Experimenting with 5D Raw

Having owned the Canon 5D Mark III since it was released in March 2012, I’ve been using it on an almost daily basis for my work, and so I’ve gotten to know it’s strengths and weaknesses well. Whilst I love how it can effortlessly separate the subject from the background, give a beautiful softness to skin and perform unbelievably well in low-light, there is a certain mushy quality to the image that bugs me. When Magic Lantern announced they had hacked the 5D to write raw video internally to CF card I was both excited and dubious. I didn’t want to mess up my main workhorse but at the same time it’s mushy-ness and lack of detail in wide shots led me to eventually try it out myself.

I had a friend pick up a Lexar 128GB 1066x card from the US (thanks Rob Holding!) and once I received it I went about installing Magic Lantern’s raw firmware onto my camera. Later that week I took it to the Sheringham 1940’s weekend expecting to take just a few stills and maybe a few video clips. In fact I ended up mostly shooting raw video for the whole weekend, managing to fill the entire card with about 20 minutes of footage (it really did eat through the memory card quicker than I’d imagined!)

In post I used Rarevision’s RawMagic to convert the files to CinemaDNGs and then got those into Da Vinci Resolve to output the video clips in ProRes4444 for editing in FCPX. All of this was straightforward with the help of half a dozen tutorials online and a whole afternoon spent tweaking different settings in the various programs!

The resulting video is now finished and I’m keen to shoot more raw footage in the future. The amount of info’ I had to play with was astonishing and the sheer detail of the images were amazing.