Editing with .CinemaDNG Files Natively in Adobe Premiere CC

For people who are interested in having a round-trip workflow where they’re staying in a raw the entire post process, Adobe Premiere Creative Cloud is the best option for you.

Note: Previous version of Premiere (like CS6) will not work with native .CinemaDNG image sequences, so if you are using a previous version of Premiere you will need to transcode dailies to an accepted file format like ProRes using LightPost. (To see a list a Adobe products compatible with .CinemaDNG, click here.)

Getting Started

The good news: Starting with Creative Cloud edition, Premiere Pro now allows you to edit with native CinemaDNG sequences. The bad news: the importing workflow and footage preview still leaves something to be desired. The below represents the best practices we’ve found to complete your edit in Premiere Pro CC.

  1. Open Premiere and create a new project. Make sure to set your scratch disks to your editing drive.
  2. Press +I to start importing your footage.
  3. Navigate to the date folder where all of your DNG files are stored. (If you have multiple dates, you will want to search within the DCIM folder.)
  4. In the Search Bar at the top of the dialog, search for “000001.dng”—this will find the first frame from each shot of your footage, and it’s importing the first frame which helps Premiere recognize that you are trying to load an image sequence. Using the search bar to find the first frames is the preferable and recommended way right now to important CinemaDNG footage into Premiere. (Want to know why? Check out the next section.)
  5. If you have recorded audio files, press +I and perform the a similar process to import or audio files.
  6. In the Search Bar, search .”AIFF” to find all of the recorded audio files that accompany your clips.
  7. Once you have imported all of your clips and you have arrange them in bins as you prefer, you can just start dragging clips onto the timeline and edit as you would with any other format.

Why do I need to use search to import my clips? Why can’t I just select all the folders instead?

It completely makes sense that you should be able to import a folder that contains a CinemaDNG image sequence into Premiere Pro, but that doesn’t mean you can (yet!).

Premiere Pro recognizes image sequences only when you select an image file to import. If you try to import a folder, even if that folder contains an image sequence, Premiere Pro does not recognize the image sequence and instead attempts to add each individual image file into your project—creating a huge headache.

There is an alternative method to using search, but it is time consuming and therefore not recommended. After pressing +I, navigate to an individual shot folder and select the first frame in that shot. Click “Select”, and that shot will be imported into your project as a sequence. You will need to then repeat this action for each shot folder.

Adjusting Preview Playback

Playing back CinemaDNG sequences is resource intensive, so depending on the video card of your computer, playback may or may not be slightly choppy. If your computer is not the most robust, we recommend changing the playback resolution of your timeline preview.

On the right hand side of the video screen tab, beneath the monitor, there is a drop-down menu that allows you to select the quality at which the preview is playing. The default is FULL, but you can also select 1/2, 1/4, or 1/8. We recommend playing with those settings to determine which resolution is appropriate for the speed of your computer’s video card.

Once you have finished editing, there are a few different options for color grading available.