DSLR RAW Video – the bleeding edge. Should I or shouldn’t I ?

(Email me at fletch@theassociation.tv if you want to watch us install the Magic Lantern RAW software on my Canon 5D Mark III. I’ll shoot a video of every single step of the process.  Send me an email, “Just Do It, Fletch”..  If you don’t want me to, send an email “Don’t Do it, Fletch!”)

Just in case you’re the only filmmaker on earth who hasn’t yet heard, there have been a series of stunning steps forward from Magic Lantern enabling filmmakers to shoot video at 24 frames per second in 14 bit RAW video (uncompressed), like the sample below from EOShd  http://www.eoshd.com/content/10324/big-news-hands-on-with-continuous-raw-recording-on-canon-5d-mark-iii


There are many examples on Planet5D.

I’ve not been able to get my mind off of it since I first heard about it.  12,000+ filmmakers read about each day’s advancements.

The video below has nice comparisons of the same scene https://vimeo.com/67088441 shot in RAW and h.264.

RAW Video

Daily, even hourly over the last two-three weeks Planet5d has been aggregating RAW videos from ML-empowered pioneers led by Luke Neumann .

There’s also an alternate more simplified conversion workflow from  Sebastian at cinema5D


And Dave Dugdale has a video out covering installing the current stable version of ML 2.3.

dugdale video link

Dave says he’ll release a second video any day about working with ML RAW.

So, are we going to surf down the bleeding edge?  Your emails will decide.

Here’s three reasons you might review before you make your final decision:

Reason #1-  The Magic Lantern “Beginner’s Guide” has a warning that is pretty chilling, “THIS IS DANGEROUS AND MIGHT DAMAGE YOUR CAMERA”.   So, if you’re a not ready to surf on the bleeding edge before the RAW release is stable you might want to consider just trying 2.3 which has been out for a while.  Dave shows you how here.  I’m sure if 2.3 had ruined very many cameras there would be a ton of flak on the web but there isn’t.  Still watch Dave and decide for yourself.

Reason #2 is the excellent comments by Luke Neumann in his  interview by bigleagueFilmSchool

Big League Film School

Luke tries to put RAW in perspective.  Luke is honest enough to tell us it’s not quite ready yet but certainly promises great things like better green screen keying and hi resolution b roll but it’s somewhat hampered right now with the 4k file size limit.

Reason #3 - Most important of all.  Put the RAW upgrade in perspective.  Luke reminds filmmakers they might want to focus on their weaknesses. Humbly he says he needs to work on his lighting and the day to day problem of making money as a filmmaker.

Luke’s words of wisdom are appreciated.  He’s a veteran of the HDR (High Dynamic Range) video breakthrough that as far as I know hasn’t yet set the world on fire. Although it also is a remarkable development, it doesn’t “put bread on the table” so to speak.

In my 30+ years of filmmaking there has always been a great new something coming out that would change everything and you’d never have to buy another camera.  But if you know lighting you can make any camera look great as well as make a great camera look bad.  So practice your lighting while ML is finishing their work. We find lighting will take your videos from “amateur” to “professional.”  Alzo has some great values on lighting as does Mole Richardson.  Don’t be concerned too much with price in buying lights. They will be a part of your toolbox for a long, long time….outliving the “latest” cameras by decades.

And, unless your a hobbyist filmmaker, you have to focus on the business procedures of finding clients, meeting with them, surveying, pitching, and closing them for a good budget.  These skills are extremely important unless you’re a trustafarian filmmaker (your parents gave you a trust fund to pay the bills).  Knowing how to close clients and pay the bills is the first step in surviving as a filmmaker no matter what camera you’re using.   In fact, we’re adding those two courses to our boot camp curriculum - How to Survive as a Filmmaker and How to light like the Masters. We’ll work on these two filmmaker skills while we walk the bleeding edge of the ML upgrade.

BONUS REASON #4 - Most of my life I’ve applied this rule from Alexander Pope.  

Be not the first by whom the new are tried,

Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

In summary, hats off to my fellow film revolutionaries at Magic Lantern.  You are discovering new power tools for filmmakers and I just love what you’re doing.  I’m going to get busy closing clients and I’ll look forward to meeting up when your work comes out of pre-Alpha, and I have some clients closed and some lighting setups designed that will exploit the great capabilities the ML release will enable.


- See more at: http://blog.theassociation.tv/blog/the-association/page/2#sthash.mP5wCmNy.dpuf

Leave a Reply