GUIDE (Simplified): RAW on 5D mark III with Magic Lantern (Updated May 12th ’15)

GUIDE (Simplified): RAW on 5D mark III with Magic Lantern (Updated May 12th '15)

Canon 5D mark III 14bit RAW Magic Lantern

Yes, the source for the still above is a 1080p 14bit RAW shot with the 5D mark III with Magic Lantern!!! And here’s a test video showing you how that looks in motion with an article elaborating the work with the camera: LINK.

The developers working on the Magic Lantern hack for the Canon 5D mark III have enabled continuous 14bit RAW recording last year. We tested it and it works great. The resulting images are totally breathtaking for a DSLR. The installation procedure has now been strongly simplified.

Please follow our complete dummies guide to squeeze the RAW bits out of a Canon EOS 5D mark III.

NOTE: We take no responsibility for what happens when you follow our guide. Do it at your own risk and research on your own if you want to make sure.
NOTE: When installing Magic Lantern your camera will start up 2 seconds slower (this can now be undone by simply uninstalling Magic Lantern)





What you need:

– A Canon 5D mark III. If you buy one, please get it HERE.
– A simple SD card for the firmware. We used this one.
– A good UDMA 7 card reader, we recommend this one for USB 3: LINK
– A very fast CF card. You have the following options:

  • San Disk Extreme Pro 160MB/s – most reliable high end & most expensive
  • Lexar Professional 1066x – reliable and stable & less expensive than before
  • Transcend 1000x 64GB – Sometimes works. But not recommended. People reported some unstable cards.
  • Komputerbay 1000x 64GB – By far the cheapest, about 50% report success and stability. For other users the card dies. Komputerbay replaces the card, but exchange seems rather slow. Make sure you get the 64GB version!

(You get 25 minutes of 1080p on a 128GB card)

Installing RAW on the Canon 5D mark III:

  1. Make sure your 5D mark III has a fully charged battery.
  2. Make sure your camera is on firmware 1.2.3 ( in your camera go to menu –> yellow tab –> firmware ver.: …), otherwise update to 1.2.3 by downloading it HERE.
  3. Download the Magic Lantern package. (latest, stable release we tested from April 28th 2015)
  4. Copy the whole contents of the downloaded folder to the root folder on your SD (!!!) card. This can be a slow card, it only holds the firmware and it always has to stay inside the camera.
  5. Place the SD card in your camera, switch it on and go to the firmware update (yellow tab) in the camera menu. Do the update which will make your camera Magic Lantern “ready”.
  6. The camera now installs, wait until the green “please restart your camera” text appears. Now follow the instruction and “turn your camera off and then on again”.
  7. Now place that fast CF card you bought (see above) into the camera.
  8. Switch camera on. Immediately you will see different overlays than usual and the camera will probably instantly go into live-view.
  9. Now press the “trash button” on the camera to activate Magic Lantern. The Magic Lantern menu will load.
  10. Go to the Modules menu with the “squares” symbol (on the far right).
  11. Select the RAW module ( and activate it. It lights up green. Also activate the file_man and mlv_play modules.
  12. Restart the camera (leave some seconds off)
  13. Go to the trash menu again and go to the menu with the “video camera” symbol.
  14. Select the “RAW video” tab and press SET button on your camera.
  15. Now press the “Q” button to access the RAW menu.
  16. Set your width and height to be “1920×1080” for HD recording. Leave the other options as they are for now.
  17. Exit the menu by pressing the “trash button” again. Set your desired framerate in the Canon menu. (should work up to 30p with the proper CF card!)
  18. To record go about as usual, press the “start/stop” button.
  19. You will see the camera capturing (or dropping) frames…
  20. If you’re dropping frames either your card is too slow or you need to turn some options OFF in the RAW menu. If nothing works try lowering the resolution a little.

Note: If you’re dropping frames in the first two seconds of the recording you might also have the wrong card selected in Canon’s folder menu.
Note 2: To record larger files than 4GB format your CF card in the “exFAT” file system. Ask Google if you don’t know how to do it.

See a list of great new features in 2014 here in this article: Shooting RAW on a Canon 5D mark III in 2014 – What you have to know


Other tips:

  • To shoot slow motion press the Q button in live view and change Canon’s framrate setting there. After that check your resolution in the Magic Lantern RAW menu and unsqueeze it in post. It actually looks pretty cool, check out this work.
  • To preview footage quickly on a Mac, get the MlRAWviewer (Link updated May 12th ’15. See instructions or Windows version in forum)
  • Detailed in-depth info on the numerous options in the menus: LINK

Uninstalling (removing the 2 second delay at startup):

1. Make sure your 5D mark III has a fully charged battery!
2. Get the SD card that holds the contents of the latest Magic Lantern Package which you downloaded in step 3. above.
5. Place this SD card in your camera, switch it on and go to the firmware update (yellow tab) in the
___camera menu. Do the update.
4. The camera now installs, wait until the green “please restart your camera” text appears. Now DO NOT turn your camera off.
5. Wait 30 seconds and the camera will automatically uninstall any remains of Magic Lantern.

New workflow and post-processing guide:

There are several 3rd party software applications that turn either your .RAW or .MLV files into cinemaDNG image sequences which is a recognised RAW recording format. These files can be edited in Premiere Pro CC natively or can be used in DaVinci Resolve.

Here’s a simple workflow I found very usable in OSX:

  1. Shoot your movie in the .MLV file format.
  2. (Backup your CF cards on your editing computer.) You can combine this with step 3.
  3. Convert the .MLV files to cinemaDNG using the RAW Magic app.
  4. (Losslessly compress your cinemaDNG files using the SlimRAW app & save 60% disk space)
  5. Import the cinemaDNG folder into Premiere CC via the “Media Browser” tab! (or into DaVinci Resolve Lite (free))
  6. Download Hunter’s LUT to apply a basic color correction to your files. Follow the tutorial for DaVinci Resolve here.
  7. Export your clips in DaVinci Resolve as proxies (also see above tutorial) or edit natively in Premiere CC.
  8. (Edit in your editing software and at the end make your final grade in DaVinci Resolve.)

For more in-depth information on Magic Lantern and the ongoing RAW hack consult the official Magic Lantern Forum.

Alternative / Windows / old workflow:

1. The camera produces .RAW files which need to be converted to something usable first.
___This can be done with an app they wrote called raw2dng.
___OSX app: download HERE, info HERE (Updated June 19th 2013)
___If you’re on Windows get the .exe here: LINK
2. Open the raw2dng app and drop your .RAW files into the app, one after another.
3. The app creates new folders with a sequence of .dng files in them.
4. The .dng files that come out of this are raw files you can open in several programs. We
___found it can only be opened with Adobe programs which is unfortunate as this makes
___the workflow even more complicated. It does not work in DaVinci Resolve (yet).
[UPDATE Mac]: There’s a new app that converts files to cinemaDNG which can be read by DaVinci Resolve: RAWmagic
[UPDATE Win]: Here’s an apperation of the old app which will convert directly to cinemaDNG which can be read by DaVinci Resolve: raw2cdng
(developer site)

Update: Faster workflow in Photoshop here: LINK

After Effects workflow:
1. We had to put the files for each shot into separate folders.
2. In AfterEffects the .dng files can be converted to any format you like. We chose to
___convert to ProRes 422 (HQ).
3. We imported the files into an empty project by selecting only the first file of each
___.dng sequence.
4. The RAW dialogue pops up. At this point you can color correct with the Adobe
___RAW tool, but we wanted to do a final grading later.
___So we just corrected the wrongly set “tint” value from +77 down to 0.
5. The file imports, but is interpreted as 30fps. To change that for the next shots we
___changed the default framerate in the AfterEffects preferences menu to “24”.
6. Right clicked the imported file and clicked “set proxy” to “movie”.
7. On the Render Dialogue that now pops up we set Render Settings to “Best Settings”
___and created a new Output Module for Quicktime ProRes 422 (HQ).
8. The rendering took forever and After Effects crashed numerous times.
___We really don’t like that application for this kind of workflow, sorry Adobe.
___Here’s a better workflow we found, the downside is it’s converted to 8bit: LINK



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