Problems you might encounter working with Magic Lantern cDNG RAW


After writing about Canon 5D Mark III and how you can turn it into professional video camera, I didn’t mention that there are some minor problems you might encounter. Because Magic Lantern is a fan made hack for Canon DSLR’s, you can’t always rely on it (though you don’t even on professional tools).


You can run on few glitches that could ruin your shoot or even day. Since many Magic Lantern updates, I had rarely encounter anything new to ruin my shoot. The worst that happened was broken CF card, which was my own fault buying cheap one for such demanding data transfers. A 64GB card is full in just 12 minutes.

  1. Don’t buy cheap Compact Flash card
    Komputerbay is one of such I had bad experience within just few month of non-demanding usage. It just stopped working. I have good experience with Toshiba 1066x 64GB card. Same with Sandisk 32GB Extreme Pro.
  2. Drop frames with fast enough cards
    Sometimes it’s good to format the cards inside the DSLR. If you encounter drop frames, format your camera. Just don’t forget to copy files that were already shoot.
  3. Loosing last file when card is full
    Magic Lantern doesn’t have a timer till full card, so you’ll need to be aware of how many photos you still have till card is full and try to control of how many minutes of footage you can still make. You will need to turn off and on the camera to correctly see number of photos till full. Another options you should tick is the “Reserve card space” in RAW video sub-option. It takes few seconds to start the first video on fresh card, but saves the last file if card is full.
  4. While recording video don’t push zoom button
    It will crash and removing the battery is a must. After restart you’ll need to turn off and on DSLR again for RAW module to load properly.
  5. Avoid green casts on footage
    There are some options to tick before shooting; “Fix black level”, “Extra hacks”, “Use SRM job memory”, “Buffer fill method (4)”, “CF-only buffers (1)” and previously mentioned “Reserve card space”. FPS override option should be set, mine is on 25.000.
  6. Extracting .mlv files without Chroma smoothing
    One thing you should be careful when extracting your MLV/RAW files in to cDNG’s is when you have a ticked Chroma smoothing, you might encounter strange green dots on overexposed parts of video. Make sure to use this with cation.
  7. Overexposed frames
    Sometimes I notice that something flashes on screen while recording. It is one overexposed frame that stands out and can’t be fixed when adjusting exposure settings in post-production. Maybe it can be compensated manual finding it among hundreds of files… but I rather make another take if I spot a flash while recording. Less work in post-production.
  8. Magic Lantern RAW Video Converter 1.9.1 doesn’t extract all frames
    Many times I’ve noticed that only about thousand frames were extracted from .mlv, while it should be a lot more. It’s probably a bug in this software, so I try another software MLVMystic. While this one has another problem, that some extracted .mlv’s don’t even have one frame. So, I use first one for whole batches and second to extract the big files if needed.
  9. Always record on CF card
    When you’ll be changing your CF cards to copy files, don’t forget to check if the DSLR has picked right card. In many times it changes to SD card and when you push record you’ll have just a second written on it, it will freeze for few seconds and only then you can change back to CF card.
  10. Adobe After Effects reports an error when importing cDNG’s
    This happened rarely but when I wanted to replace the proxy files with cDNG’s to continue with source files, Adobe reports an error with one of the file…. I just save the project, restart computer and try again. If you didn’t delete any frames from source, it should work.

In case anyone had experience any more problems working with ML cDNG’s, please report them in comment or on djjuvan@gmail.com. A solution is welcomed too.

Stay sharp!

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