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How to Get Started with Magic Lantern RAW Video on Your Canon Camera

Luke Neumann - Magic Lantern RAW TutorialIf you’ve been reading these Magic Lantern RAW video posts and watching the clips, and you’d like to get in on the action, we’ve got just the tutorial for you. Luke Neumann, who has been testing the Canon 5D Mark III with Magic Lantern and recently posted a clip of his own, has put together a great video that runs through some of what you’ll need to do to get up and running. We’ve also got another great test video to whet your whistle, so head on down and check everything out below.

[Update]: cinema5D just launched a workflow video of their own:

This tutorial from Luke will be a good combination with the one posted from cinema5D and the Magic Lantern forum, so head on over there and also watch the video below (you can find the links to the files on Neumann films):

Here is the first video Luke mentions at the beginning about making a bootable CF:

If you missed it, this is the first video Luke shot with the hack:

This is one of the nicest tests I’ve seen so far, shot by Director of Photography Miguel de Olaso (aka Macgregor), who also lensed Vimeo award-winning short Blinky:

There is definitely some added mojo with the hack that is just simply not there otherwise with internal recording. We already know dynamic range is extended thanks to shooting in RAW, and that helps with highlight roll-off, which is one of the easiest ways film separates itself from digital. This is very often what people are referring to when they talk about a film-like image even if they are having trouble articulating it. Take way more resolution, add some dynamic range, and you’ve got some seriously nice files to work with in post.

Be sure to head on over to the links, including the Magic Lantern forum itself, to get the latest on everything happening with the early hack. It’s important to remember that this is in the very early stages, and glitches and crashing are much more common than in a release version. For this reason if you’re uncomfortable messing around with your camera, it’s probably best to wait until the firmware is a bit more stable.

As of right now card incompatibilities are tricky, but most 1000x CF cards should get you to 1080p or very close with RAW on the Mark II and Mark III. Right now the maximum RAW resolution on the Mark II is just below 1080. Other cameras are also in the early stages, like the T3i and the 6D. This hack will probably come to all of the Canon cameras, but not all of them will be able to shoot 1080, so there may be some scaling needed in post.



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  • Would you know if ML is looking into adding this RAW video feature to the 60 D? Thanks.

    • Jeez – just be patient. This whole thing was announced within the past week or two, and everyone is already asking a million times “Is it going to be on the t2i/t3i/60D/7D?????”

      Not to mention, most of the people who are excited about this hack have absolutely no reason, need, or hardware capability to be shooting RAW anyway.

    • Some people are trying the code with cameras like the 600D like this gentleman.

      It looks like data transfer speeds are the issue for full HD capture. You will see a lot of dropped frames but if there is a workaround for this (maybe an SD card to USB adapter or something) then I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. I hope someone comes up with a brilliant solution because turning something like the t2i into a raw recording machine would be amazing.

      There are CF card extenders that might really be useful for this project too as ben pointed out in an earlier post.

      SD card extenders exist too though I am guessing some hardware hacks and new drivers would be necessary. My hope is that USB 3 is fast enough to support insane transfer rates.

    • FilmIsDeadAndSoIsArtButINeverLikedHimAnyway on 05.24.13 @ 9:21AM

      I’m beginning to doubt that they will…you get what you pay for. Although ML has given us many many amazing options we did not have before, so I am grateful for that.

  • How do the Canon engineers sleep at night? They are so thoroughly pwnd by ML.

    • I don’t think that they are worse. I bet they are as good in their work, as ML guys are. And they hate their marketing guys when reading posts like yours :D

    • “On a bed made of money”

    • Yea, it’s not the engineers fault. Canon just wants to slow-roll the technology. They want to keep selling ancient over-priced junk like the C300 for as long as possible…

      • They are not slow rolling the technology. They are a business and they are making business decisions and reacting to the market as they see it. Unless people stop buying their camera’s they have no reason to make different choices. The c300 is selling and renting like crazy because it serves a large section of the market, providing the image and codec and workflow necessary for the job. It’s not designed for every job.

        As for slow rolling the tech again, RAW is actually easier (aside from the data rates) than any codec. It does not require processing power because the data is not really being processed. It’s mainly being moved. The data through put on the 5DIII is robust enough to handle the raw video because it was designed to handle RAW photos at (what?) 23 megapixels. The t2i is not designed for such throughput so you are not getting the same resolutions on that camera.

        The problem with this hack changing the market is that to utilize this you have to buy a (as you say, crippled) Canon camera. There is no incentive for Canon to change their practices because they are still selling what they are making. If people abandon Canon’s offerings for other RAW cameras like the Black Magic cameras or the Kinefinity or some other RAW camera, than Canon will have a reason to offer something else. But the truth is that most people don’t really need RAW for their work, nor are they set up to handle the expensive and work that all that data requires.

        I spoke with some Canon reps in NYC last week and asked about the possibility of 2K on the C300. They said, “we’re taking note.” Someone else had asked the same question just 1 min earlier. If enough people ask for something (i.e. the market indicates that people want that feature) they will respond. Or at least they will be incentivized. to. But right now they don’t have any incentive, because people are buying their camera’s like crazy.

  • General Question: I’m still using Final Cut Pro 7 (i know this is a problem haha). I also have CS4 Photoshop. Is there any workflow that will let me use these RAW files in FCP7? I own the 5D Mark III and I’m pumped to try the ML RAW capabilities but I don’t know If there is a way to utilize it with FCP7.

    thanks in advance guys, you all are frickin awesome!

    • You can use Lightroom to develop the files. It’s enough to develop one file and then syncronize the rest. Export the files as still images from LR and import them as a sequence (if possible) into your NLE.

    • Assuming FCP7 accepts TIFF image sequences, you could just follow the Cinema5D workflow posted above.
      Convert the .RAW files to DNG, open the DNGs in Photoshop, convert the DNGs into TIFFs via the batch RAW converter, then import the TIFF images into FCP7.

  • i have a 5dmll and a 5dmlll…testing now…are people getting moire…on both cameras or just the 5dmll?

    • Just MKII and it’s pretty intense. More than normally using the internal codec although Mosaic filter can do the trick…

      Things are imporoving fast but get into 1080p on MKII is quite hard with the slower CF controller. Even with a lexar 32gb 1000x I can’t get more than 65mb/s on the benchmark… MKIII goes up to 89mb/s with the same card.

    • Hey there,
      I tried everything but there is no way getting the raw function working on the 5D Mark 2.
      Can anyone help please?

  • Anthony Marino on 05.16.13 @ 5:30PM

    Canon was probably saying what’s taken them so long? Thank God for these ML guys. Talk about a rejuvenation, wow. Who wouldn’t want a mkIII now? I think the images look stunning and from what I understand they’ll be easier to process being RAW. So is it safe to say a latter i7 chip with a decent video card is enough to process the images? Obviously drive size is a factor, but what else should we take into consideration if planing on working with the RAW footage? Thanks

  • I keep hearing noise about it being “not really raw.” I don’t know much about this, but my interest is piqued. Can anyone comment on this?

    • It’s really RAW, no question about it. Undebayered pixel information.

    • From my understanding, I thought it was a RAW file cropped to 1080p….so you get the same dynamic capability, just not the actual RAW file size. Is this right, anybody? I can see how all this news can be confusing.

      • It’s actual RAW, undebayered pixels. It’s similar to the RAW still images in the camera.

      • Well there are two versions. The 1080p version which uses the ‘line skipping’ or whatever Canon designed for video mode, to use the whole sensor area for the 1080p video. Then there is the sensor crop version where the resolution is user adjustable and you are essentially picking a smaller are from the center of the sensor (picked by pixel dimensions). So in this version you are using a much smaller sensor area.(not full frame). At least that’s what I understand from what’s been written. is that correct Joe?

  • More great news! I have a question though: there’s a particular .exe file that’s used in the tutorial for the dng conversion thing. Where is the download for that exe? Not released yet? Couldn’t find it on the zip I got from video links.

  • This is just dumb. I’ll make films instead until they come up with a workflow thats drag and drop

    • Yeah, jeez people, don’t you know films have always been made using drag and drop? It’s never been a painstaking craft!


    • Though i appreciate the sarcasm on some level, there is a lot to be said for ease of use. Yes, filmmaking is a painstaking process, would you rather spend your time and energy fighting with a codec or a work flow that constantly slows you down and requires lots of extra steps and opportunity for mistakes which require even more time and effort to fix. Which can also cost you more money. It’s a matter of resources. Part of the reason the Alexa has been so popular (not call, clearly the picture it makes is very important) is the ease of use in the post workflow. Part of the reason the C300 has been so popular, the codec can come right out of the camera and be broadcast ready. it’s why Firestores were so popular a few years ago, they took out a long time wasting step which made the workflow so much easier.

      When iTunes got going, piracy of music plummeted. We are a people who are lazier than we are cheap, (in a general sense). So there is something to be said for wanting to wait for something that is straight forward, less complicated, and essentially easier. There’s also a lot to be said for the added image quality, if it ostensibly tells the story better and allows you to deliver it in the necessary time frame.

  • I may have missed it in all of these posts, but are you able to do RAW 60fps, even if it’s only 720p?

  • Someone can help me with the MarkIII 1.1.3. firmware i cant find it….Thanks

  • Just figuring out some rough math here. His clip was 17 seconds. That 17 seconds = 1.5GB. So roughly 6GB per minute is what we are looking at? Even with a 64Gb card, you are only going to get 10 minutes of recording time…

    • The limit on the 5DMk2′s is 12 minutes isn’t it? Not such a big difference. Besides, where you want to use this quality will be multiple shorter shots. Not the long stuff like event work etc. So 10 minutes is a lot when your talking 10 seconds here, 30 seconds there and then just pop in a new CF card. A lot easier than SSDs.

      • I think you nailed it right on the head. Definitely to be used with cinematics over events/docs. I think those freaking out over this with their T2i’s fail to recognize the price they will be paying when it comes though. A card fast enough will be $120… Personally, I can see this helping refine the way I shoot and script.

  • Will Magic Lantern find a way to make the workflow easier later on rather than having to convert and compile the RAW frames on your own? It just seems somewhat unintuitive to the rest of the workflow… I’m also not savvy with command prompts -__-

    • It should be possible to set up a batch file to run the command automatically…potentially being as easy as dropping all your footage in a directory and simply double clicking the batch file.

      • I heard about possibly dropping the batch into the raw2dng.exe file itself, but it doesn’t seem to work for many, including Luke.

        Do you know if it can also record audio? It seems like it would have to be done separately.

  • Sounds like this will work on the 7d.

  • This may sound like a naive question but take into consideration that I’m not a photographer nor am I versed in coding. Why not just completely override Canons code and program them to be high quality raw shooting cameras?
    Some of us would be interested in buying such firmware.

  • vinceGortho on 05.17.13 @ 1:31AM

    So if the camera is writing raw to the cf card. What exactly would you see while monitoring/playing back through the hdmi? Compressed H264?

  • You can batch process the dng files into tiffs via photoshop. Turn the tiff sequence into pro res etc. Load into whatever you edit with. It’s not really that much of a hassle. Comparable to converting to Pro Res for FCP or creating an image sequence for time lapse. It’s not for event shooting. Fall back to the h264 for that. Spent the day playing with it. Super fun. Nice gift from ML to us mark III owners.

  • Magic Lantern > Black Magic

    • ML is nice (have used it on a 550D for years) but the Blackmagic also offers:

      - Audio recording
      - Playback in camera
      - Simultaneous HD-SDI output
      - An SSD to record huge files more easily and cheaply
      - ProRes and DNxHD recording
      - 2.5K RAW

      For about the same price? If you already have the 5D3, I can see the appeal, but given the choice? BMCC for me.

    • There are definitely pros and cons to each. I’m all for a friendly camera-war though, and now that my camera of choice is a competitor again, I thought I’d make my position known. This is a great website and comments section though. Very useful. You are all scholars and gentlemen.

  • I got the raw processing working on my 5D3 tonight and I used the tutorial from Cinema5D for editing. I only shot short clips so but it seems like a really easy process. I had a total of 5 clips and total conversion/correction/edit time was about an hour. The total runtime of the clips combined was about 3 minutes so that’s not too bad. I gotta say, the footage is spectacular and so easy to work with for color correction. If anyone thinks that this will add time to the editing process you’re right. However, it’s not all too much extra time and for the increase of quality and control it’s entirely worth it.

    • 1 hour converting for 3 minutes…. not sure if i can afford that

      • Not converting, 3 minutes worth of shooting footage, converted, color corrected and edited. It’s really not all that much time.

  • Working pretty well on the T3i.

    • That’s not even close to 14 bit Raw?

      • Not after Youtube conversion.

        • Does the youtube conversion also take out all of the dynamic range that RAW gives you? It’s just a little suspicious since there have been no other proof of the hack working on anything else than 5D mark II and mark III?

          • Sorry, I just saw that some people are trying it out, but still I don’t think that video comes close to the quality that the 5D videos show?

          • The 600D is only capable of a 21 MB/s data rate to the sd card, so its limited to an aspect ratio of 1280×400, hence the ultra-widescreen look. Those clips were pretty much straight from the camera, with a slight amount of correction done in ACR in AFX. Then compressed to an 8 mbps mp4 for Youtube. The Mk iii is capable of the full 1920×1080 24p, so yeah the mk iii is going to look better.

          • That DR looks pretty decent to me. Looks like the sky is still pretty blue in the last shot.

    • That’s a nasty grouping of dead pixels you have there in the top right quadrant.

  • I’m sure that after this break introduced by ML, a lot of other powers will come in play to develop new tools that will support and make a more easier & efficient workflow. This is just the beginning, I’m looking forward to the next stages. Thanks Magic Lantern.

  • Does anybody know where exactly the ML Mark II (not III) firmware is for download? I’m a bit confused by their nightly builds, and if the current Mark II stuff on their sight has new RAW video or not. Should I just get Mark III ML firmware for Mark II? lol sounds weird to me..

  • I’m testing this on my 600d, I got continuous 720p but it starts to drop frames after 2 sec. on smaller resolutions it’s quite stable for longer shots. the second frame has always a magenta block painted in it.

  • when i try to convert the raw files with RAW2DNG keeps telling me this

    Error: This ain’t a lv_rec RAW file
    ls: *.dng: No such file or directory
    Nothing converted

    any ideas?

  • Hey guys,

    Can somebody who has the hack please answer a few simple questions.

    What about sound? Reference sound for syncing?
    Can you play the clips back in camera?
    How is storage for these files?


  • Does this ML allow the file to be outputted as a low compression JPG rather than Raw .. or is it only Raw? It would really be good if the file was the same as a Canon XF305 , but that is another day …

  • How to disable autoboot/ bootflag?

  • I want to know, will ML give you the alternative of switching between RAW and the previous compressed format or am i locked down with just shooting raw once i hook my 5DIII with ML?

    • When you have ML installed you still can record H264. You have to enable RAW recording in the ML menu. It will turn your 5DMIII H264-record button to a raw record button.
      But keep in mind. If you enabled “bootdisk flag” you won’t be able to disable it by now. You need to wait for ML making it possible to run a full version of ML on MarkIII. Read about that, google it and make sure you want to turn your Camera to something thats out of your and canons control.

  • can anybody help me choose a new camera? i was thinking to buy the blackmagic pocket cc but now with magic lantern maybe i can have the same video quality with a canon 60d or 700d.Isn;t that right? so what do you suggest for a camera about 1000$

    • Buy the Blackmagic. It will be under warranty and you can get support if anything goes wrong. A hacked Canon shouldn’t be used for production until a stable released of ML with RAW comes out.

  • Can anyone suggest the in-camera settings to shoot RAW? Does style (standard, neutral, etc) or sharpness level even matter in Raw? Seems to me that if RAW is direct from sensor, the only thing that matters is the”raw” exposure hitting the sensor.

  • Everyone of you that says, “You don’t need RAW”
    That’s exactly the same reasoning that Canon uses NOT to get off their bums and include what is possible.

  • Great blog here! Also your website loads up very fast!
    What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link
    to your host? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol