Magic Lantern Manages to Pull 24p RAW Video Out of the Canon 5D Mk III


A couple of weeks ago, the Magic Lantern team announced that they had discovered a RAW DNG Live View output on the 5D Mark II and Mark III. At the time, they could only get 14 frames per second for only 28 frames before the camera needed to buffer, but the team was confident that they could eventually increase the speed to 24p and pull a true RAW video feed out of the camera.

Lo and behold, that’s exactly what they’ve done. According to user lourenco in the Magic Lantern forums, he’s tested the new capability and he can pull continuous 1920×850 RAW video at 24p.

The test videos aren’t anything special in terms of content, but the difference between the RAW video and the H.264 video is huge in terms of both dynamic range and resolution. By cropping the video to 1920×817 he gets a 2.35:1 wide screen aspect ratio, resulting in 1080p RAW videos with black bars on top and bottom.

Here’s the RAW video sample, shot at 1920×850 at 24fps:

And here’s the H.264 version:

It goes without saying that there’s plenty of hurdles still left to get over before these updates are ready to launch to the public.

Firstly, recording RAW video is going to be costly when it comes to storage space. Each frame weighs in at about 3MB, which translates into 72MB per second of footage. Plus, you’ll want a CF 1000x card in order to handle the load, and there’s no mention of issues with sensor heating, which are always at the forefront of the conversation when video is concerned.

But once you get past all of that, the ability to shoot continuous DNG RAW video at 24fps, even if it is limited to 1920×850, is an incredible achievement. Give them another month or two and they may be pulling full 1080p HD out of the camera no problem.

For now, the solution only seems to work with the Mark III, but keep an eye out for updates in the near future.

(via The Phoblographer)

Update: Since we posted this article, it looks like the Magic Lantern team have pushed the capabilities of RAW shooting mode to and above 1080p. Here’s a sample video from EOSHD:

And as far as heating issues? Here’s what EOSHD had to say about it:

Is heat an issue? Well I don’t know yet – I haven’t shot with it for long enough or in a hot enough place. The card and camera are warmer than normal, but that is to be expected considering the huge data rates generated by raw. I don’t know what – if any – implications for camera life this hack will have, but the sensor is always doing a raw video output in live view mode so sensor heat shouldn’t be any more of an issue than it was with ALL-I H.264 video.

Check out their full hands-on for more info.

  • no_name

    Careful, they might get their ass sued by Red. RAW video is apparently patented by RED. Weird patent system.

  • Terry

    What is this man spouting…

  • 3ric15

    They have patents on certain types of compressed RAW but not the concept of RAW itself…

  • Zos Xavius

    it seems like the buffer is a huge bottleneck for this to work. hats off to them for getting 720 to work at 24fps though. i would be rather surprised if they can get full blown 1080p to run at 24fps. shocked even. if anyone can pull this off it is the magic lantern team though. its very impressive what they have put together over the years.

  • Luke Daniel Neumann

    It works in 1080p.

  • Anonymous

    Ouch, this shows how much Canon artificially limits their products with faux firmware limitations. The cameras are capable of so much more than what they are willing to give to their customers.

  • W van de Kletersteeg

    Probably because these “features” are pushing the envelope of what the hardware is capable of too much, which could (and eventually will) cause problems when mass marketed. The processor in your computer is also capable of much higher clock speeds, maybe even twice the speed, but will definitely overheat so the factory sets limits to guarantee a problem-free user experience. Exactly what Canon have done with their gear. (and all equipment manufacturers do, that’s why there is such a big tweaker/hacker-culture worldwide)

  • Syed Zillay Ali

    well said 3ric15. a particular RAW format can be patented.. the concept of RAW can not be..!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Most of these features are not a matter of overclocking as they are simply and purposely hidden or disabled in the firmware. All cameras capable of live view process RAW video continuously, so hardware is not an issue especially for cameras of this level.

  • W van de Kletersteeg

    In this case it IS an issue of performance. Otherwise the Magic Lantern team would have succeeded way earlier and already with full HD support. I can see why Canon would not include such features as it would need beefier hardware and that would make the camera more expensive. Everything is a trade-off.

  • John R

    So is this RAW video different to the uncompressed video output that a D800 or D4 will give you, or is it similar to the Cineform that a GoPro 3 will record?

  • MJrolla07

    Im sure viewing uncompressed, and capturing uncompressed are two completely different things. Its a matter of bandwidth.

  • Chris

    The idea is similar to Cineform, you’re capturing a flatter raw stream and then grading it back to the level of contrast the native shot would have; in the process, not blowing out highlights or crushing blacks.

    Can’t speak from experience with the D800, but, it seems one of the big advantages of this for a Canon user is a much sharper image; where you don’t need to spend hours sharpening in post

  • Anonymous

    Canon appearently doesn’t need to upgrade any hardware as the hacking community keeps pulling very interesting things from their cameras; old and new. The so-called trade-offs you impose are also arbitrary, because the company simply wants to protect their higher-end models. These have sometimes identical hardware but different firmware.

    The more the Magic Lantern team manages to tap into these cameras, the less valid your argument becomes I’m afraid. We will see in time what they can do, but if this really is the limit, then I am wrong of course.

  • Juan Manuel Pinalez

    The D800/D4 are channeling an “uncompressed” 8-bit 4:2:2 output through HDMI pass through, not recording a truly uncompressed 14-bit 4:2:2 RAW format like ML have succeeded in doing.

    There’s a potentially huge difference in post processing capabilities between the two.

  • Mansgame

    If I wasn’t utterly useless in shooting (and editing) video and I was a Canon shooter this would be great news.

  • Mike

    LOL. Yeah and my car’s engine is artificially limited to not go over 7000RPM with faux firmware limitations. My Honda is capable of so much more than what they are willing to to give.

  • Mike

    Oh I know! Who needs gearboxes?! Let’s just use our highest gear for everything! SO MUCH SPEED!!!

  • lidocaineus

    Magic Lantern is great and I fully support their efforts, but if you think pulling this type of RAW video out of camera is comparable at all to their previous efforts in terms of processing power (adding audio meters, focus peaking, built in intervalometers, zoom tweaks, etc), you’re deluding yourself. They’re running into all sorts of hardware limitations that they’re trying to work around (namely bandwidth, buffer, and processing speed) specifically to get this type of output working; none of those limitations are an issue with their other hacks, and especially not all three at once.

    So good luck to them – if they can pull it off reliable that’d be quite a coup. On the other hand I doubt it’s Canon trying to differentiate products – after all, there IS no dSLR that can even do this yet. You can’t differentiate against a line that’s not even there.

  • Peng Tuck Kwok

    This is probably the most reasonable answer I’ve ever seen.

  • Peng Tuck Kwok

    Not all is lost :D. Shooting RAW frames like this means you can shoot without opening and closing your shutter frequently ……

  • timmmeeeee

    I really dont understand why some ppl waste time tweaking their vdslr to shoot ‘pro’ grade video instead of buying a pro grade video camera which can shoot full hd or 4k. Also the vdslrs are designed to shoot stills and not video!5 years ago the peeps at canon added video functionality in 5dmk2 for photogs to shoot quick videos of some obscure stuff not really to shoot pro grade video!

  • Óran Desmond

    Just show how companys limit
    there technology so they can make money with extra products, hopefully
    this will change with people like Blackmagic so other companys will also
    have to innovate. Also Canon has said that they don’t have enough
    engineers to work on software, why not hire some of the people at Magic

    But on another note magic lantern have done a great job and thees videos are “The Dogs bollox.”

  • analogworm

    Then you must have missed the moment where they shot part of iron man II or House with the 5D II… In iron man II the 5D made It possible to shoot scene on the race track cause the camera is comparatively small and cheap.

    Also for us enthousiasts a 5D is way more manageable in costs as opposed to red cameras.. And uhm, who doesn’t like to tinker and get the best possible quality?

  • John R

    Thank you. I have an Atomos Ninja which gives me ProRes files. But 14 bit sounds desirable, against that there would be increased possessing power needed in the edit.

  • no_name

    “the concept of RAW can not be”

    Everybody’s agree on that, until RED came up with the lawsuit. Apparently they patented “undemosaiced”(pretty much raw to me) data for “23 FPS or more” video/picture data stream. They specified 23 fps or more because people were already doing RAW in photography for ages.

  • Syed Zillay Ali

    there are people out there.. who want to patent the wheel itself.. who gives a S***.. :)

  • Miles

    Indeed, and why not have the best of both worlds in one camera?