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Vivek Venkatraman

5 D Mark 2 Magic Lantern RAW

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So I am about to start shooting a project.

I wanted to know the following


1 - Is it possible to shoot RAW on the 5d Mark 2 with Magic Lanter ? [i guess it is]

2 - How does it harm your camera ? [ I am borrowing someone elses camera]

3 - What range do I get in post ? I mean do I get to play with highlights temperature and shadows like you can on RED Raw ?

4 - For what duration can I continuously shoot RAW without the camera switching off etc etc.

5 - What is the post workflow ? [i have acess to premiere pro and avid]

6 - Anything else I should be aware of ?

7 - What do I need to look for while testing the camera ?


Thank You,


Vivek Venkatraman

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1.yes it is possible. you may have drop frames and take length limitations depending on your memory cards, ML version, rec settings and even the specific camera you use (some cameras react to hack firmwares better than others even if identical models)

2. you have to update the firmware of the camera which always has small possibility of "bricking" the camera if the upgrade fails. this is rare so you should be fine

3.you don't get any more range than with h264 using aggressive gamma settings but you get rid of the compression artifacts. other artifacts like moire and noise are still there, although noise reduction works better for less compressed format. it's something between 9 and 10 stops which you can get from raw at maximum if you use the noisy lowest stops

4.it depends from a lot of things and even varies if for example temperature changes or other weird things, see 1. if lowering resolution you can usually shoot at least 50 seconds continuous but it may vary from take to take so only way is to test with your actual setup

5.usually you transcode the ML's own raw format to either CinemaDNG or compressed Quicktime, for example Prores. I have made some low scale stuff by transcoding with Rawmagic to cinemadng, imported to After effects, made raw corrections, exported to 10bit prores 444 and used that for editing

6.you should be aware of possible drop frames and varying max take lengths. I suggest not to shoot dialogue or any kind of stuff which requires lots of takes, you'd be more happy with a black magic for that if you need raw and the workflow is much quicker and easier

7. you should test the noise floor you can live with, you can't expose the camera carelessly even if it's shooting raw. aliasing is also there and you should test if you can live with that, raw creating a clearer image reveals all the other imperfections more clearly

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Thanks for responding.


Do I get the same kind of range that I would with a RAW image captured on a 5 D ? [sorry couldn't think of a better way of putting this]


Since you mentioned that its pretty similar to just aggressive gamma settings and has limitations when it comes to duration of shot is it not better to just make a custom picture profile with aggressive gamma settings then ?

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yeah, the range is quite similar to the range of a still raw image captured with 5D. the noise may look a bit different because of the line skipping and lower resolution / scaling so you can't gain the image as much in post as you could gain a still image.


I think the compressed mode is best option for general use and raw is usable only for special purposes, for example if you need to use more noise reduction in post or if shooting gradients etc where the compression shows clearly.

With ML you can also use higher than normal bit rates for h264 recording so it could solve a lot of problems you are trying to avoid with raw.


I think that the ML RAW is too time/work consuming and unreliable for general shooting but for special purposes it is OK. I, for example, use it with 5D2 for underwater tests and when I have to shoot in places where the camera is at risk so I don't have to put a more expensive camera, for example FS7, to danger and can still get usable shots for doc purposes.

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You can get continuous rec with the high bitrate h264, if i remember correctly it splits the files so fat filesystem is not a problem. You still need to test it first, too high bitrate can cause stop of recording

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