Do you know h.264 compression is like working with crayons instead of fine art brushes?
What do I mean?
It wasn't until I put Magic Lantern‘s firmware upgrade on my Canon EOS 5D Mark III and saw h.264 vs. RAW video that I saw the vast difference.
I also saw the power of the Canon sensor when unleashed by Magic Lantern. Canon may not have liked it because they were planning three cinema-style camera platforms, but Magic Lantern let the cat out of the bag and rolled out their “disruptive” technology.
I had an Alaska shoot coming up and the thought of getting wildlife and glaciers in stunning 14-bit pushed over the edge. I'd read all the warnings and cautions and disclaimers. I wasn't looking forward to “bricking” my camera, but when you promise a filmmaker they can get higher resolution and fantastic color depth they will run over broken glass to have it.
So, I did.
I put up tests (below) two years ago knowing that it might upset some of my friends at Canon but also I knew that the tests might sell a lot more Canon EOS 5D Mark IIIs and I would be pardoned the wrath of the Explorers of Light.
I'm sure Canon has a very good case to make that you should simply buy one of the three cinema cameras they rolled out if you want to film. (After all, has any other camera manufacturer come out with not one but three cinema-style cameras that shoot in such low light? Excepting Sony's dazzling Sony A7s, which is for a planet which has no sun.)
So, here's side by side tests we did – h.264 vs RAW video in daylight….
Magic Lantern RAW vs h.264
and then in low light with Krista, our blonde, in a black silk robe.
Blonde Ambition 1 (1920 x 1080)
And last of all, we had Krista come back to see if Canon's sensor (unleashed by Magic Lantern) could shut down the RED ONE MX. Judge for yourself.
A CineBootCamps test – “5D RAW vs RED ONE MX: Blonde Ambition 2”
Now, decide if you want to stay with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III delivering RAW video or try some unproven platform that can't come near to delivering these images in high ISO.
I'm happy to stay with my 5D3 with Magic Lantern until somebody rolls out a camera that can shoot awesome video AND shoot in-focus hi-res stills at 5+ fps.
Maybe Sony is going to run the table with their A7r II August 30th, but I've heard from reliable sources that the adaptors promised to make your glass work on the A7r, just flat don't work.
I think Canon's been rolling out winners for decades and I feel there's something in the wings that will let you keep your glass, have 4k and shoot great hi-res stills.
I'm inviting all the Magic Lantern filmmakers to get together for a symposium in L.A..
I'm not affiliated with Magic Lantern's staff. It would be great if someone knows some of the higher ups at ML and have them join us for a look at the future of ML (in which case we'll have to find a bigger venue and maybe bump the price to pay for it).
We'll swap notes and workflows at our studio near Warner Bros. in Burbank. We're limiting attendance to 30 so please register if you're interested.
(Fletch's CineBootCamps is hosting a Magic Lantern Symposium Oct. 3, 2015 in Los Angeles. Click here to register for Magic Lantern Symposium )
(cover photo credit: snap from the video)