LensRentals Offers Step by Step Guide for Magic Lantern Raw

Rental site first to say hack is mature enough for production

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

A few weeks back, LensRentals.com became the first camera rental house to offering Canon 5D Mk. III‘s with Magic Lantern preinstalled on an SD Card. Feeling that the Magic Lantern Raw hack has become mature enough to use for professional video production, the rental portal felt that they needed to offer a primer on the hack so users aren’t jumping in the deep end of the pool without knowing what to expect.

 “This video is just a walk through of using the camera from beginning to end, so you know what your getting into before you actually start working with it.” – Kris Steward, LensRental Primer video on Magic Lantern Raw

Like the rest of us, LensRental technicians have been following the development of Magic Lantern Raw all summer and have been testing each build to determine its maturity and reliability. And a few weeks ago, they started offering hacked Canon 5D Mk IIIs.

“I’ve been shooting with a hacked 5D III for months now,” says Kris Steward, technician at LensRentals.com, “and I haven’t run into a problem that couldn’t be fixed quickly by simply taking the battery out and counting to 10.

“We’ve been enjoying these new features for a while now, but it’s exciting to finally be able to formally recommend them to our customers.”

So, with the rig now being offered for rental, LensRentals decided to offer a video that would walk users through setting up the camera to enable Raw and even Magic Lantern’s dual ISO option for even more dynamic range, and then how to import the Raw footage into After Effects and render it.

“One of the really unique things about this workaround,” says Steward, “is that it’s using both ISOs in a single frame. Most high dynamic range (HDR) solutions involve multiple frames being combined.”

Steward also shows users how to create a flicker free time lapse using ML Raw.  Using the technique smoothes out the time lapse footage to make it look like sped up video footage.  “Before getting started with deflicker, you need to download the UFRaw utility, and then rename all the sidecar UFR files to UFRaw,” says Steward.  Then you use a batch process to deflicker the time lapse.  And which program you use is up to you.

In addition to the video, there’s a pretty comprehensive blogpost at Lensrentals.com that covers the basics of HD Raw video, how Magic Lantern handles it, and how you can adjust the settings to achieve the results you’re looking for. But the most important thing that Steward says a shooter should have is perspective.

“It’s true that a post production workflow using unwieldy CinemaDNG sequences can be a bit challenging, not to mention tedious,” he says.  “This workflow is some sort of miracled, reverse engineered, workaround for getting the most out of a much beloved camera.”

But the hack isn’t all guns and roses either.  There is a cost to shooting Raw on the 5D Mk. III.   “… all of the finagling to wring an extra 4 stops out of the shadows (literally) you will have sacrificed about a quarter of the image’s vertical resolution,” he concludes.  “The Magic Lantern team stands by the opinion that it is nearly imperceptible, and in most situations I agree … in this case we think it’s absolutely worth it.”

Hat Tip – Creative Planet

About doddle 16509 Articles
Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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