Adobe Dumps CinemaDNG, Casting A Shadow on Blackmagic Cinema Camera Support

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

UPDATE:  Terry Frechette over at Blackmagic is happy to report that Adobe’s discontinuing off the CinemaDNG plug actually doesn’t affect the Blackmagic Cinema.  “There are 30 other companies working on CinemaDNG,” says Frechette, “so the news from Adobe doesn’t impact the Blackmagic camera at all.” Good news indeed.


Adobe has announced it is dropping support for CinemaDNG in Premiere Pro.  The move, which Adobe says is based on being unhappy with the performance of the experimental Premiere Pro plugin, is certain to catch the attention of Blackmagic executives, who are suffering yet another black eye on their troubled Cinema Camera which uses CinemaDNG has a central format. But all is not lost, confusing, but not lost.

The Cinema DNG Initiative has been discontinued and is no longer hosted on Adobe Labs. The answer is simply that we have not been satisfied with the performance that we have been able to achieve with CinemaDNG files in Premiere Pro, in which real-time playback is crucial. – Adobe Blog

Additionally, Adobe says that while they’ve pulled the plugin from their labs section, it remains an open source project and that development can continue on it’s own from third parties looking to take the format into a more mature state.  ” What this is intending to communicate is simply that the experimental plug-in for CinemaDNG for Premiere Pro CS5.5 was removed from the Adobe Labs website,” assures Adobe. “The CinemaDNG format continues to be an open format, and its development is not limited to Adobe.”

Adobe also says that while support for CinemaDNG is going to be removed from Premiere Pro, it can still be used in both After Effects and Photoshop since both applications have RAW image support natively.  Adobe has also issued a bug fix which makes CinemaDNG work better in SpeedGrade.

Now before you call up Blackmagic and cancel your long overdue Cinema Camera order, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud.  Adobe is open to continuing support for CinemaDNG if they get enough feedback from users who are relying on it.  “If it’s important to you that we add native import of CinemaDNG footage into Premiere Pro,” says the blog post, “please let us know with a feature request so that we can get a sense of whether this is an area where we need to put more effort.”

In a way, this could be good news for Blackmagic.  Since the company has released DaVinci Resolve to go along with their camera, they can now tweak their own custom version of the plugin now that Adobe has walked away and left it to the open source community to advance it.  Blackmagic can provide it’s own flavor of the plugin which could take full advantage of features in DaVinci and give it even better performance as a result.  So, again, all is not lost.

In the meantime, since After Effects will continue to natively support CinemaDNG, Adobe suggests importing your footage into AE, and then transcoding it into a format more supportable by Premiere Pro.

It’ll be interesting to see how Blackmagic responds to the news.  Meanwhile, you can read more about the reasons for Adobe’s decision below.  So what do you think?   Is Adobe’s dropping support for CinemaDNG an issue for BMCC?  Or will it free it up to making it’s own custom plug in and make CinemaDNG even better?

Hat Tip – NFS

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