Phenomenal Underwater Raw Show Reel from Canon 5D Mark III and Magic Lantern

by planetMitch2 Comments

This is a special guest post by Richard Brooks describing the use of Magic Lantern on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III underwater. 

For those of you wondering if people are still using Magic Lantern on DSLRs, the answer is obviously YES.

I keep hearing how “nobody shoots on DSLRs any more” – haha – that is so not true.

On the 5D3 and Magic Lantern Underwater

By Richard Brooks:

If you imagine that cameras could breed, the 5D Mark III coupling with a RED Epic would produce what Magic Lantern does for the Canon.

Yes I was nervous when I first plugged the firmware in, it was an educated gamble with a $3.5K camera.

The results though are phenomenal, especially for underwater work where the challenging environment separates the good cameras from the great. In comparison, the Sony 3 Chip HDV cameras like the EX1, FX1 etc are very good underwater and used extensively in the natural history units of production houses the World over. This 5D3/ML combo is capable of outputting footage just as beautiful as they do. What gives it the edge over them though is that sexy 3 letter word and all of it’s prodigious flexibility.

I chose this system because of the RAW footage output. I shoot underwater for a living and wanted a camera that would perform. It’s not a system that enables a fast turnaround of footage but nothing of quality does. Proxies can be rushed out from the RAW2DNG program to give the editor an idea about what was captured whilst the colorist works their magic.

As with a lot of underwater RAW output the initial results do not fill you with awe but when processed, they come alive.

Workflow for me goes something like this:
RAW2DNG to Adobe Bridge with Adobe Camera RAW for grading then output psd files to Premiere Pro for the final output sequence

Underwater Raw show reel. Canon 5D Mk3 with Magic Lantern

Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera (Body Only)


The Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera is a full-frame 22.3MP DSLR featuring exceptional still image and movie recording capabilities. Integrating Canon's new DIGIC 5+ Image Processor and 14-bit A/D conversion, this camera is able to produce superbly detailed imagery with immense low-light sensitivity that is further aided by an extended ISO range up to 102400.

Image quality is further enhanced by the new 61-point high density reticular autofocus, including up to 41 cross-type AF points and 5 dual diagonal AF points for ensured sharpness. iFCL metering works in conjunction with the AF system and uses color information from scenes to produce accurate exposure readings using a 63 zone dual-layer metering sensor.

HDR and Multiple Exposure modes provide greater creative opportunities and help you to reduce the amount of post-production time needed to produce high quality imagery. The 5D Mark III is also capable of recording full HD video with manual exposure control and in multiple frame rates, including 1080/30p and 720/60p. Still images can also be recorded up to 6fps.


  • 22.3MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC 5+ Image Processor
  • 3.2″ 1.04m-Dot ClearView II LCD Monitor
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 30 fps
  • 61-Point High Density Reticular AF
  • Native ISO 25600, Extended to ISO 102400
  • 6 fps Shooting in RAW+JPEG
  • 63-Zone Dual Layer Metering Sensor
  • 14-Bit RAW Files and S-RAW Format
  • Magnesium Alloy Body, SD/CF Card Slots

Learn more about the Canon EOS 5D Mark III at B&H.

(cover photo credit: snap from video)


  1. I am wondering if you would be willing to expand on this one line you wrote …
    “As with a lot of underwater RAW output the initial results do not fill you with awe but when processed, they come alive.”

    Can you speak to how the initial capture is, and what processing is done to the video to make it ‘come alive’?


  2. Hi Richard,

    Great article, thanks. It reminded me of my tests using Magic Lantern to create 4K video with my Canon 5D Mark lll. Its a lot of work but the results are amazing compared to the H.264 files that are native to the camera. The biggest difference I think is the sharpness. Happy diving…

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