RAW 24fps DNG video hits the Canon EOS 5D Mark III via Magic Lantern!

by planetMitch1 Comment

Yes, tho initially the Magic Lantern team didn't even think it was possible (see our first reports on RAW video with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III here), they've now enabled 24fps RAW HD video (without sound) on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III!

This is HUGE news. The dynamic range is now in the range of what people are so excited about with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Alexa and other cams.

This was first posted at NoFilmSchool who's been watching the Magic Lantern forums like a hawk and tho the feature isn't yet implemented in a shipping version of Magic Lantern they announced it to the world.


So what does this mean? As I mentioned above, the dynamic range of the video is stunning and is on par with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and other cameras.

With Magic Lantern, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III (and maybe other cameras) can produce images near the dynamic range of other brands – but could Canon do more with their own software? Maybe Canon is holding off on updating because these things could indeed damage your camera somehow… or they are simply preserving the camera line up – with the Canon EOS 1D C and the Canon EOS C100 being preferred cinema cameras, the wouldn't want to cannibalize sales of those cameras by updating the firmware of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III even more would they?

Hopefully Canon will feel some of the challenge and in the near future will produce cameras that match or exceed what the competition is offering.

Sound off in the planet5D forums (and be entered to win one of the $9k in prizes too). Don't let the ‘registration' scare you – signing up by clicking either the twitter or facebook icons at the top of the page will ‘register' you in 2 simple clicks!

I'm still amazed at the Magic Lantern team – and tho they've pulled the option to send money for legal reasons, we sure still need to give them moral support!

Code is ALPHA

At this point, you have to get the latest code changes and do the software build yourself (which I've not taken the time yet to learn how to do I'm afraid).

Thanks to others that have built the code, we have samples to show and more details below from the forums and from Alex and the Magic Lantern team. Note… in the description of this youtube video from Sherwin Lau there's a link to a compiled version. NOTE: this is still ALPHA CODE and is NOT bug free – nor are there any guarantees that the code will not brick your Canon EOS 5D Mark III – so be aware!

Fast cards recommended

Note: you'll also need super fast CF cards (1000x speed for some size selections) if you want shoot for longer than a few seconds. You can find several over here at B&H Photo Video but they're not cheap – speed costs… not to mention the files are large.

At this time, the “video” is coming out as DNG single frame images – and you're needing to put them together in post. There's apparently a utility for windows someone wrote to make them into a .mov file — but as I said before — this is still really ALPHA (or even pre-alpha) code and they're still working to finalize things… the excitement has gotten out way before the Magic Lantern team has even had time to write their own blog post about the possibilities! For example, I've been swapping emails with Alex from the Magic Lantern team and he just wrote:

Anyway. One hour ago I've tried it on the 5D Mark II and now you have 1:1 crop mode like on 600D, without moire, at 2152×720 or 1920×840. On 5D Mark III, the crop mode goes to 2560×840 continuous, or 3592×1320 for a few frames.


So you see this is still very dynamic and more will be coming as they get things tested and code firmed to “production” ready.

Another question I asked Alex about how the data is coming off the sensor:

For 5D3, you can get FullHD (1920×1080) from full frame sensor (properly downsampled, without moire).

Or, 1920×1280 for a few seconds.

In crop mode, you can get some wide 2.5K shots without too much trouble. As long as bitrate stays under 85MB/s, it will work.

First samples

These were the first samples published (we have more below) – the first sample is the output from Magic Lantern and the second is what you would see from the standard video on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

At that aspect ratio I can record continuous at 24fps. It helps to have a 5d Mark III with CF 1000x card. DNG files take awhile to process on my computer in AE. Yes, the settings were the same. when I was recording i-frame, I used Technicolor CineStyle.

[tentblogger-youtube wHcZwMB5gKs]

Standard 1080 video from Canon EOS 5D Mark III

[tentblogger-youtube 7CANqYdhx_U]

Canon EOS 5D Mark II can do it too

Sample sent to planet5D this morning by Sherwin Lau shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II:


I wanted to pass along a test that I did with my 5D Mark II using the new Magic Lantern firmware that unlocks RAW DNG video recording. The video compares the DNG to the internal H264.

Currently, for the Mark II it's not continuous (just 41 frames) but they're doing it on the Mark III and 6D and potentially porting it to other cameras.

I think this is an amazing breakthrough!

[tentblogger-vimeo 66037206]

Here's more from Sherwin on the video:

This is an amazing breakthrough. Here's a quick test of the NEW Magic Lantern raw DNG recording in silent shooting mode. In this build of ML, I am only able to record 41 frames of DNG to my CF card. I have a Transcend 400X 32 GB card.
To record, enable silent shooting in burst mode, half press the shutter button and it'll buffer 41 frames. Afterwards, it'll record all of those onto your CF card. Then you can bring those into Adobe After Effects and process it.
I brought the DNGs into After Effects, dropped them into a 1920 x 1080 comp and scaled them up to 102% because the frame size of the resulting DNG from the camera is actually 1876 x 1246.
I tried to match the color of the DNG to the h264 on some of the shots but I didn't really spend much time on matching it. Everything was shot in the same picture settings (Neutral), I think ACR shifted the DNGs towards magenta when I processed it..
I understand that 41 frames of raw DNG isn't practical from a filmmaker's standpoint, but it's a huge advancement. I hope they'll eventually make it work continuously on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II!
If ML comes out with a newer build, I will definitely try it and post more results.
Download the original ProRes export of this test to see the differences in the images.

More from the Magic Lantern team and others

The details are buried in the Magic Lantern forums… the main thread is here… but I've pulled out some of the main details:

From Alex:

Heh, people got excited without even knowing the big news: g3gg0 just discovered how to use the DMA cropping routines, which just made possible RAW video recording at 1920×1080 at 24fps on 1000x cards.

Technical: we now know how to copy a cropped version of some image buffer at very high speeds (over 700MB/s), and with this trick we can save the video data the card at full speed, without being slowed down by image borders, for example.

1920×1080 RAW video now requires 83MB/s at 24fps, so it should work just fine on 1000x cards. I didn't try it.

If you try it, I'd like you to look for any signs of image tearing. The source raw data is single-buffered, but it's possible to make it double-buffered if the vertical sync is less than ideal.

All credits go to g3gg0 – without his reverse engineering work on understanding the image processor, this would have been impossible.

please dont ask about too many models. we are aware that 550d, 50d, 60d, 6d, 600d, 5d2, 7d, etc are also widely used. before we start analyzing these models, we want prove our theory by making a reference implementation.

as soon this reference implementation is proven stable, we will advance to these models.

current state: trying to make the code as performant, stable and portable as possible.

More RAW 24fps Samples

Magic Lantern 1920 x 1080 full 1080P raw test Canon 5D Mark III
[tentblogger-youtube 9HR92jzWUd4]

Here's the Canon EOS 5D Mark III standard sample — notice the difference in the blown out highlites in the background

Canon 5D Mark III i-frame video test
[tentblogger-youtube PvCRQ-haYYc] [tentblogger-youtube 6OKNxFpyAX0]

This is with more shadow recovery and highlight recovery.

Magic Lantern 1920 x 1080 at full 1080P at 24 fps raw test on my Canon 5D Mark III. This is to show the increased dynamic range of raw video on the 5D mark III. Lexar CF 1000x. Using H4N recorder for sound.

(question from youtube)
There's some auto exposure going on while the car exits the garage isn't it?

That is me changing the exposure in post. I edited the DNG files in lightroom manually. The camera exposure setting F stop, shuttor speed, and ISO never changed.

Another sample

[tentblogger-youtube YcVmaS2HK3A]

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


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