19 May

Freya’s Magic Lantern RAW video round-up!

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I decided to create a round up of lots of videos I’ve found from all over the internet, that were shot with the new Magic Lantern Raw video feature. The idea being that you can find a lot of video and information in one place without having to search everywhere! Hopefully this can give you a bit of a real idea of the breakthrough too

Also if you want to try shooting your own Canon 5D MarkIII RAW video and you don’t mind running very alpha software, possibly voiding your warranty and other possibilities too horrible to mention (R.I.P nice camera) then there are instructions for installing the Magic Lantern RAW alpha here:

Camera Tests

Heres a test of the 5D Mark III running the Magic Lantern alpha for RAW video vs both the 5D factory default and the Panasonic GH3! Saad Rabia, who is the creator of the video, reckons the Magic Lantern video looks best although others seem to think the GH3 video looks better. It’s a close thing!

Saad goes on to say ”Notice that the red lines on each window of the construction building are actually red fences that only appear in the ML setup. I'm amazed that Magic Lantern actually increased the sharpness and details of the video.



I love the night, so this video had to make it in there! Magic Lantern vs Factory default on the 5D Mark III again, only this time at night, at an iso rating of 1,250.



Another daytime test from Saad but this time up against the technicolor cinestyle profile, I guess as an attempt to make it seem like more of a fair contest.



Now heres a thing. Luke at Neumann films has made a video of The Panasonic GH2 (the DSLR camera Shane Carruth used to shoot Upstream Color) complete with high bitrate hack, up against the 5D Mark III in RAW mode. It’s amazing how well the Panasonic cameras stand up in these tests:



We showed you this video (from the cinema 5D people) here at Red Shark before, but I’m including it here just because I think it looks great! It’s a comparison of the 5D Mark III with the Blackmagic cinema camera with both cameras in RAW mode.



Magic Lantern RAW on other Canon EOS DSLR’s

There’s been a lot of work at Magic Lantern to try and get the canon 600d to work in RAW mode. It has to be said that they are having a difficult time with this camera. I suspect they like the challenge! The biggest problem is that the Canon 600d only has an SD card slot instead of compact flash, and even worse this seems to be further limited in speed by the hardware that supports it, so theres a point at which, even if you have faster SD cards, the hardware just can’t go any faster. On top of that they seem to be having an issue with random “pink frames” appearing now and again, and are having trouble tracking down the exact problem.

With all that in mind here is an interesting video (by o.r.b.) shot on the Canon 600d that manages 1120x480 resolution on a 16gb Sandisk Extreme card (45 MB/s)


The canon 5d Mark III has been doing great, but what about the older Canon 5D Mark II? Well I’m afraid that despite having a compact flash slot, this camera is also having trouble compared to it’s younger sibling. It’s basically just a bit slower. Here we can see someone (Daniele Chiari) managing 1880x720 resolution on a 16gb Sandisk extreme Pro compact flash card (90 MB/s)



Taking things further on the Canon 5D Mark III

Back to the 5D Mark III and this video by Squig is really a lot of fun not only because of it's whimsical nature but also because it’s been shot at 1280x720 with a Iscorama 1.5x anamorphic lens! There’s some nice music and you can see how already there’s the possibility to create some great looking music videos with this camera, even if that wasn't quite what they were intending here.


Music: Nepalese Bliss by The Irresistible Force


I’ve included this video by someone called “Macgregor” because I thought it was nice to see people already using the function to good effect on their projects! Highlights are quite blown out on this but clearly this is not a camera test to show off dynamic range! It's shot on the Canon 5d MarkIII again and it's so widescreen because this was shot at 1920x720px RAW which was the highest resolution his Sandisk 60MB/sec Compact Flash card would go to without dropping frames. Processed with Adobe camera raw in After Effects.



The workflow

Lastly here is a youtube tutorial from a fellow called Luke at Neumann films explaining a bit about the present workflow so you can see a little of what is involved after you have shot your RAW footage. At present the camera outputs in a fairly non standard file format with all the RAW frames in one big file. You have to use a command line utility to convert them into lots of individual RAW frames before you can work with them further. Here’s the details:



That’s for windows, but if you have a mac, there’s a whole article on the workflow for the mac from the cinema5D guys over here:

Hope that was fun. Can't wait to see what people do with this technology going forward!

See our earlier coverage here




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  • Interesting but again, isn't this just another overcomplicated DSLR workaround? Tragically, 99% of this stuff will end up as more youtube and vimeo clutter uploaded by people with a too much spare time on their hands. Maybe if Ridley Scott had shot Promethius on a consumer DSLR I'd take more interest but then again, perhaps I'm missing the point.

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  • I understand where you are coming from, as obviously DSLR's have a lot of limitations, hence the origins of Magic Lantern in the first place but there are loads of people working with DSLR's and making it work for them and there is a whole other culture around these kind of cameras. Also at the moment this is really Alpha type software all round, but I suspect that as time goes by a lot of things will get worked out both with the actual functionality and the workflow.

    You are of course right that this does probably mean even higher quality footage of kittens on you tube, but then lots of people love video of cute kittens!

    Lastly while Riddley Scott hasn't been working with DSLR's yet. Shane Carruth just shot Upstream Color on the Panasonic GH2.

    I actually think that it all depends on what you are doing. Different cameras are better for different kinds of things, and it's good to have lots of options out there. For example, I think there are going to be some great music videos shot with this hack, It seems perfect for that application!

    Thanks for the comment Craig! :)

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  • Thanks for being diplomatic Freya.

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  • heh heh :)

    Not just being diplomatic, I love getting comments on my articles, that way I know people are reading them and thinking about the stuff which is great!

    I do understand what you mean about DSLR's too, it reminds me of the old Linux joke "I have to do what with the chair??!"

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  • Craig, Coming from someone who is retired, I find a bit shocking the expression "people with a too much spare time on their hands"! There are two categories in these bunch of people, those, who lost their jobs and probably try while trying to find a new one, show what they are capable of doing; the second is like you or I: We enjoy a passion for video or photography or whatever and we do in that spare time especially if this was not our main professionnal activity, the things we 'd have loved to do while busy at the office! just think about it, theses guys are not to be despised....

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  • I'll stick with the GH2 I bought for one third of the price of a 5DmkIII. With better video ergonomics than that camera anyway. Plus with the BMPCC on the horizon there is an option to pick up one of those and get Raw/ProRes/13-stop DR while still being able to use the same lenses the GH2 uses. All for less than the price of the 5DmkIII body.

    That said, at least it gives 5DmkIII people another option.

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  • The Panasonic GH2 (with hack) holds up really well against the Canon 5D Mark III with raw hack in the video above. The GH2 is really a very nice camera and the MFT mount is VERY handy for adding lenses.

    I think everyone knows how excited I am about the BMPCC tho. ProRes and MFT and exchangeable batteries, Blackmagic have got so much right about that little camera.

    It's great that canon EOS users are getting some new options tho as you say, and it's quite exciting to see what they are managing to achieve with it!

    Thanks for your comment Mike! :)

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Freya Black

Freya Black is a Freelance writer, director, cinematographer and artist based in the UK, (the land of cold winters and rainy days). She believes cinematography is all about creating magic through light. Her all time favorite film is "Freaks" by Todd Browning. Freya is a big fan of chocolate, owls and the night.

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