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April 26, 2013

Magic Lantern Unlocks RAW Video on the Canon 5D Mark II and Mark III

Every day it seems things get more and more interesting with what these Canon cameras are actually capable of. It would be interesting to know if Canon is actually aware of what their cameras can do, or if some of these are happy accidents for the team over at Magic Lantern. They have made significant discoveries trying to enable full uncompressed HDMI, and not only do we have RAW still images from the liveview video stream, but they've actually managed to get RAW video working on Mark III.

The team has been working on their own uncompressed HDMI hack (different from the one they currently have and different from Canon's impending update), but in the process, they have basically enabled 14-bit RAW still images from liveview without the mirror or shutter moving. Right now the files are about 5MB a frame (pretty large, the one I have is 4MB), and at least on the Mark III the resolution is currently 2064 × 1064 (that's the sample file I have, people have also been getting varying resolutions, especially on the Mark II). The firmware is currently running at 10fps.

[Update]: Big thanks to Luke Neumann for sending me a few more examples. These really give you a sense of the dramatic improvement. At the moment there is some junk around the borders of the frame that needs to be removed (full image was 2080 x 1386), so it ends up cropping down to a little more than 1080 (click for larger):

Here is what they said on Facebook:

Recent RAW data developments have led to the discovery of the 14bit RAW stream in LiveView. DNG pics with no shutter action now possible on the 5D2 and 5D3!

No mirror flip or shutter curtain movement. This is a big deal for time lapsers who sometimes shoot 1000 or more shots in 1 sitting. This can significantly extend the life of their cameras. Also bodes well for RAW video in the future.

DNG format ported from the CHDK project, so out of the box support in almost any RAW editor. Works fine in w/ Lightroom, Photoshop, and more.

Here are some examples from Luke Neumann, who has been working with the team. The first is regular H.264 video (before and after -- click for larger):

Here is a before and after showing what corrections can be made with these new RAW DNG files from liveview:

The final RAW DNG file:

With the Uncompressed HDMI just around corner for the Mark III, what are we looking at here? I'm not going to say 100% that we will get 2K RAW video with these Canon cameras, but it's very, very likely. Even though right now they are only getting about 10fps, they seem confident they will be getting 24fps in the very near future. Whether it will come to both the Mark II and the Mark III is unclear, but right now I'm sure they are eagerly awaiting the new firmware for the Mark III to see what that may unlock for the team. It's obvious that Canon has probably written a fair bit of new code with the new firmware, so there may be some goodies locked away that make these cameras even more powerful.

For now we'll have to wait a little longer for 2K RAW video (it may not be full 2K because of the way the image has to be cropped, but 4K is likely not possible), but from my conversations with those involved, it's probably going to happen. Obviously hardware has been capable if companies like Blackmagic are doing it, so it's pretty impressive that some outside programmers are doing what Canon themselves has only made possible in the over $20,000 C500.

What do you guys think?

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86 Comments

Holy shit....

April 26, 2013

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David J. Fulde

holy fucking shit batman!!!

April 26, 2013

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Alex Mand

wow. If Blackmagic Hired those guys to write firmware for their cameras I might cry.

loved what they did for my 550d B cam keep fighting the good fight! No wonder Canon were shit scared of them touching the 1DC/X!!!

April 26, 2013

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Chris Lambert

What did they do for your 550D if I may ask? Or u could just give me a link that explains it? This is amazing but it's the first time I've heard about it

April 26, 2013

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Diego Gilly

So many extra functions REC restart for leaving it unmanned in events, intravaometre for timelapse's, L int R ext audio recording with no AGC, focus peaking, zebras, a focus distance gauge on the screen for electronic lenses and a whole heap of other stuff I need to figure out what it means eg. bulb ramping etc.

Look into it maybe best decision you may ever make dslr wise!

April 26, 2013

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Chris Lambert

I agree! Now if only this did this for the 550. Then that cheap investment would really go along way!

April 26, 2013

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My fkn mind is blown... What a great job

April 26, 2013

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Diego

Please make this happen!!!

April 26, 2013

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Desmond Williams

Wonder if it was a good idea mentioning this now. What if canon brings down the might if their legal team?

April 26, 2013

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vinceGortho

Old news. Philip Bloom reported this back on April 1st... Wait. Seriously?

April 26, 2013

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Stu Mannion

This would be amazing! It's something that Canon should have done in the first place if it was possible, but this would be epic if they can get it done in a timely manner (not 2-3 years down the road). I'd still be able to use my mk II and mk III for video, even after my BMCC shows up.

April 26, 2013

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I wonder why they're so confident they can get 24p...? Or more importantly 25p. Thanks to Magic Lantern my 5d mk2 has been the camera that keeps on giving.

April 26, 2013

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Stu Mannion

They are probably confident since it seems that they pretty much went "Oops. RAW."

April 27, 2013

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David J. Fulde

If they manage to get 24fps, this will be a BIG DEAL, and revival of the 5D.
Think about it: full frame sensor, good low light performance, new RAW video, 4:4:4 color space, 14-bit depth, improved DR. Plus a very good stills camera.

Damn!

April 26, 2013

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Dave

My old 5dIII would heat up easily when shooting in the sun. Will this make it worse?

April 26, 2013

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vinceGortho

^^^ 5D MkIII ? thats farely new....do u mean the mkii version? but anyway my 5dmk3 isnt going anywhere for a few years.....hate on haters

April 26, 2013

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james

No. I meant dmarkIII. I just may have used exaggerated description.

April 26, 2013

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vinceGortho

If 2K RAW at 24p is possible, I'll feel better about hanging onto this thing.

April 26, 2013

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Harry Pray IV

This is HUGE! Nikon if your listening please work on this for the D800!

I heard in a podcast recently that interviewed a codec programer that had something to do with a 4K distribution project, that encoding RAW took less processing power than H.264. I guess this makes sense since the idea is to keep the original quality.

There was a discussion at NAB about 'Is DSLR video dying?' Even without announcements like this, everywhere we look DSLR isn't dying its growing. The difference is its not as loud about it these days because its become part of the furniture. Its still a toddler tho thats growing every year and something like this will be a huge step. Nice to see theres still excitement in the form factor :)

April 26, 2013

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Yes, RAW video is easier than H.264, but it's the data rates that have kept uncompressed RAW video from existing on cameras until now. RED obviously worked around these issues with compressed RAW.

April 26, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

wow... mind blown!

I really do hope this comes through!

April 26, 2013

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Nick

This has been on my mind all day, its an amazing thing if they can get it up and going in a timely manner. To have 24fps in Raw on such a small camera with good battery life and full frame sensor will be amazing. The data rates will be large but well worth it. Im also wondering how long they can record images at this rate, even for a 1 min would be amazing for most of us. 2 Min would be great. How will sound be handled though? Cant wait to see the test and hope to see a timeline for us so we can plan our next projects with this system.

April 26, 2013

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Right now you can do 28 frames at 10fps before it buffers. This is all supposed to evolve as the version I'm talking about/using was created this morning.

April 26, 2013

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Thanks Luke, any idea from your thoughs on when and if we will really see 24fps recording at a steady rate? Also I saw you say that its better then the c300, is that overall or in detail?

April 26, 2013

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No clue when. That is totally on the guys at Magic Lantern to figure out. In talking to them I get the sense that it's very much possible and that this WAS the biggest hurdle in getting there.

Better overall with Magic Lantern installed, IMO. Full frame, takes pro photos, shoots RAW (hopefully soon enough), HDR video (limited but still). The RAW/Photo combo is/would be what makes it better than the C300 though.

April 26, 2013

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Is this recording externally or internal?

April 26, 2013

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JeremySting

From all what I have read and seen its recording internally on the cameras buffer.

April 26, 2013

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Internally to an SD card believe it or not.

April 26, 2013

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I beg your pardon... HOLLY SHIT!!

April 26, 2013

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JeremySting

5D MK II is CF card only? Plus the data rates would be more then 100mb/s causing not only high priced storage, but cards.

April 26, 2013

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Antony Alvarez

...for 28 frames at 10fps. It's still in the early stages. The results are mind blowing though.

April 26, 2013

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I'm using the Mark III.

April 26, 2013

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Good news and keeps getting better check this out about toshibas new CF cards at 150/160 mbs

link below

http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/26/toshiba-compact-flash-exceria-pro-150...

April 26, 2013

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JayClout

Obviously still in the early stages but would it be possible to use the SD card as an an additional buffer before writing that data to the CF card? Seeing as the bottle neck is likely going to be in being able to write to CF fast enough

Thats if mk3 can write too both at same time?

April 27, 2013

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Chris Lambert

This would kill BMCC 2.5K Version.

April 26, 2013

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Max

Unlikely. It's still using line skipping for sampling, so it's not going to resolve the same level of detail as the BMCC. More dynamic range and better color fidelity are welcome improvements, though.

You'll fill an SD card very quickly in RAW if they can get it stable for more than a few seconds at a time. Looks like being very handy for timelapse, but we don't know if video is going to be an option yet. The Magic Lantern hackers have done a great job in the past (making my 550D much more handy than it used to be) so good luck to them!

April 26, 2013

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Man, this just makes me wonder again what they could do with the 1D X-if not for the fear of invoking Canon's wrath.

April 26, 2013

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Dave Mueller

This is amazing! I would love to see this at 24fps on the mark II. These guys are kicking tail and taking names!

April 26, 2013

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Ben Maciejack

I think it's basically vaporware until they have a stable build at 24 fps. People are getting WAY too excited over something that *might* happen, and there's no telling how these Mk II/III's will handle this sort of processing. It sounds awesome, no doubt - but I'm skeptical.

April 26, 2013

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Hummer

Not holding my breath here. Even if the Digic processor can handle this bitrate there's almost no chance an SD card (or CF card for that matter) could keep up at 24p. Still could be an interesting exercise for the ML folks and they could discover something very useful for stills or burst with this. If ML could manage to do a "compressed RAW" encoding just maybe it's possible, but then we start bumping up against the processing power of the Digic.

April 26, 2013

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Newest/top of the line CF cards will probably be able to handle it. HDMI out will for sure.

April 26, 2013

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If all I need is an external recorder to get my 5D mark 3 to output 24p raw, I think I'll be keeping my Mark 3 just a bit longer. Been considering selling to get the Black Magic but this is fantastic news.

April 26, 2013

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Hubert

Luke! From the tests you've done, how many stops can you say it can handle. 13? 12?

April 26, 2013

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Dave

I'd say it opens up at least 2 more. 1 in highlights and 1 in shadows. Possibly more on each end.

April 26, 2013

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DXOmark has only measured up the 5dmk3 sensor to 11.7 EV steps for stills, so that ought to be the upper limit for video as well. http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Compare-Camera-Sensors/Compare-...(appareil1)/795%7C0/(brand)/Canon

April 27, 2013

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How would the HDMI recording work?
I mean, obviously you'd hook up a recorder, but would it just be outputting a 2080x1386 4:4:4 14-bit video stream? Would most recorders even support that odd resolution with such an extreme quality level of footage?

April 26, 2013

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Blah

Well the Sony FS700 is going to be sending out a 16 bit 4k file at 60p

April 26, 2013

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Not via HDMI it won't be.

I think HMDI can output in 4k depending on the spec's used but I don't think recording into anything other than pro res, dnx would be possible if it could.

April 27, 2013

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Chris Lambert

Luke...saw this CF card announced today. http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/26/toshiba-compact-flash-exceria-pro-150... Good timing? Excited to see what happens!

April 27, 2013

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Acccording to the forum latest posts they achieved 720P 422 at 24fps for over than 150 frames.
Thats promising!

April 26, 2013

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