Blonde Ambition : Magic Lantern RAW vs h.264 video for Canon EOS 5D Mark III

by fletch murrayLeave a Comment

    QUESTION: Is the resolution, color space and dynamic range of Magic Lantern's RAW video that much better than h.264?

    Judge for yourself. Here's a side by side test we did – a blonde with extremely fine, almost white hair in a black silk robe.


    Blond Ambition

    Here's the RAW vs h.264 video

    Does Magic Lantern RAW beat H.264?

    Here's what we wanted to check in our side by side test:

    1. COLOR SPACE – To check color space (and sensitivity to subtle color variations) we lit her from camera left with a 5600k Alzo Digital PAN-L light, and a 3200k fresnel fixture from camera right.
    2. NOISE IN SHADOWS – To check noise in the blacks, we had her wear a black silk robe, plus we provided very little fill light from camera position so the wrinkles in the robe would go black.
    3. RESOLUTION – We found a model with the finest, almost white, blonde hair you've ever seen. “Miss Krista” had the perfect hair for the test.
    4. DYNAMIC RANGE – We've got everything from the brightest white to the blackest black.  ( I must tell you that virtually the entire pattern on the histogram fit comfortable inside of the histogram.  I didn't have to choose between “blowing out the whites to save the shadow detail” or “stopping down to save the whites but lose my shadow details”. There may have been one strand of hair that was super bright but do we care?
    5. The lens was an EF 70-200 ISM II USM, f stop 3.2.
    6. This test went so well we shot another with the 5D MkIII right next to the RED 1 MX. This video will be up next week.

    Summary

    To quote Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz', “we're not in Kansas anymore”.  I just finished shooting with it a week in Alaska and a week at the California Photo Festival and the Magic Lantern hack turns your 5dM3 into a RED 1 MX.  We shot those two side by side and I'll post that report next week.

    We had to test Magic Lantern's RAW video next to the h.264 (which is what Canon's 5dMk3 normally outputs.)  See the startling results for yourself.

    We had to test Magic Lantern's RAW video next to the h.264 (which is what Canon's 5dMk3 normally outputs.) See the startling results for yourself.

    Fletch is the founder of the Cine Boot Camps and president of The Association, a film and video production company a block from Warner Brothers in Burbank, California.  http://cinebootcamps.com has a schedule of upcoming bootcamps.

    (cover photo credit: snap from the video)


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