tuning of the footage you shoot, however: you really need to do it. And the outcomes, because the video above exhibits, will not be at all times well worth the trouble, at the least in my e-book.

picture credit score: Björn Kurtenbach

I gained’t checklist all of the examined facets and outcomes of the video right here, as this matter is extra about seeing the outcomes than studying about them, as an alternative, I’ll go away it to you to attract your individual conclusions. For me personally, a well-compressed format like XF-AVC All-I utilizing a log-gamma curve is all I want for many jobs. RAW might sound fancy, however with all the effort concerned, I feel it’s solely price it if you actually need it for a really particular utility.

Hyperlink: kurtenbachfilm.de

What do you assume? Do you shoot RAW or do you like a stable LOG format utilizing a compressed codec? Share your experiences within the feedback beneath!

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