Do I Really Need To Shoot Raw?

By Kevin Graham

These days, most video and cinema cameras can record raw files.

A raw image file is basically a digital negative – minimally-processed sensor data without a baked-in white balance and with a higher dynamic range.

These files are large and contain much more color information than a compressed codec such as h.264.

raw files

But do you really need to shoot raw?

This may be an unpopular opinion, but for the average filmmaker with the average deadlines, a raw workflow is honestly going to be more trouble than it’s worth.

Raw files require much more storage, the use of proxies (unless you have a supercomputer), and a more robust color correction process.

video editing

Of course, for certain applications such as large format releases or VFX-heavy content, the post-production versatility raw is a necessity.

raw footage

But if you’re able to record a high quality compressed file such as ProRes 422, and if you can get your white balance and general exposure settings dialed on set, you can get your projects done much quicker by avoiding raw files.


Kevin is the Music Director and Lead Composer at Filmpac.

FILMPAC Filmpac is a premium stock footage + music membership library.