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01 October 2014

Magic Lantern RAW Video Workflow

Recently, here at Creativity we’ve been testing some new ways of filming our videos. We’ve been using magic lantern for quite a while now, but we’ve never gone in to Raw Video due to the fact that the camera we use is somewhat limited (It’s a Cannon EOS 600D/T3i), and our cards don’t really support the speed for unlimited continuous recording.

Recently, we updated to one of the Aug 2013 Nightly Builds, and we’ve seen that at 1152×482 25p we’ve been able to achieve stable RAW recording.

1. How to extract the MLV files in to a usable .dng image sequence

Screenshot 2014-08-26 19.37.02


When you first get the clips off the camera, you will get a folder for each clip, and in that folder you will get a .MVL file and maybe a .IDX

We are going to be using mlv_dump to extract the .dng images. You can find it here.

I’m going to be doing this on my MacBook Pro, but i’m sure if you google about you’ll find instructions for pc’s or linux.

Open up the terminal, drag the mlv_dump.osx file into it, type in ” –dng -o ” and then drag your MLV file in to the terminal window twice. Your terminal window should look something like this:

Screenshot 2014-08-26 19.50.07


This will bring in the mlv_dump script, output the dng, set the output name to the original file name plus the frame number and select the input file. By hitting enter you should see it start extracting the .dng files.

Once you have your .dng image sequence you are pretty much ready to start editing… almost.

2. Editing RAW video

RAW image sequences require a ridiculous data rate, depending on the resolution that you shoot it at. Therefore you either need to store your files on a super fast SSD drive, or if you’re like me and prefer external HDD’s for your media, convert your clips to a proxy format.

For this i will be using DaVinci Resolve Lite 11 as it seems to be the most efficient, plus it can handle a round trip through Premiere Pro.

The first thing to do is import all of the media files. Make sure to assign tape names based on the source name, this will help premiere understand what clips it’s using.

Here we are using a mix of RAW video and traditional .mov files as we were still testing out the RAW capabilities of the camera.

Screenshot 2014-10-01 00.42.04


After all the media has been brought in, i just created a timeline with all the clips. This will serve as our export.

Screenshot 2014-10-01 00.44.57

You don’t need to do anything in the color tab, but feel free to do some temp adjustments if you have the time.

Then, in the export tab, you can just render the sequence as “Individual Source Clips”, in an easy to edit format like Apple ProRes, DNxHD or even H.264.

3. Round tripping to Premiere

We can’t use screenshots here, cause that would reveal too much on what we are working on, but basically the idea is to edit using the proxy files we just rendered, and when we are done just export a Final Cut Pro XML, and re-import it in our DaVinci Resolve project.

When importing back in to DaVinci though, you should deactivate the checkbox that allows davinci to automatically find new media. This will force davinci to use the original MLV files based on their tape names.

After that you should be ready to color correct and add any effects you need. After all davinci is quite a capable editor.

Stay tuned to see the final result of our work and let us know if it’s worth going the extra mile to shoot raw video.


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