No need to worry: 5D Mark III RAW hack takes what’s already there

May 16th, 2013
No need to worry: 5D Mark III RAW hack takes what's already there

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Since the RAW hack for the 5D Mark III came out, there’s been a lot of speculation as to how Magic Lantern did manage to do it. Understandably, many people are hesitant to hack their 5D Mark III’s and use it with an alternative firmware that is not thoroughly tested yet. And Magic Lantern also recommends to be hesitant:

Again. This is EXPERIMENTAL, so:
 – bloody beginners and non-geeks should not touch the whole thing. wait until it is “beginner-proof”. we will tell you on the website.
 – you know that you are a bloody beginner, when you read the whole thread and you still cannot get it to work.
 – DON’T be disappointed if it doesn’t work or we figure out the whole thing is unstable and/or unusable
 – NO, there is no manual yet
 – NO, there is no all-in-one tool that fits every use case
 – NO, we don’t have tutorials how to use it
 – NO, not all models are supported yet ;)
 – we are just at the moment testing how good it works and what we have missed and what to improve
 – you are welcome to post comparisons, experiences (both good and bad), or even deep analysis or just cool videos
 – if you are a programmer and you see potential for improvements, grab the source and support :)

Raw video menu option in the Magic Lantern menu.

Raw video menu option in the Magic Lantern menu.

Having said that, the guys from Magic Lantern have also brought some clarity to how they actually managed to make RAW work on the 5D Mark III. I’ll skip all the details which you can read here, but that’s the essence:

The 5D Mark III generates RAW video stream by itself already, it’s used for the live view mode and being converted into H.264 and then written to the card.

Secondly and as a consequence, it means that it’s NOT putting more strain on the sensor or camera as a whole as many suspected. In other words, it won’t melt away, because it’s not doing anything that it wouldn’t do anyway when shooting.

Actually, it might even mean that it needs LESS power and therefore it heats up less than usually:

About sensor heating rumors:
The only thing that could get warmer is DIGiC and the CF circuitry, but i am sure that the power dissipation that reaches the sensor
through all that plastic housing will not have any noticeable temperature raise.

detailed: when doing that much DMA transfers and CF writing, we may cause a bit more current drain (which causes squared power dissipation)
but we do not encode any H.264 while recording, so we use less power there.
its *possible* that the CF writing will consume less energy than the encoding with H.264, which will result in *less* power consumption.
raw is being produced by the DIGiC for every single frame anyway. we “just” save it away.

still this is a *theory*, but i expect the consumption and the temperatures not to raise at all.

Only CF cards need to be faster because of the increased data rate of the raw files (~83 MB/s vs. the usual 10-12 MB/s). However, there’s a great and comparatively affordable option for large and fast CompactFlash cards, and that’s a company called “Komputerbay”.

Komputerbay: Good and fast Compact Flash cards for little money.

Komputerbay: Good and fast Compact Flash cards for little money.

Magic Lantern has also provided more details about the nature of the hack and you can read it all in the forums by clicking here.

So in conclusion, that means that you still have to be careful and be aware of the fact that it might be dangerous for your camera and that you are modifying it at your own risk. Having said that, the hack seems to make use of processes that are ALREADY happening inside of this camera and only utilizing/hijacking some of them for all our benefit.

We have already posted an extensive workflow post on how to unlock 24p raw on your 5D Mark III. My partner in crime Sebastian Wöber is currently working on a tutorial video that shows a much simplified process compared to what we posted before – be sure to check back shortly!

 

via nofilmschool and Magic Lantern.

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Al Ordoubadi
Guest
May 18th, 2013

I prefer Arri Alexa. but im waiting for some RED/Arri Lovers to donate me a few hundred thousand USD. Im ok with second hand cameras :P .

Pat
Pat
Guest
May 17th, 2013

This is what confuses me:

Canon have a C500 that has a RAW output, yet no internal RAW recording. If its so simple and safe to record onboard RAW on a 5D, why would Canon not have incorporated this into their C500 which would clearly have better processing power? There’s no benefit to them not having it – if anything it makes the camera less attractive as you have to buy a seperate recorder at $5-10k.

oscar
Guest
May 17th, 2013
Reply to  Pat

Well, the ML team has been unlocking features for years now that Canon did not incorporate for no apparent reason other than marketing purposes ?

randomfish
randomfish
Guest
May 17th, 2013
Reply to  Pat

Same reason why WD has not yet launched 10TB drives, Intel has not realeased 8core consumer processors, Adobe is moving to require rentting of their software rather that letting you to buy it. The list is endless. Monopoly Capitalism is what we have in most areas of our lives atm. And it’s not very good. We could have planetary Wide solar system paid with the money that goes to 1-2 wars if we wanted and did choose so.

Pat
Pat
Guest
May 17th, 2013
Reply to  randomfish

That doesn’t explain why they wouldn’t release a feature on their highest end cinema camera if they could – at the moment this is one of the reasons the Epic is so much better than the C500. Obviously the C500 isn’t built to record RAW. Neither is the 5D.

Arthur
Arthur
Guest
May 17th, 2013
Reply to  Pat

I’d say it is because recording the a raw stream without sound, that can not be played back within the camera or on any other system without previous debayering is not anything that will enthuse many people about a high end Video-Camera. Plus 4-5GB/min for HD Raw is just a freaking lot of data – the Epic can record 5:1 Raw in 5K at that rate (I just shot a project on the Epic and I really don’t like the camera, esp the way it renders skin tones – shot another short on the C500 just afterwards and it’s just amazingly organic and way more filmic in the way it renders skin tones and in terms of highlight rolloff)

So I am really excited about the hack because I love the 5D colors – but Canon could not sell just recording the raw stream as a “feature” … sorry guy, the camera can record raw but like in the old 35mm days without video tap you need to develop the stuff before you can look at it … few people would buy that =)

I hope the hdmi will work simultaneously, then I’d record a ProRes Proxy externally with a ninja and the RAW for the final online conforming.

So to make this more usable and efficient with internal playback and some lossless compression and sound etc. just makes the whole thing more complicated and the available external recorders make it kind of unnecessary to implement it on a C500.

Plus Canon has proven to make a lot of very weird decisions in terms of video products … like the 1DC with 4K 8bit for a price you get a real video-camera, which is not fish nor meat.

Quinton
Quinton
Guest
May 17th, 2013

Would this not be able to work recording to the Ninja 2?

oscar
Guest
May 17th, 2013

strange it says:
KOMPUTERBAY 128GB Professional COMPACT FLASH CARD CF 1000X 90MB/s Extreme Speed UDMA 7 RAW 128 GB

what is the stream required for RAW?

Cause I just ordered the 128 yesterday. hope it works

oscar
Guest
May 17th, 2013
Reply to  oscar

found the answer myself – if anyone else is interested it´s
around 83 MB/s with 14-bit 24fps 1080p

oscar
Guest
May 17th, 2013
Reply to  oscar

So I don´t see why the komputerbay 128GB card wouldent make the cut since it´s rated at 90/MBs. Unless you have a bad card :(

oscar
Guest
May 22nd, 2013
Reply to  oscar

UPDATE:
The Komputerbay 128GB card I just recieved will not rec. in 1920×1080 :( bummer

720 is OK – So for all you other guys don´t trust it to work.

Paul
Paul
Guest
May 16th, 2013

Comparing this system to the Red-anything is just silly. Listen this is a sub £3000 camera that can now shoot raw video. That is quite a big deal however you look at it. Magic Lantern have provided the wider film making community with more options and that has to be a good thing. The workflow and any other problems will be overcome with time.

John Platu
John Platu
Guest
May 16th, 2013

FYI… you may want to avoid recommending the 128GB version of the KomputerBay CF card. Evidence is building that the 128 version had slower real world write speeds than the 64. This prevents 1080p raw recording since the 128 doesn’t seem to attain the 83MB/s minimum write required for 1080p raw recording. The 64GB version seems to test at 90+ MB/s write while the 128GB version tests at 60-70 MB/s write.

John Platu
John Platu
Guest
May 16th, 2013
Reply to  Nino Leitner

Thanks.

Jeffrey Collins
Guest
May 16th, 2013

The camera itself was not made to do these things, live view mode by itself might be nice, but it’s still not going to get you what real RAW footage is going to have. I’ve seen the videos and how they have more depth, but still is such a hard thing for a person to use. Especially when the camera card needs to be super extreme with the speeds, and then you only get around 14 minutes on a 64 gig card. Could end up running you quite a bit of funds in the long run for something that no one is going to pick up on except yourself.

Mr. Blah
Mr. Blah
Guest
May 17th, 2013

Would you be so kind as to further expand on what you consider the phrase “real RAW footage” to mean?

Alex
Alex
Guest
May 17th, 2013

If 14 minutes is too short to you then you certainly have never worked with film. 14 minutes per card is more then enough.

Brian Paulette
Guest
May 16th, 2013

Preferring RED and “real Raw video” is a subjective statement and an opinion that you’re certainly entitled to. Go buy all the used REDs you can afford and use them in good health! But “I can’t wait to see the news of someone using this and their camera going up in flames”? Sorry guy, but this just reveals that you’re an ass and you’ve got an agenda. I don’t know you from Adam, but I’d never wish your gear to explode for any reason.

Jason
Jason
Guest
May 17th, 2013
Reply to  Brian Paulette

Good respond! Some people are completely ignarant

George Tyszkiewicz
Guest
May 16th, 2013

The KomputerBay 128GB cards are apparently too slow! 32GB and 64GB seem to be good.

George Tyszkiewicz
Guest
May 17th, 2013
Reply to  Nino Leitner

Strange.

randomfish
randomfish
Guest
May 17th, 2013

It’s very common that different cards and to the same extent SSD’s of the same product model series have varying speeds between the sizes.

Testing is the only way to be sure. Then there can be batch variance between models. And with so no name product like the komputerbay it’s even more understandable.

Jay Spi
Guest
May 16th, 2013

“The 5D Mark III generates RAW video stream by itself already, it’s used for the live view mode and being converted into H.264 and then written to the card.
Secondly and as a consequence, it means that it’s NOT putting more strain on the sensor or camera as a whole as many suspected. In other words, it won’t melt away, because it’s not doing anything that it wouldn’t do anyway when shooting.”

Casey Hunter
Guest
May 16th, 2013

I do love the RED One, it no longer gets the respect it deserves. That being said, I don’t see any issue with the 5D writing RAW as long as the CF card can keep up. All cameras start with RAW data from the sensor, it usually gets encoded into video at some point in the signal flow. RAW signal flows require much less processing, but more bandwidth to the storage media.

Long story short, I don’t think anybody is going to melt their cameras, perhaps just lose some data if the card is too slow or gets too warm. I’m interested to see the post workflow though.

David Guillemette
Guest
May 16th, 2013

Yeah! And Sony F5 is so much better! Everything under those level sucks sooooo hard. – A pathetic rich guy

Jeffrey Collins
Guest
May 16th, 2013

would rather just buy a used RED and have real Raw video. This camera simply wasn’t made to work that much. I can’t wait to see the news of someone using this and their camera going up in flames.

Andrew Taran
Andrew Taran
Guest
May 16th, 2013

Please, read the article carefully! It’s already there! Sensor is producing RAW images anyway. ML just took off the h264 encoding out of pipeline and just dumps files unto CF Card

James Whale
James Whale
Guest
May 16th, 2013

“I can’t wait to see the news of someone using this and their camera going up in flames.”

Tells you all you need to know..

Lee
Lee
Guest
May 17th, 2013

Red doesn’t shoot raw anyway. It’s compressed. Best compression they have is 3/1 ratio.

Mr. Blah
Mr. Blah
Guest
May 17th, 2013
Reply to  Lee

Red cameras shoot compressed RAW. There is such a thing.
Even Adobe’s DNG format has provisions for levels of compression and both lossy and lossless files. Just because Red’s files are compressed doesn’t mean they’re not still RAW.

Valentino
Guest
June 13th, 2014
Reply to  Mr. Blah

Really guys? The 3/1 compression ratio is mathematically lossless – meaning you don’t loose ANYTHING. Its better than uncompressed in that regards since it is 1/3 the size. Hollywood big budget films normally use 5/1 compression ratio since its visually loss less and if that’s good enough for a 300 million dollar summer blockbuster than that’s certainly good enough for everyone else LOL So YES, RED shoots RAW, its just smart enough to engineer it to be 1/3 the size. Lets not forget, a 6k uncompressed raw file is over 3.2TB per hr at 24fps. Turn on HDR and that doubles. RED HAD to engineer compression or else no SSD on earth could sustain the data rates they are pushing towards.

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