While driving back home from one of our Corporate Video shoots in Jacksonville, photographer Ricardo Trevino and I had the idea of visiting the historical and beautiful city of Saint Augustine. Just a few days ago I had installed the new Magic Lantern Alpha 2 on one of our new Delkin CF 1000x cards. I was looking for the right opportunity to test in the field the Magic Lantern Alpha 2. We had a tremendous opportunity now that we were in the picturesque city of Saint Augustine. Magic Lantern Alpha 2 was really stable with the Delkin CF 1000x card, the only thing that I noticed was that some of the Magic Lantern Alpha 2 menu letters were overlaid on the Canon menu. I think that was not a big issue, the camera and the Delkin CF 1000x card kept up really well shooting at 23.97 fps without any issue. Since we were walking up and down the city I did not carry a tripod with me, that’s why some of the shots are a bit shaky. The continuous raw shooting of the Magic Lantern raw in the Canon 7d made this even more noticeable, even when using the stabilization setting on the lens (Tamron 17-50). I do recommend that you use a tripod or a shoulder mount in order to get steady shots .One of the decisions was to shoot in the neutral picture profile in order to preview the colors, some people use the Portrait Picture Style. Experiment, and remember this is just to have an idea of the final look. It is useless to use a flat picture profile like Cinestyle since the “Magic Lantern Raw Module” doesn’t recognize it.
Editing the Canon 7d raw footage. What really worked for me.
I couldn’t wait too long as you can imagine, the very next morning after arriving in Miami I was already playing with the footage. It took me a while to find a piece of software to process the RAW footage into editable dng files. Humm… and only after about one hour searching on the internet I found the Eye Frame Converter 1.8.0. What a relief was to find a free and simple program to convert all those RAW unmanageable files. Just by dropping the footage into the interface of the Eyeframe 1.8.0 you can convert your RAW files into workable Dng files that can be imported into Davinci Resolve for Color Grading. I tried importing the Dng’s into Premiere Pro CC without success. My workflow so far is to import the dng files into Davinci Resolve 10, do the Color Grading and then export to Adobe Premiere C.C. My final test video is about only 1 minute, the footage is really heavy, every 10 seconds of video is about 1 gig. Once I imported the dng files into my Davinci Resolve timeline I did some exposure tuning and white balance to the footage then applied the M31 LUT from the Osiris LUT package, then did some more color tweaking in order to get the desired look.
Some of the clips were shot in 1600 ISO in order to test the noise levels in post. Yes, there is noise as well as some noticeable moire, that’s really not exciting at least in the Canon 7d Alpha 2 raw module. Even some users of the amazing Canon 5d Mark III complain about this moire and some aliasing in the footage, that’s why many are using the Mosaic Engineering VAF filter in front of the sensor in order to diminish this problem. The dynamic range is amazing, the cropping is awful, and the footage had to be resized to 1080×1920 in post, then apply a mask to resemble anamorphic in order to make it look more cinematic and believable.
Is the Magic Lantern raw module to be used in a real production environment?
The answer is yes and no. The advantage is the amazing 2.5 raw footage that comes out of your Canon 7d. The disadvantage as already mentioned in this post is the weird cropping factor in which you don’t have any control of the focal length. Nevertheless, I will continue experimenting and testing the new raw capabilities of the Canon 7d.