April 24, 2013

First Look at the Uncompressed HDMI Firmware Update on the Canon 5D Mark III

We still have about a week to go before the new Canon 5D Mark III firmware is released, and while attention has somewhat shifted since it was announced back in October, there are still many people looking forward to what uncompressed HDMI can bring to their setup. Canon has confirmed through their website that the firmware should be released April 30th, but in the meantime, we've got a sneak peek from the Atomos NAB 2013 booth thanks to OliviaTech. Check out the video below.

Here is Olivia Speranza of talking with Jeremy from Atomos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXN21hu16Ek

It's really great that the camera is sending out timecode through the HDMI, so this is a little more advanced than just a simple clean HDMI firmware update. I would imagine  that's what has taken so long. In some ways, it's a little unfortunate that they've spent this much time, but clearly they wanted to do more than just remove the overlays and make the output fill the screen.

With timecode being sent out and the camera triggering record to the Atomos, you've got a really clean and easy-to-use system. I would assume it's possible to record the HDMI separately from the camera recording -- so would this mean that similar to Nikon's 60 minute record time with the D4 and D800 through HDMI, that the Mark III will be able to record longer than 30 minutes? That would be great for event shooting, where the clean high ISOs of the Mark III can come in handy.

We should know soon as the firmware is set to be released in just a week.

Link: Canon 5D Mark III Firmware Update Sneak Peak from NAB 2013 -- OliviaTech

Your Comment

80 Comments

saw this already, kind of a lightweight review .... i had a few questions about the bit depth recording that she should have explored.

April 24, 2013

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sjk

The HDMI output is 8-bit 4:2:2 as stated by Canon's press release.

April 24, 2013

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

yeah, i read some convoluted explanation about how it records in 10-bit, even though the output is 8-bit. didn't quite follow it.

April 24, 2013

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sjk

Well, a lot of recorders will record to 10-bit codecs like ProRes, but the camera only outputs 8-bit. So it would be like saving HD in a 4k file...the file may be 10-bit, but there's only 8-bits of information per channel being stored.

April 24, 2013

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Gabe

Yeah but it does mean that in editing you have more headroom to work with... With a file straight from cam that hasn't had multiple transcodings. It would be after all a 10 bit file, and the color correcting software can take advantage of that.

April 25, 2013

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Eri

I'm definitely one of those people looking forward to this firmware upgrade. Can't wait to see some comparison footage come out!

One question: He mentions screen mirroring... could there be a way to press record on the 5D MIII and have both the back LCD and the Atomos device showing the live picture while recording?

April 24, 2013

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mltb

I believe that's built into the functionality of the firmware... if you replay the video you'll see the back of the lcd screen doesn't go black while he's pressing record on the camera and outputting to the monitor.

April 25, 2013

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...snore...

April 24, 2013

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Hummer

Is the footage sharper? Does it appear like a real 1080p camera now?

April 24, 2013

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vinceGortho

No one is expecting it to affect sharpness at all, no. The benefit will be the ability to shape the color in post without as much image degradation as the H264. And maaaaybe a bit less noise.

April 24, 2013

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Hummer

Where is that information coming from??

It will definitely be sharper!

April 24, 2013

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ryan

Better chroma sampling doesn't yield a sharper image.

April 25, 2013

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I can guarantee you, clean HDMI will NOT increase sharpness.... thinking that is lacking an understanding of how cameras work.

Sharpness is determined by sensor resolution and the lens used nothing else.

What will happen with the clean HDMi out, is that you wont record the annoying boxes the red dot and so on....

Regardless of what Canon is trying to make us believe, I'm not entirely convinced that the chip will put out more than 4:2:0.... yes, it is possible to record 4:2:2 8bit and 10bit. But you will NEVER get more out of the image that the camera itself is able to offer.

However you will most likely get rid of the compression artifacts which often shows its ugly head with filming with a camera not meant for filming.

Clean HDMi is not a magical change that will double the value of your camera, but it will offer some nice changes that I myself will benefit from:

- Direct to ProRes
- Unlimited recording to SSD (or... as much as the chip will allow before burning out ;) )
- No compression artifacts
- Proper monitoring

NOTE! You will not lose the rolling shutter and other things like that. That has nothing to do with clean HDMI out and NO... you will NOT get a sharper image. End of story.

April 25, 2013

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legrevedotcom

"Sharpness is determined by sensor resolution and the lens used nothing else."

Not true at all. Sharpness of output video is greatly affected by image processing. There are many variables in this. Perhaps the most important one is downsampling method. Actually inferior video image processing is the reason why 5D output is quite a bit softer than GH2 output.

HDMI upgrade will not change the core image processing. However if the HDMI output has better chroma subsampling (I don't know, does it?) than internal recording, and if 5D3 internal codec is killing say micro detail (I don't know, does it?), then HDMI output could be sharper than internal recording. No doubt about that.

April 25, 2013

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PeterK

This is actually more for "legrevedotcom" but his/her comment is too deep and has no "reply" link... So what do you think now that the Magic Lantern clean HDMI signal has been released? There is absolutely *no question* that the footage is sharper (which you said this was impossible). Just curious as to your response, especially since the revival of the 5D via this firmware update/hack from ML seems almost too good to be true. It also seems like ANY footage that is uncompressed (vs. super-compressed via h.264) coming out of the camera would be sharper no matter what. But there is no questioning the sharpness is improved when comparing compressed footage vs. Magic Lantern HDMI out from the same camera.

April 27, 2013

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Jonas Bendsen

also Hummer most likely it will be more noise, don't speculate based on nothing man

April 24, 2013

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ryan

I'm speculating based on every other iteration of 8-bit 4:2:2 sampling. Don't expect any miracles, kid.

April 25, 2013

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Hummer

I'll take your statement as a challenge at my experience, my experience is coming from extensive testing of c100 internal codec vs prores vs uncompressed, at all ISOs, overexposed, and under exposed, where is your experience coming from?

April 25, 2013

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ryan

In which case you should be fully aware that sharpness is in NO WAY affected by the internal vs. external recording. Not to mention the C100 and the Mk III employ different internal codecs anyway.

April 25, 2013

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Hummer

Let me take a stab at your though process, you took a look at some web video comparisons so you think you know whats up. Telling you from direct experience, external recording is sharper and is noiser than internal codec, both cameras implore an h.264 encoding which smooths the image with macro blocking, external recording bypassing that, detail and grain will be finer.

April 25, 2013

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ryan

I agree with Ryan here. There were a lot of test videos of the D800 and Atmos Ninja 2 vs internal codec and instead of the slight smoothing effect of H264 there was a faint amount of extra noise. Not even sure I'd call it noise as to me noise is a word we want to reserve for an unwanted noise from higher ISO's. I'd call it grain structure and it was pleasant to look at. Also there was a faint amount of extra sharpness which is due to an uncompressed recording rather than any benefits of 4:2:2.

To me the haste of SSD's, batteries etc didnt make it worth the effort compared to the very slight benefits. If I was doing more chromakeying then I'd look into it.

If you want a much more noticeable improvement to your image ditch the 5D's and 7D's. You can easily tell footage shot on a these with the blown highlights, crushed blacks and pasty skin tones. also the red tint it has when its not graded correctly.

April 25, 2013

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BLAHHHHH..............

First to utilize the clean uncompressed you would need an exteranl recorder and the most least affordable monitor recorder would be the atomos $1000 sans the hyperdeck shuttle.

Second the image quality would not be that much of a difference, ive talked to several professionla color grade techs out in CALI and they all stated basically what has been mentioned before about it not being that much of a difference.Other than lowlight i wouldnt bother with this camera, i would get a d700 or 5100 and just buy a denoiser program for less than 150.1AND in return buy some glass

for the price of this camera and exteranl recorder you could get

package 1

3-5200's
3- 50mm primes
1- denoiser program
1-hyperdeck shuttle or a decent 3 point lighting starter system
1- mini monitor

or
3- black magic pocket cameras , sd cards, and lighting starter kit

or

2- d7100 clean uncompressed 8 bit 422 no moire
1- starter lighting kit
1-hyperdeck shuttle
2- 2 50mm prime g or d lens that can be utilized also for stills and autofocus

Unless you already bought this camera, this firmware is too little too late

and just in PANASONIC just releaed info on g6 whic has a 1.86 crop factor that is based on the sensor in gh2 but improved unlike the lame sony sesnor in the gh3 for about $ 600, which shoots 1080 up to 60fps true hd

AGAIN TOO LITTLE TOO LATE CANON

April 24, 2013

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JayClout

I really hope the G6 lives up to the hype, but from the different videos from several different sources that I've seen so far, the image coming from this new camera doesn't compare to the GH2...

April 24, 2013

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Lame Sony sensor in the GH3? Are you nuts? Or perhaps you just haven't seen any footage shot on it...

April 24, 2013

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Hummer

@Hummer again yes the GH3 sensor is lame and not superior to the one in the GH2, THAT is the reason no one really rushed to do a solid review on the GH3, it is an already developed sony sensor that can be found in the olympus flagship camera, the gh3 has more moire than the GH2 and does not handle highlights any better than a hacked gh2, The camera is mediocre in terms of it being a successor to the GH2 IMO.

April 25, 2013

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JayClout

Settle down man. You sound ridiculous -- they're just tools. Lame and less superior to the GH2? Only if you don't know what you're doing. A camera is not it's specs, and it is not a it's performance on a specs chart - it's what you make of it.

I've worked with the GH3 a fair bit, and besides a crappy EVF I've come to prefer it to the GH2 in many different ways. But does that make the GH2 the lesser camera? No, I just prefer the GH3 as my go-to tool. The GH line of cameras are great - just use what you're given and make the most of it.

April 25, 2013

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Clayton

I don't own a Lumix myself but "hear - hear"!

April 25, 2013

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Kraig

I wouldn't call GH3 sensor or design inferior, but for me it doesn't seem like clear winner. Hacked GH2 offers just crazy image quality. Crucial GH3 image quality is not much better.

On one hand you get better low ligh / shadow performance, on the other you get moire. For stills DXOMark scores GH3 sensor higher, in dpreview tests the difference is not big. Perhaps for landscape photography there is some advantage. However GH2 has great multi aspect ratio sensor. I use this feature all the time. Body design is greatly improved, but camera is now as large as APS-C. Some users dislike this development. Also many people have issues with the GH3 viewfinder optics (I did not test it my self).

So overall there are improvements but also new issues. I don't see huge reasons to upgrade. Especially when BMCC Pocket is on the horizon ;-)

P.S. For still photography I would prefer APS-C 24MPix camera (newer sensor than Nex7). MFT sensors will always be worse than APS-C sensors. Although cool thing about MFT is that the lenss are much smaller ;-)

April 25, 2013

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PeterK

I call bull crap, you're telling me that a colorist, some one who pulls keys for a living told you that there is not a difference between heavily compressed 420 and lightly compressed 422. They out of all people would feel the difference. If you have to resort to all caps, your a little too riled up. Also why are professionals and starter lighting kits being mentioned in the same argument?

April 24, 2013

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ryan

@Ryan of course there is a lil difference but not that much of a damnnnnn difference that it is noticible, DEXTER, WILFRED for example are just two shows that record internally as opposed to an external recorder that is allowed with the d800

And to answer you redundant question about why starter light kit was included in the sentence, if you read the comment you would know exactly why i inclded it because it pertains to what other options a person would have in purchasing more than one camera ( NIKON, BMC) and extras left over versus the equvalent of one 5d mark iii, and last time i checked this was a site catering to mainly the indie film community.

Honestly in retrospect to your contradicting comment, if you want to be anal and complain that starter light kit should not be incluced in conversation, then techinically a DSLR and this entire comment thread should not exist seeing how majority of film makers would not prefer DSLR's over proper cameras due to DYNAMIC range, pixel resolution situations etc

April 25, 2013

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JayClout

little difference to you maybe, but to a colorist, your insane

April 25, 2013

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ryan

Whats even more sad is that if they did this for this camera, it means it technically should be available to other lines also, but ofcourse we no better with CANON.

April 24, 2013

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JayClout

Olivia is so fucking hot

April 24, 2013

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arturo

You had to go and say it and spoil how adult we were all being.

April 25, 2013

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Stu Mannion

It's a great addition to anyone who owns a 5d. Workflow should get a whole lot easier too. Just for the fact you can hook a pix 220 into it and now be able to record amazing sound that alone is a big bonus. I happen to like the canon look on the 5d. I say it's good news and about darn time.

April 24, 2013

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Anthony Marino

hi .... can somebody fill me in on this pix 220 ? that's just an external video recorder, right ? i've been looking for the holy grail of external video recorder WITH decent pre-amp/xlr input, so i won't have to schlep both a juiced link AND a ninja to every set up ... does the pix help with audio ?

April 25, 2013

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sjk

meh, never mind. i'd already checked that out ... 22-hundred bucks. why no other affordable pre-amp / xlr / video recorder alternatives ?

April 25, 2013

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sjk

Is there any chance I can get clean HDMI out of my T2i someday?

April 25, 2013

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earnest reply

lol

April 25, 2013

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john jeffries

they did mention in the video about how they worked with Canon a few yrs ago on this with the mk2. If someone can reverse engineer the software and apply that to the other cameras there is a chance I guess.

Also a chance I will meet Olivia Wilde and she will realise what a genius I am and we shall retire to a fancy island mate lots and our children shall form a family band and tour the countryside...

April 25, 2013

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Chris Lambert

Haha!

April 25, 2013

1
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Kraig

5Dmark3 with Atomos would be perfect to document NAB announcements about Blackmagic products!

April 25, 2013

1
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VINCEGORTHO

haha yea. This update would have been cool 2 years ago. Not too much of a point now...

April 25, 2013

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bwhitz

:-D

April 25, 2013

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PeterK

VINCEGORTHO on 04.25.13 @ 1:11AM

5Dmark3 with Atomos would be perfect to document NAB announcements about Blackmagic products!

^^^^^^

hahaaaaa post of the day

April 25, 2013

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JayClout

If Canon does not announce a C50 or something that shoots at least 2k raw under 3000 dollars they are going lose literally ALL of their market share with indies. They seriously need to catch up

April 25, 2013

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john jeffries

I know at least 10 people in my close surrounding, who own a 5d mark3. i know not even one person who owns a BMC or even a gh3. so what are you guys talking about. canon is loosing nothing. they win.

April 25, 2013

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Benjamin Brix

I totally agree....This only helps Canon. I'm excited about the firmware. Full frame looks great. Keep your crop cameras and shoot what u want if you don't like it. It's just a tool. A tool with superior high ISO low noise and a low light beast over many cameras....enough said

April 25, 2013

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Kendrick

No.... raw over all. The coming BMC camera with 4K global shutter will make the 5D series look like a proper consumer camera that is stuck in nostalgia lane.

The only reason you know more people with 5Ds than BMCs is because the first version had some start up issues, but the next camera at that price range is going to change the game.

I'd take a S35 BMC with 4K and global shutter over a 5D for filming ANY day of the week.

April 25, 2013

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legrevedotcom

Dude, I think you have some of the most misguided information I've seen, slow your role, simple debunking,
I wanna shoot for 8 hours and I want to be lean and mean,BMC or 5d? 5d wins, they will coexist, that is the most logical outcome

April 25, 2013

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ryan

Yep. Amateurs/New Guys tend to buy Canon 5D's over the other options now. Canon still has the best marketing and the most market presence. Not saying that everyone who buys a 5DIII is an amateur... but they usually don't understand the need for DR or RAW yet. I know cause I was one of them... when I bought my 5D. Of course, there weren't affordable RAW cams like the Blackmagic at the time, but I still didn't understand RAW, or why I wouldn't want to get out of the crappy 8-bit color space...

April 25, 2013

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bwhitz

Oh sure, everybody has a DSLR now, but they dont WANT a DSLR. They want a real cinema/video camera. Right now there are no affordable options that are readily available, so they have to settle for canon (including me, but Im selling mine to pay for my next film)

April 25, 2013

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john jeffries

@ John agree buddy but seriously doubt canon would budge on making anything remotely close to producing 2k for under 3k, seriously i think they wont and will not budge until other major companies make a move.

April 25, 2013

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JayClout

Will Canon release the same firmware for the canon 5D mark 2 ? Is it technically possible?

April 25, 2013

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corentin

I'm sure they'll release it when they also release it for the t2i...

April 25, 2013

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Hummer

Canon is expensive when compared to sony, bmc, etc...

April 25, 2013

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Gokce

Just got off the phone with a tech at Atomos...

The new firmware outputs 4:2:2 - real 4:2:2, not 4:2:0 in a 4:2:2 stream.
So it will definitely be better than what's recorded in camera.
Q: Can anyone tell me if the difference between 4:2:2 8-bit and 4:2:2 10-bit is bigger than 4:2:0 8-bit and 4:2:2 8-bit?

Also, when I asked the tech about resolution/sharpness gains, he replied "oh... yeah, we should do some comparison tests... it definitely looks noticeably better though."

No arguments or lectures on Canon, please. The new 4K BMD looks great, but I need 60p and a good stills camera. Also, I've been shooting Canon for 15 years and I can't abandon my collection of EF lenses. That said, I have a handful of old MF Nikkors that get a lot of use. ;)

April 25, 2013

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rephrased...

Q: Can anyone tell me if the difference between 4:2:2 8-bit and 4:2:2 10-bit is bigger than the difference between 4:2:0 8-bit and 4:2:2 8-bit?

April 25, 2013

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Some one asking questions, and attempting to foster constructive discussion, what a relief, I thought they had all fled.

To answer your question the differences are simply just different. 8 bit vs 10 bit is just the amount of colors that can be processed, 8 bit is 256 colors and 10bit has around 1000 colors, gradients will have less banding and fine differences between colors will be more noticeable with 10 bit. However it depends on your production whether 8 bit or 10 bit would be better for you. For instance canon 8 bit on c series cameras will make blemishes on talent much less noticeable than 10 bit cameras. On the other hand if your looking for high image fidelity then 10 bit or 12 will yield more robust colors.

The difference between 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 has to do with chrominance subsampling. In a every 8 pixels it only two pixels will carry color information, the other 6 will be duplicates. In 4:2:2 4 pixels will carry color information. So since the eye is far more sensitive to luminance information rather than color, the visible disparity won't be that apparent in most images, however if you have colorful objects with edges then differences will become more clear in comparison. Also pulling a secondaries or chroma key will make the difference clear.

It depends on the production requirements to determine which is a higher priority.

April 25, 2013

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ryan

@ryan:

Thanks for the reply.
I understand 8/10-bit and 422/420 - makes total sense. I'm mostly trying to get clarity on is whether the externally recorded footage will be noticeable enough to warrant the purchase of an external recorder (Atomos Ninja 2, Odyssey7, etc.). As it stands, I pretty much have to transcode all my footage into ProRes anyway, so, in addition to being a decent monitor, it'd be nice to skip a step in post.

April 25, 2013

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The main differentiator is do you grade your footage and how extensively. If you plan to shoot edit then upload to the internet without grading it will not make to much of a difference, the extra sharpness that you will get will get destroyed by web compression anyway, if you finish at 1080p then it will be noticeably sharper externally recorded. But even for web, if your project warrants a full post production workflow with grading then it a safer choice to record externally than recording internally.

April 25, 2013

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ryan

RYAN with all of your defense lately on this site is ridiculous and ludacris at the same time, first off no one is saying that the MARK 3 is a bad DSLR, infact it is a nice DSLR, but what we are saying is that for 3 grand buck for buck, dollar for dollar, it is an overpriced DSLR.

Second most are simply responding to a late 2 years later update from canon for hdmi, basically too little to late, especially when you have other options out there that can excedd if not do the same as the mark 3 and will still leave you with alot of pocket change left over.

A new film maker in my opinion could do alot more with 3 grand as opposed to buying what is still technically a 720 8bit dslr that cost three grand and that would need extra money just to output uncompressed video, when other cameras that cost less are capable of doing the same.

April 25, 2013

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JayClout

@ryan:

I mostly do local broadcast stuff (which also goes up on the web). Most spots are finished in 1080 and I deliver to a few stations in ProRes (some only take H.264 or *gasp* SD). On a few projects, I wish the footage was a little sharper (like actually 1080), so I was hoping I'd get a slightly better image with ext. recording. Wide shots are the most noticeable - sometimes I'll resort to using a different camera to get better detail in the wides... and then I have to wrestle the footage to match.

As for grading, I get by... but every so often, I'd like to make a few secondaries pop a little more (tweaking a sky to be a little more blue, for example) or match exterior shots better when there's a change in the natural light.

April 25, 2013

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8-bit 4:2:2 .... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (yawn)

April 25, 2013

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Mark

National commercials are shoot all the time in 8 bit 4:2:2, you're either brainwashed or your an industry professional that has earned discriminating taste, I'm betting on the first

April 25, 2013

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ryan

And so what? You might get a cleaner key or a nicer grading, but the images will look pretty much the same! So long there's good work behind and in front of the camera most people (including perhaps yourself) won't notice you've updated your 5D MkIII. "Wait, that commercial was shot on an upgraded five dee mark three oh god look at the colors oh my god!"
You sound like an 8 bit 4:2:2 nazi pointing at everyone and calling them "insane" and stuff. Stop being so pedantic.

April 25, 2013

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+1

April 25, 2013

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JayClout

Depends on the commercial, of course a ccommercial could be done with 422, but trust most top commercials these days, especially food commercials, TACO BELL, MCDONALDS, for example are definitely shot with either an alexa, f3, or f35 , because they produce amazing colors of images in post and because they are accepted by BBC.

Sure a viagra commericial would not make much difference in 8 or 10 bit but most AD agencies are shooting with high broadcast 444 10 bit or higher cams to reduce banding and to allow for amazing colors in post.

April 25, 2013

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JayClout

C300, Ernesto ease off the tangents, calling me a Nazi and claiming that I'm talking about commercials of the past shot on non-existant firmware is weird. Agencies love the c300, the agencies my company hires for larger budget shoots use it all the time, my argument is just that if its good enough for national spots and agencies, and its not good enough for a small guy, that small guy is stupid.

April 25, 2013

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ryan

I don't think any national spots are being shot on a C300... leastwise, not as the A cam.

April 25, 2013

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dixter

check out microsoft

April 25, 2013

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ryan

fun fact: pretty much every commercial is shot on Alexa

April 26, 2013

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john jeffries

last attempt at my argument, some national spots have been shot on c300, thats a fact, thus 8 bit 4:2:2 exceeds what most people around here do, so complaining about 8 bit is sophomoric, that is simply what I'm trying to say.

April 26, 2013

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ryan

No one chooses to shoot in 8bit. If they do shoot in 8bit, it's because they can't afford something better or they receive compensation from Canon.

April 26, 2013

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dixter

Come on, I never called you a Nazi in historical terms, I said you were trying to impose 8 bit 4:2:2 as a far superior working color space when in fact the difference is negligible in real terms (I already mentioned when it might help you, even if not by much, really) and you're constantly diminishing people's opinions or arguments mainly with insults rather than counter arguments.

April 26, 2013

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i often ha d problem with the variable data-rate with the 5d. when u shoot at night or blue sky or fog, the bitrate sometimes drop down to 40mbit. the u get real artifact problems. will this problem be solved with the clean hdmi out? that would be great. i also hope that the signal is noticeable better than the internal. if it´s not, atomos will not sell many ninjas. i will only buy one if i can really see a difference.

i would also really try the bmc 4k cam. maybe BM should start to sell them. i mean if canon need half a year for a software update everybody is complaining. why is nobody complaning about black magic. the poor guys have trouble with there sensors. oh that´s so sad and sooo interesting.

April 25, 2013

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Benjamin Brix

Magic Lantern Confirmed 5DIII Raw 14-Bit DNG video!!

April 26, 2013

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Omar A.