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September 10, 2013

How to Edit Your Amazing Magic Lantern 14-Bit RAW Video on the Worst Computer Ever

When I started playing around with Magic Lantern RAW video, two things came to mind: First, a camera called the "5D" was once again the nucleus of a low-budget cinematographic revolution -- this time thanks to the Magic Lantern team; Second, how was I ever going to be able to edit what I'd shot? I've learned a lot since then, and it turns out an offline/online, proxy-based workflow is not only possible, but powerful. Check out the process that I've been using to round-trip Magic Lantern RAW between Adobe Premiere CC and DaVinci Resolve Lite below.

Offline/Online Workflow for Magic Lantern RAW, Adobe Premiere, & DaVinci Resolve

As a brief recap: 'offline' refers to any time you are not working directly with original camera negatives, but instead on lower-quality duplicates, and 'online' refers to when you're working with those originals. The reason the video is specific to Magic Lantern RAW vs. CinemaDNG in general has to do with the lack of metadata input (you could also use the tutorial for Blackmagic or Digital Bolex RAW if you wanted). This tutorial uses Apple Automator, Rarevision RAWMagic 1.0 beta (pre-App Store), DaVinci Resolve 9 Lite, and Adobe Premiere Pro CC:

This video is on our new YouTube channel, so be sure to head over there and subscribe for the latest filmmaking tutorials, BTS, and interviews.

Abridged Version

For those who need a Cliff's Notes version, the two steps that are most important occur in Resolve at the 1) pre-proxy export and the 2) Premiere-to-Resolve ("CC SEND") XML import stages. Here are highlighted crops of those steps (click for full resolution versions):

5d 5d3 magic lantern ml raw offline online workflow bmd blackmagic design davinci resolve adobe premiere tutorial important__crop1

5d 5d3 magic lantern ml raw offline online workflow bmd blackmagic design davinci resolve adobe premiere tutorial important__crop2

Additional Context

Certain tools such as raw2dng and Ginger HDR now offer a more direct route in many ways, but may not offer the strength, flexibility, and speed that this approach can provide. That's the three-way tug-of-war. The most efficient post-production route depends on what you're doing, and what you're doing it with. That said, the benefits of this workflow are common enough to any offline/online process, basically amounting to the following:

  • Creatives working on less powerful machines may find it trying to work with CinemaDNG natively (though we know that situation is going to improve for Premiere in October with GPU acceleration). If real-time debayering is beyond the means of your machine, this process, or one like it, gives you the best of both worlds. It allows you to cut fluidly and save the full-res RAW for when you really want it (like during color correction).
  • Offline can also mean remote. Proxies can go where your full-res media may not be able to go: On a laptop, on a bus-powered drive, on Google Drive, on a plane. If your editor is not you and lives across the country, they only need the proxies to assemble a cut. Again, you still get to build your color grade from 14-bit uncompressed RAW either way.
  • You decide the compromise in your offline between speed and fidelity. Develop individual CDNGs to your heart's content for your proxies, or batch decode into Rec. 709 and use that as a rough 'one light' look, workprint-style. If 709 in ProRes Proxy is too disheartening or depressing for you to look at while you cut, export your offline files in 422 HQ. It's all up to you.
  • Bringing graded clips (as opposed to exporting one big file out of Resolve) back into your NLE makes it easy to fix specifics if anything needs a change -- without having to re-export the whole project all over again.

Want to read a little more from an expert who works with the 'grown-up' version of workflows like this? Suits & Covert Affairs Online Editor Scott Freeman stopped by our comments section a few weeks ago. You can check out his thoughts here.

Notes

File Names vs. Folder Names (vs. Reel Names)

You may have noticed an inconsistency in some of my proxy file names in either the Premiere media browser or timeline -- this inconsistency is illustrated below (click for full image):

5d 5d3 magic lantern ml raw offline online workflow bmd blackmagic design davinci resolve adobe premiere tutorial reels reely important__crop

Essentially, this happened because I was figuring this workflow out as I was shooting. Before I had the realization that I could rename .RAWs prior to using RAWMagic, I was renaming already-converted CinemaDNG folder names. This meant that Resolve named clips based on original ML RAW file names, but still created unique reel names for those clips. So it still works -- I just find it less confusing to rename right at the original .RAW source. Speaking of which...

You Probably Don't Have to Rename Anything

But I have been, and I still do. Why? If reel names are the only thing holding my offline/online connection together, I feel much better knowing I've insured myself against problematic duplicate names by implementing absolute control over what those reel names are. Your needs may find this step redundant, but 'redundant' is usually safer. In fact, I came across this post in the ML forums quite recently, from user Tony Mac:

I'm running into an issue when using multiple cameras shooting RAW and RawMagic to convert the files to CinemaDNG, I end up with files shot by different cameras with the same file name. For example I might have a clip named M30-1649 from two cameras. This causes issues when Resolve tires to relink the media from an XML.

Unlikely as it may be, this illustrates a real-world complication stemming from native ML-generated file names. The suggestions so far entail renaming files, and renaming .RAWs specifically (I think that's the best solution Tony!)

References & Citations

Since I started making this video, I've seen references to this process pop up everywhere from Vimeo, to the ML forums, to No Film School comments. I didn't devise or discover this workflow, but I did want to demonstrate my own little take on it. As I mention in the video, it would have taken considerably longer to figure out what worked for us (and what works at all) without the following material by Dave Thomas and Jesse Borkowski:

This tutorial by DP Hunter H. Richards we shared previously was also a big help -- in fact, our grades here started with Hunter's LUT. Here's that video once more:

And, as always, super-special thanks to the Magic Lantern team and Thomas Worth/Rarevision.

I Want Your Workflow (and I want it Now :)

Obviously I like this workflow, and it works for me, but I'm biased. Whether your own Magic Lantern RAW workflow is similar to, or completely different from mine, I want to know what it is! The state of constant flux in which ML exists can be both exciting and frustrating (sometimes simultaneously), but with this comes ever-expanding flexibility in post production. Be sure to let us know your workflow below -- apps, plugins, you name it. And thanks for watching!

Links:

Your Comment

76 Comments

This is a great post! Definitely! If you can't afford an actual editing rig that can process raw files or invested everything into a camera and lenses and a piece of crap iMac then yeah this work flow will very very very slowly allow you to cobble something out of all that raw data you have. In the professional world however, clients won't accept, "Oh, I'm still rendering out a sequence for you, 38 more hours and you can see the first B-Roll scene."

September 10, 2013

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Kris

This is where I find the line between pros and amateurs gets drawn, which is working under a time crunch and being nimble enough to allow for client revisions.

Clients don't care that you have whiz bang graphics cards, or are behind the curve. They pay for results, not excuses.

September 10, 2013

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Thom

If your client isn't paying for it, don't shoot in RAW formats. They complicate the process, and the client either won't notice or won't care about the difference in quality.

If they're paying you Texa$, then go ahead and add the RAW format. Chances are you can afford the amount of storage they take up and have a computer than can render them quicker.

It's not always about getting the absolute best product to your client. It's getting the best product they paid you to deliver on time.

September 10, 2013

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David

Non of my clients appreciates - or has appreciated - the RAW difference, in fact trying to explain it turned out to be a problem already; but on the bottom line it is me who can see the difference; the best I can do is just good enough for me, and if it is only me who appreciates it and I work a couple of extra hours (or days) to get it done I will - but hey' that's just me...

September 10, 2013

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Still getting plenty of work and jobs well done with .h264

September 10, 2013

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VinceGortho

Good post,. Helpful unlike that dumb first comment.

September 10, 2013

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ADC

I did like the post though . . .

September 10, 2013

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Kris

Lol thanks

September 13, 2013

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

Are they out of alpha (or beta) testing yet with the firmware for ML raw on the 5DIII?

September 10, 2013

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Exactly my question. I would want to jump in and contribute but do not have the courage to put ML as I saved for years for the 5D3

September 10, 2013

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Archie

Until the power of cheap computers catch up to the detail of cheap RAW cameras, proxy files will always be the best solution. Good post.

September 10, 2013

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David

Great tutorial, Dave. Thanks!

September 10, 2013

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McBlakewich

Thank you!

September 10, 2013

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Carlos

Really great tutorial-- Thank you!

Is there any info out about whether shooting raw on the 5d miii will cause issues with the camera or sensor longterm?

I just imagine shooting raw would put a lot of strain on the camera and perhaps prematurely age the camera. Looking to see if there is any evidence supporting or disproving this.

September 10, 2013

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Jeff M

If you read past articles NoFilmSchool has posted, it seems to be suggested that shooting and recording the RAW data is actually less intensive on the internals than otherwise. You're merely tapping into a stream that's already being created. (IIRC)

September 11, 2013

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Steven

Except the CF card gets very hot.

September 12, 2013

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mikko löppönen

Im ditching magic lantern raw.
Worked on a shortfilm where the DP used it, and it held us up because its still prone to overheating.
Actors complained. Gaffer complained the most.
Someone else shot a short using the 7D shooting RAW, its on vimeo. They also complained about overheating, and had to resort to sitting the camera on ice packs.

Canon raw seems passable for hobbiest. Maybe even as a quick use tool in your bag next to your real video camera. But as an A cam. Never.

September 10, 2013

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vinceGortho

>Actors complained.

They always do, get used to it.

September 10, 2013

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Natt

Thete is no reason a camera should hold up production, just because its 85 degrees outside.
I like a happy crew. Its frustrating to ask actors to dig through personal and private places for performance, then tell them "sorry, my camera turned off again."
Their concerns were voiced very diplomatically.
but no magic lantern RAW for me in the future.

September 10, 2013

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vinceGortho

I know exactly what you feel... Tried to shoot a short spot with my redMX and a 5DMKIII raw. Well. the camera performed really well, even on a hot day. But in post it was a nightmare compared to the simple/effective job on the R3D files.
And also those pink dots with a ton of workarounds... None of them good at all. We ended up using Boris pixel fixer plugin fo AE.

I cannot complain on my old MX. Solid fast compressed raw workflow is priceless on a tight schedule.

September 11, 2013

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Alex Mand

Pretty much!
I would never use a hacked camera for a serious project. And if you notice, most "films" made with ML are just typical vimeo trash of flowers and sunsets and cats. Nothing more than camera tests

September 10, 2013

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john jeffries

Haha! Very true.
I would say its a good practice tool for exploring RAW workflows- IF you already have a dslr.
But never againa on my set.
Shane hurlbut said he needed two 5d's on set to cope with overheating and this was shooting .H264.

September 10, 2013

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vinceGortho

I've never had a 5D overheat on me. 7D's do all the time though. Had a scarlet shoot this weekend and it was rock solid, even in 100 degree weather. the new firmware does wonders

September 11, 2013

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john jeffries

And the new dragon sensor... yeap... Oh my!

R3D files play really well in resolve even with no rocket... I'm tryng to use cineform as a proxy or even a compressed Raw workflow. No way I'm storing DNG files!

September 11, 2013

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Alex Mand

Yeah I don't care much for DNG when the r3d compressed raw workflow is absolute genius and is so much more efficient.

September 11, 2013

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john jeffries

Shooting on the Mark III, the camera did not overheat or stop recording once as long as we had card space. We were shooting in 90 degree plus heat for most of the shoot in the tutorial above, and again, did not have a single issue with the camera overheating.

September 10, 2013

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

Did our DP press record wrong?
I wish your story was everyones story.
Speaking for myself; ill avoid using it as an A cam for now on when sun is up or air circulation under controlled lighting is bad.

Still a nice image.

Hi, my name is VinceGortho and im a Magic Lantern RAW hack survivor.

September 10, 2013

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vinceGortho

Magic Lantern has temperature readings built in, you could confirm exactly what's going on by checking the temp for both H.264 and RAW. Were you using the Mark III for that? Which cards?

September 10, 2013

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

Mark III was used. Wasn't sure which cards.
DP said hack was stable, then talked about how proud he was of it but never saw the cards.

But these guys say the same thing about the 7D RAW using 1000x Komputer Bay 64gb cards: Over heating and Dropped frames. I really wanted the 7D to work out, because I prefer the APS-C size.

https://vimeo.com/73835410

"The first thing we noticed is that the 7D is still prone to over heating on long shoots. There were times we would stop and dump the footage solely because the camera needed to cool down and was dropping frames or producing too many corrupted frames. Ice packs were used several times. It was Texas in August, but were always in the shade and so this was disappointing to learn that raw recording doesn't produce any less heat for the 7D. I haven't made the switch over to .mlv, but I've read that it produces less corrupted frames, so I will be switching soon."

September 11, 2013

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VinceGortho

As commonly known it tents to be rather hot around here in equatorial Africa - and the 5D2 does not overheat any more then it would when we shoot h.264, the CF cards get warmer but that is about it - also if it does overheat you'll have less of an issue removing the sensor noise from RAW then you would from h264

September 11, 2013

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I wish everyone else the best of luck. The image is stellar from canon RAW.
Happy shooting.

September 11, 2013

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VinceGortho

So RAW is for hobbyists but you can call yourself a 'pro' and use h.264 coming from 5Ds and 7Ds on set? Just as a reminder, both are classified as semi-professional STILL cameras, therefore by no means (at least once adopting your point of view) professional cinema cameras... but then again I would never judge the degree of professionalism of anyone by simply looking at ones tools...

September 11, 2013

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I'm Judging the limitation of the tool in a grueling environment.
If I called myself a pro- not sure I did, but not in the way of "My skills are so good this cam couldn't keep up with me." Professional in terms of; everything needs to act in accordance of getting the job done. My experience with 5DIII Raw was not a good one.
My opinion is, Canon Raw can finish a persons project with flying colors, or overheat on you.
I would only touch it now If I already had a canon dslr, and want to explore RAW workflows for when I use a Red or blackmagic.

September 11, 2013

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VinceGortho

Are you using a battery grip? I've used many Canon cameras and most of them overheated on long hot days but most if not all that was gone when I bought battery grips. It seems that putting the batteries further away from the internals seems to do the trick and I've been shooting RAW all day with no issues.

September 12, 2013

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Hubert

Interesting.

September 12, 2013

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VinceGortho

I've NEVER had a 5dmarkIII overheat. What are you talking about?

September 12, 2013

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mikko löppönen

I have a problem, following the same workflow, with pink dots on highlights and chromatic aberration in davinci, how can I solve it?

September 10, 2013

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Salvatore

Hey Salvatore, see if this helps (read below video, 'linked comments'): http://www.youtube.com/comment?lc=f2d46mVu0D6PzL5CdyqipjlyRlcINsza0hzZbq...

September 10, 2013

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

Thank you, it helps, but something wrong still remains.

September 11, 2013

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Salvatore

September 27, 2013

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

is greatt

September 10, 2013

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Great tutorial!!! Thanks a lot for sharing.

September 11, 2013

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Robert B.

For those of u working in windows, the java application Action(s) works EXACTLY like Automator.

September 12, 2013

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Martin

Thanks for the great tutorial! I just have one question for you. Where in this workflow would visual effects rest? Would it go between the proxy edit and the onlining in Resolve? I feel like it should go before color grading, but I am not sure where. Thanks in advance and keep up the good work!

September 12, 2013

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Chris

I would say probably after the onlining so that your picture lock dictates your VFX needs, but if your pre-planning is exact enough you could conceivably do VFX work alongside the editing process. You'd just need better-than-proxy quality plates for the shots to be VFX'd. Let me know what you end up doing!

September 13, 2013

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

Hah, thanks for referencing me in the post, now I feel dumb! On a recent multi-cam shoot I already converted the .RAW files to Cinema DNGs and deleted the .RAW files. I guess I could go about individually renaming the sequence of DNG files in each folder with automator, but that sounds like a nightmare.

I've renamed each Cinema DNG folder and then I'll try the "Assist using reel names from the source clip file pathname" and hopefully it sorts it all out!

September 13, 2013

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Hi there,
Looks like a great workflow but what program's would you recommend for a windows user?
Many thanks

September 13, 2013

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Matt

Hey Matt, Martin above states "the java application Action(s) works EXACTLY like Automator," and Magic Lantern's raw2dng application could conceivably take the place of RAWMagic. Cheers!

September 13, 2013

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

Wow. It's just so simple. Yechhh.

September 17, 2013

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Only if you don't want to round trip. If you want a one-way street, watch Hunter's video

September 19, 2013

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

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