Steve Thornton

Magic Lantern
For photographers and videographers.

3-12-2016 - I have been using Magic Lantern since 11-2013. I own several 5D MKIII cameras and all of them are setup with Magic Lantern. If you want to shoot a full 1080HD video, the only DSLR camera you can use, at the time of this writing, is the Canon 5D MKIII. Other Canon cameras can record RAW video, but at a lesser resolution.

For me, RAW video is just about the only way to shoot. My video projects now match my imagery for color, saturation and treatment. Something I was never able to do before.

At the very bottom are 4 examples of RAW video plus an example of "Normal" video vs. RAW video.

If you elect to shoot Magic Lantern RAW 1080 video, there are some caveats however.


The following is what made me not use Magic Lantern RAW for over a year. Something I have regretted ever since shooting my first RAW video project.

This link is a good place to start, but there is a LOT more to read on the forums:

1-If you are shooting 24fps at 1080p, you will need CF cards that are, at a minimum, 1066x speed UDMA 7. Anything slower and you will drop frames on a fairly regular basis. I use Komputerbay and Sandisk CF 128GB cards.

2-Magic Lantern is not perfect, meaning when you push the record button it may not always start. If this happens turn the camera off and remove the battery. Turn it back on and you will get a message that 'you did not correctly power down the camera and no modules will be loaded.' Turn off the camera again and turn it back back on and it will, normally, work. I do not like this, but it is part of the deal and I do like the results.

Pay CLOSE attention to the red record light. If you are NOT recording and this light stays on over 60-90 seconds, remove the battery immediately!!!!!

3-Be prepared to buy a lot of hard drives. 128GB will give you almost 26 minutes of recording time.

4-The process to convert the RAW video file into something you can use MAY take a long time. I now use Magic Lantern RAW Viewer. Google MlRawViewer_1_3_4 to find it and how to use it.

The advantage to MlRawViewer_1_3_4 is the ability to play the RAW video clip in real time and full screen. Additionally you can set the color balance, use one of several LUTs (Look Up Table) that will give you a "Treatment", add contrast, saturation etc. You can also set in and out points and then you can output a 444 prores file. You can take this file and drop it into any timeline and start to edit.

OR, the long way, instead of creating 444 Prores files, you convert the clip into individual DNG files. If you shoot 24fps, you will have 24 individual DNG files for every second you shoot. Have a 10 second clip? That will make 240 individual DNG files. MlRawViewer_1_3_4 will put all of these files into a folder named based on the original clip's name, as are the DNG files. I assign every project with a serial number, if you do this try to keep it short.

Then go to the folder that has the first clips DNG files and open them in Bridge. Open the first file DNG file and adjust it in Bridge or Lightroom and click "Done". Then highlight all of the other files and choose "Previous Conversion." This will apply all of your settings from the first file to the other files in this folder. Repeat this for all folders remaining.

Then I would suggest you create a Photoshop action to open every file in Photoshop and save these files as either a JPEG, TIFF or PSD file. If you do not need to do any additional work, you can import these JPEG, TIFF or PSD files into Premiere as an "Image Sequence".

If I am shooting something in a controlled lighting environment, like an interview, I rarely shoot RAW. Just about everything else I'll shoot RAW.

This is not for the faint of heart. But if you are all about the final result then it MIGHT be for you.


Examples of RAW Video: Here, here, here and here.

This gives you an idea how powerful shooting RAW video is. Underneath the video is a full description. The last clip is RAW, look at the highlight and shadow details, the color, the sharpness vs. the other 2 clips.


If you want to shoot in darkness and not have a lot of noise, go here. Also shot in RAW. Use full screen to be able to see the difference better.


If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!
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