Friday, May 24, 2013

Magic Lantern Enables 14-bit Raw Video recording on 5D Mark III

Being proud owners of 5D Mark III, this news makes us more proud than we already are. The guys at Magic Lantern[ML] have discovered that the already famous and more-powerful-than-as-marketed camera, the Canon 5D Mark III is capable of shooting 14-bit 4:4:4 RAW Continuous Full HD Video. This features gives a huge relief to those 5D owners who wanted to get the BMCC camera's for their RAW Video feature in the same price range. But there are some downsides to this added feature on the 5D. Below are the pros and cons of shooting RAW on 5D Mark III using ML;

  • Far better quality than the original H.264 footage.
  • Image quality is similar to other RAW Video shooting cameras like BMCC, RED, ARRI etc.
  • Better Dynamic Range.
  • RAW Footage from a Full Frame Sensor famous for its low noise performance.
  • All the above features in a very compact body.
  • Huge file size due to no compression.
  • Fast and costly 1000x UDMA7 CF Cards required to shoot 1920x1080 without dropping frames at 24p.
  • A bit longer and complex workflow. (This is excusable for the image quality we get.)
After gauging the Pros and Cons we can say that this feature is VERY useful in limited scenarios of shooting a project. The best thing is that it doesn't costs to add this feature to your camera as ML is open source.
Having a RAW Video recording feature when needed on the same body you own is far better than not having it and eliminates the need of purchasing or renting a RAW Video camera separately for specific shoots.

All you need to do to covert your 5D Mark III into a RAW Video shooting camera is to install  Magic Lantern Firmware (For now developers version or wait for some time for the stable public release) and purchase some high capacity fast CF 1000x UDMA7 Cards.

What about the risk of burning your camera?

Well on that we say only one thing, go here, 5D Mark III Raw Video Collection and you will see almost 135+ people have successfully risked their precious cameras for successfully testing the RAW Video feature, if their cameras did not burn, neither will yours, unless you do something wrong.

The actual logical reason behind why the camera is not overheating while recording RAW is that the camera is not doing an extra effort, it is just storing the already available RAW Stream from the sensor directly to the CF card. The camera in fact is saving more power by doing less efforts of processing the RAW stream in camera and converting it into compressed H.264 footage.

Soon we are going to test this feature on our own camera, till then stay stoned!

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