Magic Lantern return with a vengeance!!

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Me and Tramm Hudson

It’s been all quiet on the Magic Lantern front for some time, ever since the 24p update really. But the genius that is Tramm Hudson has hit back with a new version for 5DmkII firmware 2.0.8 which has all the previous ML trimmings but now gives us “GH13″ style upped bit rates

This simply gives us better compression rates well less compression really. Obviously fast cards are needed and the video buffer clearly cannot cope with the high ones but it’s going to be fun to see how far the camera can be pushed…I know from tests that have been done the hight bit rates don’t like a lot of movement in the frame either so a fair bit of work still to be done but it’s a great start.

Personally though the bit rate has never been the issue with the Canons, it’s the line skipping which causes the moire and aliasing. Increasing the bit rate is not going to fix this. This is a far more fundamental issue with the camera and I cannot see a firmware update fixing this. A new way of sampling the sensor is needed…for the GH1 it was different the 17mbp/s was simply too low. AVCHD 24mb/s is superb and of course the higher ones with the hack are even better. We just must not get too caught up in numbers. It’s not the bit rate that makes the camera and I guarantee you just by going over 50mb/s will not make it acceptable for full BBC HD acquisition!

Below is what it can offer you..

+8 30p 7 Mbps Very low quality
-9 24p 32 Mbps
-10 24p 41 Mbps
-11 24p 51 Mbps
-12 24p 59 Mbps
-13 24p 62 Mbps
-14 24p 66 Mbps Best, sustainable in 24p mode?
-15 24p 68 Mbps 2 buffer bars
-16 24p 76 Mbps Only a few seconds

I have not tried this myself yet but will soon. This won’t screw with your camera…well it shouldn’t as it’s all RAM based so don’t be too scared to try it (but if you do end up with a brick then it’s not my fault!)

Check out this video below of test bitrates and go to the ML wiki page here. To be honest you cannot really tell much from this. We really need to see blow ups of frames to see if there is any difference…

PLEASE donate some cash to Tramm to thank him for all his unpaid work he is doing for the community. Paypal link on this wiki page.

Canon 5d Mark II 76 MBps Test with Magic Lantern High Bit Rate Firmware from RockStar Media on Vimeo.

Shot on a Canon 5d Mark II with a 24-70 mm Canon L-Series Lens.

Comparing the 3 top bit rate settings on the new Magic Lantern Bit Rate Firmware.


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  1. Intriguing stuff! I’ve viewed the clip several times and can’t honestly detect any difference between the 66, 68, and 76 mps (I think the “normal” 5D Mark 2 runs at ~35?)– slthough this clip is probably compressed anyway. Apart from more detail at these higher feedrates, would there be greater expected latitude in colour grading? Less artifacts/aliasing/moire?

  2. Tim James says:

    I’m a little naive on these sorts of things. Could you give a brief explanation of what I’m looking at? While I’m sure there are lots of others who get the idea, I’m afraid it’s a bit lost on me.

  3. rgota says:

    Waiting for some real usage for the new hack, this does not tell me that much.
    Can’t wait to see something from you


  4. Visually, I can’t tell the difference 66 from 68.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      yeah the test shows very little

  5. Very cool. I’ve not heard of Magic Lantern doing much with the 7D. As i’m a budget film maker should I expect them to show some 7D appreciation? Thanks for the post and information Philip!

    1. Dale says:

      From what I understand having read up on the project a bit is that the 7D has more protection measures/is harder to hack….
      There are some hacks for the 550D/T2i/kissx4 so they are shunning the 7D on purpose it is just not easy to do : )

  6. Tim James says:

    If I’d read a little closer (was that there before) I’d have seen it. Thanks.
    Still waiting for your final thoughts on the 60D.

  7. Coralio says:

    Looking forward to see your test results

  8. jim bruno says:

    thanks for reporting this news. kinda feels a little a little like your april 1st post :-))))) great news. seems to open up our 5Ds to greater possibilities, too! rock on!

  9. James Miller says:

    I managed to get 1:27 with full bit rate (-16) 25p, lots of moving and walking from dark to light. Buffer 1 bar then full and stopped.

    Card: 8GB SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s UDMA

    Card formated with the mac in disk utilities, zero all data. Then flash format in camera and load ML.

    ISO 640 – The shadow detail in high ISO is where this shines.

  10. With two DIGIC 4 processors, what a 7D could do?

    1. I meant how many Mbps!

  11. Jon Chema says:

    Phil do you know why there hasn’t been a magic lantern firmware hack for the 7D? Also, do you think this bit rate will improve mid-tones specifically skin tones?

  12. Despite the fact that we can’t really tell the difference between the images, and the fact that this new ML feature may not solve moir√© or aliasing issues, Mr. Hudson must have had a sound reason for working specifically on this issue.

    But what is it?

    Would this make a difference in 5D meeting broadcast standards?

    Or does it just mean a subtle improvement in shadow detail?

    Who knows the answer?

  13. Andrew Mills says:

    Full screen on this laptop, I can’t see any difference. Probably due to being breathed upon by Vimeo for display on the web. :/

  14. Of Course We won’t see any difference here, because Vimeo compress 10 times more the original footage !! we need to download the original file !

    1. Now the download is active ! yesss ! you can download it !

  15. James Miller says:

    Just doing a quick test by reducing the visible information on screen with a black card aperture over the sensor, whilst the shutter is up. (Not for the faint hearted)

    The result is I can record full bit rate (-16) at 25p for, well as long as I wanted (ran out of room).

    Card: 8GB 60MB/s UDMA SanDisk.

    Heath Robinson style 2:35 Ratio.

  16. I didn’t even hit play, there’s no point on seen a higher-res video… reencoded by vimeo just like any other one

    still, I’m sure it’s marginally better, and I can see this being useful for things like green-screen and such

    for me, as a 550D owner, the better news is that there seems to be a full magic-lantern for 550D in the works (so far only a pre-alpha with just audio monitoring and lens info, but let’s hope zebras-histogram-waveform, manual audio and custom cropmarks come in the first beta version)

  17. Adrian says:

    I wonder if the 5DmarkII hardware is capable of doing the 720p -50p 60p frame rate?
    I got no idea, but If it’s possible looks like it’ll come out first from mastermind Tramm Hudson than from Canon

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      i highly doubt it. That sensor would overheat like crazy

  18. Perhaps for the next version of the DSLRs, Canon should just focus on giving clean HDMI outputs at both 720p 50/60fps and 1080p 24/25fps and allow those that need it to record it on an external device (Ninja, Nanoflash, maybe a Canon optimized one!?)

    If they want to do this in-camera, they need to change the form factor to give the processors more room for coolers, etc. Before you know it, you’ll end up with a vaccuum cleaner like the AF100. Accomodating coolers is also the main reason why the Alexa is a much bigger camera.

    I like the DSLRs for their form factor, as it allows me to shoot in places where you would be normally asked for permits with a regular video camera. I guess you discovered this as well with the field tests in Japan for Panasonic, Philip?

  19. I’m sure I’m being stupid, but I can’t seem to see the link for downloading the firmware. I followed the link but the only one I can see is 0.1.6
    Am I missing something?
    Great site by the way.

    1. Igor Babic says:

      To download ML 0.1.9 for firmware 2.0.8 (you have to update with original canon firmware before use of ML), sign in to ML wiki and use this link.

      Be carefull, its beta. My 5D hangs regulary with it. It hangs always if I leave headphone pluged in after powering on. You have to put out your battery to bring him back again. Disable automatic sensor cleaning if you want ML autoboot to Live view.

      Other than this its fantastic update for PAL users when comes out from beta. VU meter all the time, remaining space on card in minutes and seconds, cropmarks(you can draw your own or download Tramms), manual selection for INT/EXT mic, and full control over audio levels and balance. Zebra and peaking are great but uselles for me, too slow and too obtrusive. Histogram when recording and lens info are also great stuff.

      With ML my 5D looks and feel almost like XDCAM EX, sort of…