Atomos and Z CAM Release 5.8K ProRes RAW Recording
New firmware enables ProRes RAW recording to Atomos Ninja V
Posted on July 1, 2020
Atomos has release a firmware update for the Ninja V monitor/recorder that enables up to 5.8K ProRes RAW recording from Z CAM cameras. Z CAM joins other camera manufactures such as Nikon, Panasonic, and Sigma in outputting a ProRes RAW signal that can be recorded externally to an Atomos device. In addition, camera features can be controlled through the touchscreen interface of the Ninja V with a special LANC serial to USB cable. This Atomos firmware release was expected in June, so it's late by just one day.
The Ninja V can now view and control features of the Z CAM cameras such as record start/stop, iris, shutter speed, ISO and eND. This camera control requires the very expensive and currently out-of-stock Atomos serial to USB cable. You also have to buy a USB-A to USB-C adapter to connect it to the Z CAM since the camera has a USB-C connector. Atomos has announced an updated serial to USB-C cable, but it won't be available until some time this summer.
About ProRes RAW
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Apple ProRes is a true raw format that uses data compression to significantly reduce the file sizes. The result is high quality video with 12-bit color, but with data rates below that of lossy ProRes 422 HQ. It has many inherent benefits over internal codecs such as H.265 and ProRes.
By recording sensor data and not performing debayering or other in-camera processing, it preserves more shadow detail and color information. Internal codecs have a color profile, noise reduction, and other processing applied in-camera. Color profiles reduce the luminance and chrominance in order to preserve them so they can be safely stored in the compressed video format. While the ZLog-2 color profile is easy to grade and generally produces excellent results, the log curves is not optimal and can compromise details. ProRes RAW avoids these issues entirely.
With support from most of the other major editing software developers, it seems odd for Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve to not support it. I have personally contacted Blackmagic Design and requested ProRes RAW support in DaVinci Resolve. They responded and said they have received many requests like mine and have passed them on to their engineers. I take it to mean they are working on it.
Send Blackmagic your ProRes RAW request here (scroll down to "Email Us")