How I Got Better (and Faster) at Color Grading Blackmagic Raw in Premiere Pro

David Besnette

David Besnette

I try to justify each new equipment purchase with having a solid reason behind it.    When I purchased my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6k  (BMPCC6K), the reason was simple to me.   I (had researched) that I would have more control of highlights, colors, shadows, and the overall look of my footage.

This is important to me being a Real Estate Photographer / Videographer.    I need the windows in my videos to be less blown out, and I was tired of having to deal with strong color casts from artificial lighting.

I knew that learning to color correct, and grade RAW footage was a somewhat heavy lift.   I have to admit, I got very frustrated very fast in the beginning, and had to revert back to my Canon 1dx Mark II while I learned how to do it adequately.

Once I started getting the hang of it, my excitement came back as I saw the endless possibilities with shooting in Blackmagic Raw (or BRAW).

All of the steps below are explained in detail in our video tutorial on How To Get Better at Grading Blackmagic Raw in Premiere Pro.


Step 1

Bypass completely (at first) the Lumetri Color Panel and start with the Blackmagic Raw plugin for Adobe Premiere Pro.

BRAW Plugin

Once you have it installed, you can make some initial settings and adjustments.  I usually don’t do a whole lot in here, other than some color correcting, adding a little contrast, and selecting “Film” or Film Gen5 in the Color Science Drop-Down.   I go over this in detail in the video tutorial.

BRAW Plugin

Step 2

Filmconvert is a FABULOUS plugin for Premiere Pro.   This plugin is almost everything I need to finish color grading my BRAW footage in Premiere Pro.   This plugin will work with almost ANY modern video camera, and has profiles for most of them that makes camera-specific adjustments when you start.  Filmconvert gives your footage a more “filmic” look by adding grain that you can mimic from companies like Kodak and Fuji.   I go over how I use this software in detail in the video above.


Step 3

Make any final tweaks and adjustments you need in the Lumetri Color Panel.  I will sometimes add a little more contrast, adjust curves a little, or color temperature.


Step 4

This is maybe a “Step 3a” but it is an important, powerful tool you can use to add just a little more pop to your footage.   HSL Secondary in the Lumetri panels allows you to isolate a part of the image/film, and isolate and change a color within the image.    Making skies bluer, or changing the color of a shirt, or making flowers pop more are all great uses of HSL Secondary.

HSL Secondary

Step 5

Export your footage by applying Adobe’s QT Gamma Compensation LUT.  Why?   As you may have noticed, when you export your footage out of Premiere Pro, it often doesn’t look like what you spent so much time creating with your color correction and grading.  It’s often less saturated, less contrasty, and much more flat.    Adobe has recognized this and provides a LUT that you apply in the export area under the effects tab.   Just save the LUT on your computer somewhere you can easily find it and apply it each time you export a new video.

Export Lut

Again, all of this is explained in detail in our video tutorial.   If you follow these steps, you’ll become better and faster at grading your Blackmagic Raw footage quickly.


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