With everything going on with the 5D cameras over the last few days, you'd think the clean HDMI firmware had already been released -- but today Canon finally took the wraps off the firmware update they announced all the way back in October. While the headline feature is definitely the clean/uncompressed HDMI, they have introduced a number of other fixes as well. Click through for more from Canon about the update.
A little from Canon about the clean HDMI:
To benefit DSLR cinematographers, the EOS 5D Mark III will now be able to record clean, uncompressed digital video with embedded time code over HDMI output while simultaneously displaying the video on the rear LCD display and recording to internal CF or SD cards. Combined with an improved color sampling of YCbCr 4:2:2 8-bit video, this firmware update adds efficiency to video editing, improves color grading options, and enhances on-set monitoring.
The new “mirroring” feature via the HDMI output allows video to be displayed on the rear LCD screen with or without scene and camera information while also outputting a clean video signal to a monitor or external recorder. An external recorder not only enables a video signal devoid of compression artifacts, but also allows a choice of preferred edit-ready codec, the ability to shoot in a variety of frame rates and bit rates, and longer record time. Combined with the heightened color correction capabilities as a result of the expanded color space, post-production workflows will be smoother and offer users greater control and quality. With external recorders it is also possible to use a variety of on-set monitoring solutions, which facilitate real-time viewing of EOS 5D Mark III video with the Rec. ITU-R BT. 709 color matrix. Additionally, it will now be possible to synchronize the start and stop of EOS 5D Mark III video capture with the start and stop of the external recorder.
Those who make external recorders, like Atomos, have been testing the update for a while now. If you missed it, here are some of the cool features (thanks again to OlivaTech for the video):
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXN21hu16Ek
As I've said numerous times, this won't be a huge improvement with image quality looking at the files straight from the camera. This is mainly a workflow solution and one for those doing green screen or heavy color grading. It's not all of a sudden going to make the camera look as good as a C300 -- and really -- it was never intended to. With an external recorder, you'll be able to go to any number of excellent codecs, like ProRes and DNxHD, which are much easier on systems and are 10-bit codecs designed to be pushed and pulled.
This also appears to be the same update that was leaked earlier, so it doesn't look like we're getting audio from the HDMI. As I don't have a Mark III on me, it would be great if someone could confirm that in the comments below.
While there are a lot of interesting things going on with Magic Lantern, it may be a while before those features are really useful for video people. For the time being, updates like this should squeeze the last bit of image quality out of the Mark III.