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There's a lot of excitement surrounding Lightroom and how Lightroom is this tool that we can use in order to raw process our photographs. There's also a lot of excitement about how we can capture raw images when we're using digital cameras. Yet sometimes all of this excitement can be a little bit confusing. It can be a little bit hard to different between the hype and also the legitimate excitement. And on top of that, when we're working in RAW, we have these different file formats. And so what I want to do here is take a couple of minutes just to deconstruct things.
And I want to do this for a couple of reasons. First off, so that we have a good working understanding of these issues. And second, so that we can start to understand what it means to work with digital negative files. Okay, well, let's step back for a second and let's start at the beginning. Really, if we go to the beginning, there's two different things we talk about when we're talking about raw. The first is, raw capture, that's images we capture with our cameras. We can set our cameras to capture images in a certain format. The other topic is RAW processing, now this has to do with software, whether we're using Adobe Camera RAW or we're using Lightroom.
So if we go to RAW Capture for a second, what happens is If we have our camera set to JPEG, well, it captures the image, and then it goes through this whole process, and then generates a JPEG. In other words, we've lost some of the data. On the other hand, if we shoot in RAW, we get the image just straight off the sensor. And because of this there, again is a lot of this excitement about RAW. And you may have heard the common saying that you should always be shooting the raw, that you shouldn't shoot in the buff because you might get arrested. Raw captures really great because again we just have all of this data to work with.
All of the information straight off the sensor without anything interpreting it, or messing it up, or modifying it. All right, well what then about raw processing? Well, raw processing is all about taking data, and then it's about applying some sort of set of instructions to that data. Now, it's interesting about these instructions is they're just little lines of text. They say I want this data be interpreted in this particular way. When it comes to Light Room, what happens is all of those instructions are put inside of the catalogue. And the catalogue has all of this information.
Now that information, or those instructions, they allow us to display the actual pixels in a different way, like this image here. And what's great about this is we can be flexible. We can change our mind. Display the image this way or display the image this way. Now, when we're working with raw processing, we can work with all different types of file formats. Whether raw files from the camera, DNG, PSD, TIFF, JPEG, movie files and on and on. So what's interesting about raw processing is it's non-destructive.
In other words we can always change these little instructions. This give us flexibility and speed. There's no need to save the file in the traditional sense, because again all of our work, all of our processing, well it's already just saved by default in these little instruction files. And ultimately this helps us to be more creative, because we can quickly Process out images in different ways. This added flexibility really helps us create more compelling photographs. All right, well let's jump back to a topic I just mentioned, which has to do with this file format issue.
As I mentioned, in Lightroom, we can raw process RAW files, PSD, JPG, TIFF, movie files, DNG files But a lot of the hype and a lot of the excitement is surrounding this whole concept of the DNG file. Now why is that and what is that? What is the DNG? Well the DNG file is something that Adobe came up with, it stands for digital negative, and there are some really clear cut benefits for using this file format. Let me walk you through those.
For starters, if you have a DNG file, by default, the DNG format has what's called lossless compression. In other words, it has a smaller file size without losing any information. And in a sense, what the DNG file format is, it's kind of like a container. You can see this box around this image here. It's almost like that box which then holds the image inside of it. And that box helps us create a little bit of a smaller file size. You can also now change this lossy compression. We'll talk a little more about that in one of the subsequent movies.
This allows us to create a smaller file size and lost information, but some argue that this is better than say, jpeg compression. So again, there's flexibility. Of course we'll need to. Deconstruct these two issues a little more, but for now just know by default, it's lossless. What that means is lots of great information, smaller file size, and for me, I'm all about that. The next thing to consider is this. We can now turn on this option which is called Fast Load. What Fast Load allows us to do in Lightroom is to view and work with these files up to eight times faster in the Develop module. Now this extra added bit of speed, again, is something that's really welcomed. Smaller file size, work more quickly.
It's kind of a no-brainer, right? The othe advantage is that there aren't Sidecar XMP files. Let me jump to another slide to explain this. If we're working with a DNG file, there isn't another file associated with it even if we're saving the metadata to that file. It's all inside of that container. On the other hand, if we have a RAW file like this one here, or a JPEG, or TIFF, or whatever it is, well, it's going to need to have some sort of a sidecar file. The sidecar file will be the set of instructions. These are two separate or distinct files, versus with DNG, well, there aren't any sidecar files at all. Then the last issue is of archival confidence.
A number of Lightroom users use the DNG format simply because of this. This format is open source, meaning anyone can access the information about it. And ideally, the hope is that this will have more archival relevance. In other words lets say you shoot with a particular camera, in a certain raw format and all of a sudden that camera company stops supporting that format or maybe goes out of business, or who knows what. Well then you could run into problems in the future. The DNG format on the other hand well it's supported by Adobe and it's Open source. So that information about the format.
Well it can never be lost. It's already out there and anyone can learn how to access that. So in other words, people use this DNG format in the hopes that this will be an archival type of format. So, again, in my own work flow, I've adopted this DNG format completely. Because of these different reasons. File size, speed. No other need for side car files. And also for confidence of being able to access and work with these files in the future. Now, in your own work flow, you're going to need to make the decision about what file format works best for you. Yet my hope with this movie is that it gives you a little bit of information. For starters, it helps you kind of understand some of the issues surrounding this whole idea of raw processing and raw capture.
It also helps you start to see about some of the benefits of DNG and why you may want to consider using that format. Alright, well, I hope that this movie's been helpful. And now that we have a little bit of a working understanding of Raw and also of DNG. What I want to do in the next couple of movies, is take a look at a couple of examples of how we can work with this DNG format inside of Lightroom.
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