New Magic Lantern Firmware Doubles Video Bitrate of 5D Mark II (Updated with Video)

Canon 5D Mark II HDSLR DSLR VDSLRFirmware genius Tramm Hudson, who gave us the original Magic Lantern firmware, has released a new version that allows 5D Mark II owners to increase the video bitrate of their DSLR to 76MBps (the default is 38). This should make a world of difference in the battle against those pesky compression artifacts. Word on the street is that 76MBps is unstable, but the slightly lower 66MBps is working in 24p. This is very much in beta and I haven't had a chance to try it out myself yet. Here are the details from Tramm:

If the CF card is not able to keep up, the camera will display a buffer-level bar on the right side of the LCD and stop recording when it hits full. The parameter does not have any effect unless fixed bit rate encoding is selected via mvrFixQScale(int16_t *) (2.0.8 0xff9905d4). The default q-scale is -8 in VBR mode and has a nominal 42 Mbps with the 2.0.8 firmware. The 24p tests were done with the camera on a tripod writing to a Lexar 400x UDMA 16 GB card with all Magic Lantern tasks disabled (no zebras, cropmarks, etc). qscales less than -12 occasionally stopped recording.

  • 24p seems to have less issues than 30p
  • Locked-off shots seem less likely to trigger buffer overflows; amount of motion?
  • Auto-exposure changes seems to lead to immediate overflows: shoot manual exposure mode
  • -14 seems to be the best that can be sustained with the card with all other ML tasks running.

The firmware can be downloaded from the dev-log. Whoever gets this up and running, please leave your comments here!

UPDATE: Here are two videos comparing the new and old bitrates. It's going to be hard to tell on a compressed web video, so click on through to Vimeo, where Plus members (or is it everyone) can download the higher bitrate files.

Link: Magic Lantern Bit Rate Test Firmware

[via Cinema5D]

Your Comment


now he just needs to actually do work with the 7d! fucking hate waiting so long.

December 5, 2010 at 7:49PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

alexander miller

i mean that in the most respectful way, he works miracles. im just impatient and this agc problem is really annoying me

December 5, 2010 at 7:50PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

alexander miller

the t2i/550D hack is on its way too; the current pre-alpha version doesn't add much, just audio meters and lens info; there was rumor about a new version a few days back, but I'm not sure about that; I have my hopes set on the next version for zebra/histogram/waveform and custom crop marks

about the 7D: the problem with that one is that firmware is encrypted (or the firmware loader, or something like that), and nobody has figured out yet how to beat that encryption

December 6, 2010 at 2:34AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


it's here!!!

wow, that was quick!!

it's still pre-alpha, but there's a new Magic Lantern for 550D, with:
Onscreen audio meters
Lens data computation
Manual audio gain, selectable input source
Zebra stripes / histogram

December 9, 2010 at 1:03AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Could we see a video comparison of 38/66/76? Numbers are nice and all, but I'd rather see the difference, not read about it.

December 6, 2010 at 8:02AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Awesome, thanks Tramm! Patience people, seriously! The guy announces new work he does for the community and people immediately start complaining about not having it on their cameras or not seeing video yet.

December 6, 2010 at 12:04PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


If you remember though, Canon cracked down on firmware security after the first magic lantern. The 7D is currently unhackable. 5D's are older models with less built in security.

December 6, 2010 at 3:35PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


@alexander miller .You sound like you are personally paying this guy

December 9, 2010 at 1:36PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Any info whether Magic Lantern will become available for Canon 60D as well?

December 10, 2010 at 4:37AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Looks like something is in the works...haven't found any brave souls who've tested the 5d mk2 version on a 60d yet...but there is this link:

Apparently, this guide is available on April 15, so...

December 18, 2010 at 2:59PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Big Stizz

There is a lot of hype on this qscale thing...
but, i have no run tests with video at 45mb/s and 75mb/s.
I would rather be wrong, but seems to be a big empty hype.
I have magnified both vids, and they have exact same pixelation. I have run Colour grading on the vids, and they result in the exact same degradation. And further tests, without anything conclusive.
Is this because in actual fact the colour space in the compression is never going to yield anything better?

I'd like someone to tell me I am wrong.

January 1, 2011 at 5:40PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Hey I'm with you on the q scale hype. I've been playin with it too. Only good thing I could see is lowering it to get longer videos at those resolutions or maybe for the 60p. But for 1080p at 24 I see no difference increasing bit rates.

January 2, 2011 at 1:25AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Haven't played with it myself yet. That's disappointing to hear.

January 2, 2011 at 12:18PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Ryan Koo

Maybe I wasn't looking at the right things but I saw little improvement on the comparison videos other than the blacks and highlights improving.
(Yes I downloaded them and watched them full 1080).

I think the tests could have been done better by testing moire and aliasing.

January 4, 2013 at 7:57PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM