Making your Magic Lantern Raw Files Look Like Alexa

Custom Settings for Davinci does the trick (mostly)

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

If you’ve been following the news about Magic Lantern and it’s discovered Raw capabilities on the Canon DSLR platform, then you’re probably wondering how soon before you can actually use it to get some truly professional grade images.  And by that, I mean something that can stand up to the big boys like the Arri Alexa.  We’ve been there for awhile now, but many have been waiting until the workflow has been streamlined enough to risk a job on it.  Thanks to Hunter Richards, we’re one step closer.

This video is a demonstration of workflow using Resolve- it also explains how to use and install the LUT I made to make your 5dm3 uncompressed magic lantern raw video footage look more like something you would get from a higher end cinema camera (i.e. Alexa, ect) great skin tones, pleasing highlights and shadows.- Hunter Hampton Richards, Vimeo tutorial

Hunter Richards has created a Look Up Table (LUT) which takes the Raw data from the file and processes it “properly” through Davinci Resolve with proper skin tones and saturation, shadows are off.  Sure, it looks awesome, but Richards says he doesn’t see a film with that kind of color.  So, after some research, he developed the LUT to not only streamline it, but to make it look similar to the results shooting with an Arri Alexa.    “What this LUT does is mimic the Rec. 709 out of the Alexa,” Richards writes.  “I actually modified it from a Log-C to R709…”

The reasoning behind the LUT: The majority of footage from the raw hack you come across on the internet is processed incorrectly, saturation is usually way too high, skin looks strange, shadows are lifted to the extreme, highlights are brought down way too far so you can see the hard clip to white – films don’t look like that.

Richards says the results are highlights are more gradual from white to black and skintones are soft and more accurate.  “…nothing is over saturated, just an overall pleasing look strait “out of camera,” says Richards.  “Once you apply this LUT and learn the workflow, you shouldn’t need too much *if any* additional color correction.”

Richards advises shooting raw files at around -1/2 stop to 2/3 a stop underexposed but says that experimenting with the exposure spectrum can yield better results to the eye than just taking what someone says looks right.    He does advise that Davinci Resolve defaults color temperature to 6500k, so users should keep that in mind when setting White Balance in the camera, and in the Camera Raw tab of Resolve.

Some people call me a DP or Director, I consider myself a Collaborative Filmmaker. -Hunter Hampton Richards

Based in Portland, Oregon, Richards has worked for Ford/Lincoln Mercury, Klout, Gold’s Gym, Nike and several others.  And he likes to share what he’s learned on his journey, including several LUTs available on his website.   The Raw/Davinci LUT which Hunter says mimics the Arri Alexa is currently in “beta” and while he offers it for others to experiment on, he says it’s by no means ready for prime time.  For one thing, it’s Mac Only.  For another,  the LUT is currently only for Canon 5D Mk.III Raw files.    And  because he loves collaboration, he says that users who wish to tweak his LUT are free to do so.  “I will continue to develop the LUT to improve it — feel free to do the same.”

Users can download it here.  You will also need RawMagic (a free CinemaDNG converter for Mac Only. Sorry.) and DaVinci Resolve from Blackmagic Design.  Meanwhile, you can watch his tutorial below:

Hat Tip – NFS

About doddle 16504 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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