I recently shot this raw footage using my 50D, and I thought it might be helpful to walk folks through the post-production workflow process.

It’s definitely more labor intensive to shoot raw, but the difference is worth it I think. Here’s footage shot the same night in H.264:

The difference in dynamic range and low-light sensitivity is remarkable in my opinion. A lot of the frame just goes to solid black in the H.264 footage, while so much more detail is preserved in the raw footage. And I have to say I’m super impressed at the quality of the footage shot at night with no additional lighting at such a high ISO as 3200.

In addition, one benefit of shooting raw at this event was that I was stuck in the middle/back of the crowd, so the “crop factor” of shooting in crop mode, which effectively turned my 50mm lens into a 200mm, was of great use, giving me a much more telephoto image in order to see the organizers at the front of the crowd (for example).

Ok, so here are the details of the production. The first video above was shot on the 50D in raw rec mode. 50mm/f1.8 lens, ISO 3200, aperture set to 2.4 or 2.8 to preserve a bit of depth of field that would be lost at 1.8. The first shot was in regular mode at 1568×882. The rest was shot in “crop mode” to increase resolution as well as effectively zoom my 50mm lens from 80mm effective to 200mm effective. I wasn’t able to get continuous recording on the fly at 1920×1080 (I hadn’t had time to test the nightly build and prep before the protest started), so I dropped resolution to something like 1780 in order to record for over a minute or two at a time.

There are lots of options for post-production workflow, but this is mine given my current resources (a 2011 macbook pro and the Adobe CS6 suite):

  1. Convert the ML raw footage to DNGs using RawMagic Lite.
  2. Open the DNGs in After Effects using the Adobe Camera Raw plugin.
  3. Correct exposure, but not much else.
  4. Some people add a filter here to convert the raw footage into a “log” type look here, but I have yet to try that out, so I can’t comment.
  5. Set the project to 16bit (as ML raw records at 14-bit uncompressed, rather than 8-bit H.264 like we are used to).
  6. I use Magic Bullet Resizer to upres the footage to 1920×1080.
  7. Export each shot as ProRes4444 with trillions of colors. I think this is the highest quality way to export, but I’m not certain… would love to hear suggestions on this (or any other aspect of the workflow!) from folks who have more experience.
  8. Then I re-import the master ProRes files to After Effects to do noise reduction (AE won’t allow you to upres and use NR in the same sequence). I use the Neat Video plug in for my noise reduction, with the maximum setting of 5 for best results (but longer processing times).
  9. Set up my shots to render out again at ProRes4444 with trillions of colors and let it run over night.
  10. I now have all of my “master” footage set up as ProRes4444 1920×1080. I might also create ProRes proxy copies of all the shots to do my initial edit, and the relink to the ProRes4444 files when I’m done to create the final, edited master of the project.

This is the workflow I am currently using. Let me know if you have any suggestions for improvements!

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8 Comments

Marchese Dè Rasch Vignoni · February 11, 2015 at 9:41 pm

Everything seems to work fine in your workflow. I normally work whit high end cameras such alexa and red, and in my opinion prores444 is the right choice to preserve the maximum amount of information.
But it looks like you can’t take take all the benefits of a raw file this way.
I mean, a raw file is uncomp, but u’re supposed to have the opportunity to change all the values like color temp, sensitivity, gamma an so…edit a prores file whit a given gamma dosen’t limitate your choice? Why don’t try to ingest the dng footage into a software who can handle it natively (maybe such davinci resolve lite) and do an export only after you’ve done your choice? If this is not possible maybe the theory of export a prores whit a log curve (milky and unsaturated look) helps you to preserve the max data amount. Just need to find an apropriate conversion lut for timing your footage in the right color space…maybe! In the end this is just a QUESTION! 😉

    kamichisholm · February 11, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Marchese, You are touching on all the things I am wondering about. My current computer is too old to run DaVinci, but that is what I will likely use when I can upgrade. So yeah, in the meantime, your other suggestions are definitely things to experiment with!

Dan · February 26, 2015 at 7:13 pm

I often come back to your posts to remind myself of a starting place. I’ve gone the mlv route because I use Cinelog for LUT conversion, etc…BUT Cinelog is somewhat complicated, also a new workflow in AE. You have to love Andy 600! 🙂 Really the Resolve track is the way to head if possible, but my Nvidia card barely cuts it for Resolve and I do love AE. Also the proxy route works for some… if you have the time the proxy round trip is good but time-consuming. Here is a link for a quicker but less flexible route – convert to prorez from MLViewer and edit – http://www.cineticstudios.com/blog/2014/08/the-easy-way-to-use-magic-lantern-raw-straight-to-prores.html
Cheers

    kamichisholm · February 26, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks for the info/links!

Guillaume LANGEVIN · March 11, 2015 at 3:04 am

Hi everybody,
First post here, great forum, thanks a lot ! One year I’m looking for the 50d with all its questions (which card, budget, workflow,…) and I really found here what I was looking for, so thanks again 😉
I’ve bought the 50d one week ago and I should receive a Komputer Bay 64Go 1066x tomorrow (can’t wait…)
With a few test of raw workflow (with a 600d) it appears that the simple way is:
1- Conversion of mlv or raw files with Rawmagic (or another no-loose quality converter) in Pro Res 4444 I agree
2- Editing with your favorite software
3- Color grading and variables correction on Resolve. In fact Resolve is, in my opinion, the only real soft for raw correction. So powerfull tools like the tracker or masks give your shots a real professionnal look.
4- Final corrections with additionnal plugins in your editing software (Noise reduction, SFX,…)

I didn’t try the last version of Resolve, wich the one you can apparently natively import Magic Lantern raw and mlv.
That would make the workflow easier again !

James Segwell · August 11, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Thank you for the only and full tutorial that I’ve found so far regarding shooting video with the 50D. What I really want to know is what is the max continuous recording time as of 2016 (with whatever the fastest and biggest card there is out there) in RAW mode and also in H264.

Many thanks

    drkamikaze · December 17, 2016 at 8:18 am

    I’m still working with the tech I describe here. Other than also getting a 7D, which shoots RAW better than the 50D, I haven’t changed anything. So I can’t answer your question.

Magic Lantern Setup, Settings, and Shooting Raw HD on the 50D | ALTCINEMA · January 12, 2015 at 8:17 pm

[…] Now that you’ve set up your camera and shot some footage, what do you do? Here is what my post-production workflow looks like. […]

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