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These RAW Video Clips Will Make You Want a Canon 5D Mark III (Unless You Already Own One)

Canon 5D Mark III Hack Night SampleThe Canon 5D Mark III has become a true cinema camera. That’s a bold statement, but some of the footage that is currently being shot with the new 14-bit RAW Magic Lantern hack is absolutely night and day when compared to 8-bit H.264 footage recorded in-camera, and there is no doubt it rivals much more expensive cameras just in sheer image quality. We’ve got some impressive samples from cinema5D, Luke Neumann, as well as a few others below. Click through for the head-exploding videos.

Check out Luke Neumann’s first test with it, and if you want to download some original DNG files, head on over to his website:

Here is an impressive comparison by , taking a look at the hacked Canon 5D Mark III, unhacked Mark III, and the GH3 (night footage shot at ISO 1,250):

Here is a larger frame grab of the night shot (click for larger, you can also download both videos from Vimeo to see the full 1080):

Canon 5D Mark III Hack Night Sample

Here is a sample from cinema5D (you can also find DNGs on their site):

There are a few bugs to work out at the moment, especially since this is so early in the life of the hack. Right now there is no audio in-camera and clips are limited to 4GB (which is about a minute of footage), but the focus has been on actually getting it working and stable before moving on to the other issues. The 4GB limit is not actually even a hardware limitation, it’s just the way the code is at the moment, so we will definitely see longer clip lengths. For the best quality, 1000x speed cards are recommended, like the Lexar 1000x cards (some people have also recommended the Komputarbay 1000x cards, but I have no history with the company, so you’ll have to take someone else’s word for it).

Many have been asking about different cameras. Unless you’re a tester, you’ve just got to wait it out and see what will happen. I know it is working on cameras like the 5D Mark II and T3i, but none of them are currently able to do the full 1920 x 1080 (and they may never be able to), with the T3i coming in much lower resolution. Card speed is really the issue for any of the cameras that are SD card only, and it may never be possible to get results anywhere near what the Mark III is currently getting.

If you want to try it yourself, it’s definitely not an easy process getting ML onto your camera, so I would suggest most people wait until Magic Lantern releases a complete build, which I imagine will happen in a matter of weeks. Magic Lantern has a forum dedicated to workflow, and cinema5D also put together their own guide for those adventurous folks who would like to try it out.

Stay tuned as we will have much more on this, including what this might mean for you and other camera purchases.


Related Posts

  1. Canon 5D Mark III is Now Shooting RAW Video at 24FPS
  2. First RAW Video Sample DNGs from the Canon 5D Mark III with New Magic Lantern Firmware
  3. 1080P RAW Video Now Possible on Canon 5D Mark III & Real Anamorphic Shooting with the New Hack


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  • This might seem like a stupid question but is it possible to re-compress this signal they’ve found into something like prores or a high quality compressed codec before outputting on the card? It would be handy to have beautiful sharp, even lightly compressed video also.

    • I don’t think so, the reason they can get the raw “codec” is that they don’t have to compress in camera.
      The way it works now (i think) is that the camera writes a data file (without compressing it) to the card so that the pc can do the processing part.

      • Exactly. They can’t even write the RAW stream in standard DNG files because that requires a byte order swap (if you receive 18-3F you write 3F-18) and they don’t have processing power to do that in real time. So they write in the camera’s order and then in the PC their software rearranges the data and adds standard headers and footers.

    • I’ll happily admit that I have no idea how the guys at Magic Lantern are doing this but I’m really glad that they are!

      Going in from your question Kev, does anyone know if the hack would alter the way that the camera would output the uncompressed signal through the HDMI port? Would there be any way to take advantage of the new-found high res and dynamic range but output the signal by HDMI to an Atomos Ninja or similar, to record Prores files externally (maybe even in 10-bit…hey, I can’t dream can’t I?!).

  • Like SaqirSaab mentioned, you guys should be sharing this footage as well, it looks great!
    (I recommend downloading the original file)

  • Stu Mannion on 05.14.13 @ 5:35PM

    Amazing. For people saying it beats the BMCC though the best feature of that camera for me is the ability to record high quality Prores. The workflow on this Canon raw is always going to be tough.

    I wonder if its possible to ever get playback working? Might not be. I had the funny thought that you could use an external recorder to make proxies for playback/offlining.

  • i said this on another thread, but i think it bears repeating: i would not TOUCH another firmware update from canon right now. i avoided the 1.2.1 after i read about canon sabotaging third party batteries … and basically stringing us along for six months … i’d bet my house they’ll try to build in a way to squelch the ML hack into an update … maybe even this current one.

  • Just confirms why I don’t want to own one. They’re too expensive for what they produce. There’s always a too-warm look to DSLR’s. But that’s just me. I know there’s people that want that. And it doesn’t look too warm to them. It looks awesome to them.

  • Its looking great but I still think the BMC beats it in visual quality. The color science of the BMC is right up there in Alexa territory for me…I cant say the same for any of the Canon Raw I’ve seen. Its nice, nicer than the compressed canon stuff…but not as nice as the BMC.

    Would love to see a side by side shoot out with canon raw and BMC raw.

    • You sure talk a good game, but I think it is mostly bs. How would you know that the color science is as good as Arri? BMCC footage doesn’t look anything like Arri footage. If anything, Arri footage looks more like what you get out of a DSLR. Where does your info on the color science of Arri and BMCC come from? Let me guess…

      • Skinny Pete on 05.15.13 @ 3:53PM

        “Arri footage looks more like what you get out of a DSLR”


        I love this website.

  • CARD REVIEW: can anyone vouch for these komputerbay cards ? amazon has 64gb 1000x udma 7 cards at $105 …. ?

    • My bet is they are rubbish – the 1000x and udma7 are meaningless specs. Lexar are the only ones currently that I’ve seen with cards that write at a fast enough speed to handle the canon raw. You basically need a guaranteed write of about 90mb/s. Sandisk 90mb/s is ruled out as the real world write speed is much much lower, around 60mb/s. Lexar advertises their cards to write 145mb/s but again in real world applications this drops to around 100mb/s depending on how you test them.

      So even the Lexar cards are ‘just’ fast enough to handle the data. Which is why you are paying the big bucks.

      • Not true – komputerbay cards are tried and work in the 1dc. However I can’t vouch for their reliability long term. At such a massive price difference I think is worth giving them a try.

    • I can vouch for the 128 GB cards but you have to test them out first. I’m using them to record 4k. I bought 6 of them, 2 of them wouldn’t register and the third one recorded corrupted media. The company replaces them no questions asked and the 3 that I have, have worked flawlessly for the last 8 weeks recording 4k material.

      • 3 corrupt cards…Yeah no not rubbish at all :-s

        That they work on your 1dc or to record 4k is completely irrelevant. Does you 1dc record at 90mb/s? does the 4k you record hit 90mb/s? The answer to both is NO so telling someone to give them a try on 5D raw because they work for you on some other obscure lowly data rate is simply a foolish recommendation.


        • No need to get your knickers in a twist :-) The Komputerbay cards are actually rated at 150MBs. I would test all electronic gear before using it for a job. This is what I did. The cards that worked have continued to work flawlessly, no dropped frames, no buffering etc. Just sharing info, you’re welcome.

  • Love the guys at ML!

    Thing is, is 14 bit really all that necessary? Isn’t 10 bit more than enough atm and for ML to focus on now rather than 14 bit which is a lot to work with for regular, budget workflows? I’m not knowledgeable on the process of coding such things, so I wouldn’t know how much easier it would be, it just seems that way to me.

    • 14-bit RAW is just what the Canon 5D Mk. III outputs normally. They’d probably have to put in more work and increase the load on the processor of the camera to reduce the quality.
      For instance, when you shoot still photos with the 5D Mk. III, the files are in 14-bit RAW.

      • Stills are shot at 14 bit RAW, but also JPEG, no? Or is JPEG using the camera’s processor for compression? It’s a bit inconvenient to only have the option of H.264 OR 14 bit RAW DNG…. for a hack though, I can’t exactly complain.

        • The JPEGs recorded by the camera are not 14-bit, though — they’re 8-bit. So, yes, when shooting JPEG images, the camera has to use its processing power to compress the image data to a smaller size, a lower level of quality, and to perform features like noise reduction.

          I agree that only having H.264 or 14-bit raw isn’t the most flexible set of options, but the work required to add a custom file encoding scheme into the flow of data being recorded for the hack would just be unfeasible.
          The raw files for this video mode aren’t encoded at all before being recorded — they’re just dumps of the raw sensor data. Even regular raw still photos shot from the camera have more processing and encoding done to them than this raw video does.

  • Just curious…. what are the odds of this 14 bit RAW hack being capable of utilizing the HDMI out from the new 5D3 firmware update? I think that a 5D3 with a Blackmagic Hyperdeck Shuttle would be a good duo, no?

  • ok guys but what about the heat? is this type of recording stress the sensor (and the Digi5 processor) more than the normal video recording does?

    Someone notice some aliasing issues, the problem is that a DSRL doesn’t have a low pass filter so, even if it records raw footage, aliasing remains.

  • Nasty rolling shutter aside it’s night and day better.

  • I wonder why Saad Rabia’s RAW footage was dropping frames. Must have just been his CF card because others don’t seem to do it. If dropped frames ARE a common occurrence, it would make the hack unusable.

  • Not for nothing, but the last video (the one sponsored by B&H has a jump cut at 36 seconds….

  • del8traceur on 05.16.13 @ 10:11AM

    I’m wondering how ML will work with the fastest cf card in the market I’m talking about Toshiba 1066x which is faster than Lexar 1000x. Anyone tried ?

  • I’d be really happy for a cinemascope-crop version for the 7D :)

  • We want these hack on the Nikon D800 !!!! Seriously, Please!!
    (not a native speaker)

  • Am not impressed.

    I have no clue why everyone is oooh-ahhh about RAW?
    Viewers can’t tell any difference (don’t give a shit) from the compressed out of the camera video from all this RAW and ‘grading’ stuff. This may impress other shooters but it’s totally meaningless for an audience. They just want to see a STORY told properly. I’ve been in this business for over 50 years and making movies are going down hill with getting more tech, VFX than actually a good story to be told.

  • cozmic dave on 12.19.13 @ 4:30AM

    Can anyone please advise me of the best and fastest memory card for raw video with my EOS 5d mark3?

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