The (still experimental) free open source camera app Motion Cam enables RAW video recording in the form of 10Bit Adobe CinemaDNG for the first time on Android. The full 4:3 sensor image is recorded, but it can be cropped to any resolution. Likewise, the frame rate can be selected manually, the choices are 30, 25, 24, 12, 5 and 1 fps. However, the prerequisite for working with Motion Cam as flawlessly as possible is a current high-end Android smartphone that fully supports the Camera2 API.
Here is the first RAW video:
CinemaDNG RAW video with high-end smartphones
. The key advantage of (CinemaDNG or similar) RAW video is that it shifts decisions to post-production and eliminates potential sources of camera error during shooting from the start. If you want to know even more about why it can be worth recording in RAW, you can read our basic article on the benefits of working with RAW video.
Depending on the hardware (camera and Soc/image processor) of the used smartphone as well as the chosen crop resolution and frame rate, dropped frames can occur in the videos (or more precisely image sequences, since all frames are saved as single images in CinemaDNG) due to a too high data rate, then you have to adjust the settings of both sizes to reduce the data throughput until this is no longer the case. The performance can also be improved by increasing the RAM cache for recording. If you want, you can even record 16Bit CinemaDNG videos, if your hardware allows it.
For example, the OnePlus, which is about 1 year old, can easily record CinemaDNG 10bit RAW-Pro videos with a resolution of 4,000 x 3,000 pixels at 24 fps. The resolution overhead when mastering in 4K UltraHD can be used for post production stabilization or virtual camera movements. And of course CinemaDNG needs plenty of storage space, 10 seconds of video is easily 500 MB to over 1 GB depending on the resolution - but an external USB-C connected SSD or a fast and large SDXC card can help.
The following video also shows some RAW recordings and explains how to use the Motion Cam (where are the recordings stored?):
CinemaDNG RAW video recording and post processing
For recording, automatic exposure, white balance as well as focus can be locked and shutter and ISO can be set manually. In addition, it is possible to choose between all available cameras of the respective smartphone, such as front camera or rear wide-angle, normal and telephoto cameras, and to activate or deactivate the internal optical image stabilization. However, the fact that the screen does not show which part of the image is used in sensor cropping and which is not can be a problem when shooting.
In post-production, for example in DaVinci Resolve or Adobe Premiere, the full possibilities of the RAW format then open up. All CinemaDNG RAW parameters such as tone mapping, color space, gamma, white balance, highlight recovery, etc. can be changed afterwards. Motion Cam reduces image noise using a special algorithm by combining multiple images.
. Motion Cam can be downloaded via Google Play or directly from GitHub as APK of the latest version (currently 7.0.3). It is still in an early experimental stage (no audio is recorded yet!) and still has some bugs, like the problem that with multiple internal cameras available you can&t always select which one to use as input - but the nice thing about an open source app is the possibility to improve the program code together and add new features - here the source code can be found on GitHub. (Thanks to cantsin) more infos at bei play.google.com