What Is BRAW File Format and How To Open It on Windows/Mac

Blackmagic Design has been in the cinematography game for the past two decades but made waves in 2018 when it announced the BRAW file format, its “next generation codec.”

Today, many professional cinematographers and YouTubers use Blackmagic cameras and work with BRAW files. However, since the BRAW file format is proprietary, it’s not the easiest nor the best to work with, and you might need a specialized BRAW player.

What Is a RAW File?

raw file format

RAW files represent a file format with natural-looking images close to what we see with our eyes. They’re high-quality files with lossless compression, meaning all the details stay inside the file without any loss, hence the name. The point of a RAW file is to create as lifelike an image as possible without changing anything after you make the image.

BRAW Definition: What Is the BRAW File Format?

If you’re wondering, “What is a BRAW file?” and “How does it differ from the standard RAW files?” we’re here to shed some light on the term.

braw file format

BRAW stands for Blackmagic RAW, meaning it’s Blackmagic’s take on RAW files. The company’s engineers have spent years improving standard RAW files, and BRAW files are their solution.

These aren’t actual RAW files, but they’re better in a few ways. Namely, they offer the same high-quality as RAW files but with better performance and smaller file size. They also have the same bit depth and dynamic range as RAW files.

How Is BRAW File Format Different From Other RAW Codecs?

As a few companies have made their take on RAW files, professional cinematographers can now choose from many RAW codecs, such as Apple ProRes RAW, RED RAW, Arri RAW, and Sony RAW. Although these codecs try to stay true to the RAW format, they handle certain things differently.

For example, unlike Apple’s ProRes RAW files, BRAW files give you complete control over metadata in post-production, meaning you can change aspects like ISO, tint, and color temperature when you edit videos. That’s not something you can do with Apple ProRes RAW files.

Compared to RED RAW files, which use the FAT32 file system and create multiple 4 GB files, the BRAW file format creates one file for one video, making them easier to handle in video-editing software. Because of that, they’re also easier to recover, but we’ll get back to that later.

Advantages of BRAW Files

Since they’re some of the newer types of RAW files, and since Blackmagic’s engineers have fixed everything wrong with the previous codec they’ve been using, BRAW files have many advantages:

  • Speed – Blackmagic RAW creates a single file for a single video, and these files can take full advantage of your CPU and GPU, making playback quicker and more efficient.
  • Smaller size – BRAW files are not actual RAW files; they are smaller than RAW files while offering the same quality.
  • Cross-platform compatibility – These files are freely available to anyone, and any application can add support for BRAW files, as there’s an SDK available.
  • Two encoding methods – With the BRAW codec, you can choose between Constant Quality, which has the best quality video but takes up more space, and Constant Bitrate, which creates files of similar sizes.
  • Lossless compression – The BRAW file format compresses the images you make with a Blackmagic camera but keeps all the details, which makes for stunning, lifelike images.

Disadvantages of BRAW Files

No matter how lossless the compression on BRAW files is, these files aren’t the same as RAW files. Unlike RAW files, which make genuinely raw images and don’t apply filters and algorithms to files, BRAW files have a particular drawback because of what’s happening inside the camera.

Namely, a demosaic algorithm applies directly inside Blackmagic cameras, meaning once you shoot videos with these cameras, you can never control certain aspects of the videos. These aspects include noise, detail, and sensor handling, and the algorithm also applies edge reconstruction.

If you’ve been using RAW files, you could give old videos a breath of life when camera equipment improves, and that’s something you can’t do with BRAW files.

Top Blackmagic RAW Players to Open BRAW Files

blackmagic davinci resolve

Since Blackmagic’s SDK is freely available, a few applications can open and work with BRAW files. Still, the primary way to play BRAW files is with the Blackmagic RAW player, specifically designed for that. There’s the Blackmagic RAW player for Windows and the Blackmagic RAW player for Mac. You can download these Blackmagic RAW player versions from Blackmagic’s website.

As for editing BRAW files, there’s the Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve. You can find a guide on the Blackmagic website if you’re wondering how to import BRAW files into DaVinci Resolve.

Moreover, if you thought that Adobe Premiere Pro doesn’t support the BRAW file format, you’d be wrong since it can also handle BRAW files with the Blackmagic RAW plugin.

braw codec in premiere pro

However, using other applications to work with BRAW files can lead to file corruption. Fortunately, there’s a way to recover corrupted, lost, or deleted BRAW files. Read ahead to learn more about that since it’s always helpful to be ready if a disaster strikes. Optionally, you can convert BRAW to MP4 or other formats to open it.

How To Recover Deleted or Lost BRAW Files

Since many videographers and YouTubers work with BRAW files, they’re constantly editing videos, opening new files, and deleting old ones. However, what happens if you lose a BRAW you didn’t mean to delete?

That’s where Wondershare Recoverit comes in and where its incredible feature, Video Recovery, can shine. It uses a powerful and sophisticated algorithm to quickly and efficiently find and recover a complete video file, which works excellently for BRAW files.

wondershare recoverit

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Recover your RAW footage from any storage, including professional cameras, memory cards, computers, external drives, NAS storage, or USB flash drives.

Work with RAW file format and all popular video formats, such as AVI, MOV, MKV, MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, etc.

Recover Full HD, Ultra HD, 4K, and 8K videos without corruption.

Preview the files before recovery. No payment is required if the files are unrecoverable.

You can follow these steps to get your missing BRAW video files back:

  • Step 1: Open Wondershare Recoverit after downloading and installing it on your PC. Then, select Hard Drives and Locations and choose the drive from which you wish to recover data.
hard drive recovery
  • Step 2: Once you click the Scan button, Recoverit initiates both Quick Scan and Deep Scan simultaneously, with the progress visible at the bottom of the window, as illustrated below.
start data scanning
  • Step 3: During the scanning process, you can click the File Type option from the top panel, and select .BRAW format to quickly find the videos you want to recover.
select file type
  • Step 4: Select the BRAW files you wish to recover and click Recover to save them to a safe location.
recover braw files

That’s all you need to do to recover your lost or deleted BRAW files successfully.

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BRAW files, which are Blackmagic’s take on RAW files, have been prevalent among videographers and YouTubers since 2018 when the company first announced the BRAW file format.

These files have a few advantages over other RAW codecs but require a specialized BRAW video player, and only a handful of post-production applications support them. That makes it possible to load these files into an unsupported app and accidentally corrupt them.

Since corrupted or lost files are a massive issue in the world of videography, we’ve also covered Wondershare Recoverit’s Enhanced Recovery, which can help you quickly and efficiently recover any lost files.