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L4ST - Canon 5d mark III RAW - Survival


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First of all, here's the end result:




And here's the story:


We recently embarked on an adventure. To shoot a shortfilm that is loosely inspired by “Last of Us†(and more recently even DayZ)- games. It would be in length somewhere around 5-10 minutes, with some action and survival elements but still focusing on the characters and their point-of-view. Survival would be the name of the game.

But we would shoot it on RAW. Specifically the Canon 5d mark III- RAW which Magic Lantern had enabled.
This turned out to be easier and also harder than I first imagined. We had shot some specific tests using the hack earlier, a couple of fights scenes and just nature. Stuff everyone does when they first try it out. So I was somewhat prepared for the postwork. But it actually changed the way I even shoot stuff. For the better.
Using the RAW- mode itself is easy. You just set the settings correct (framerate, resolution) and have a fast enough card. We were using the Transcend 1000x 128GB card which gave us about 25 minutes of 1920x860. I thought that was maybe enough if we just shot everything very meticulously.
But when we started shooting I realized a huge difference. Before RAW I was not even thinking that much, hurrying from shot to shot to get the coverage I needed for the edit. But now I couldn’t do that anymore. Because of having only one card and transferring 128GB stuff took a long time, I had to develop my shooting skills. I had to shoot like shooting with film. Thinking about shots.
No more would I take a shot if we didn’t plan it first. I couldn’t just wave the camera around yelling orders and just take a bunch of random nonsense. I had to slowdown. This actually really improved my shooting. As someone who had never gone through filmschool and just started shooting with cams in the DVX100 era, I had developed this method of “just shootâ€. Which meant that I wouldn’t really tinker that much with shots after awhile. RAW- and the difficulties in shooting with it actually improved my skills. Which I really didn’t think would happen.
We ran into a bunch of problems when the card inevitably ran out and had to wait hours for stuff to transfer (I didn’t think we would run out so that computer we were transferring to had only USB2.0). The camera also sometimes did a hardlock or screwed a shot. But those didn’t happen that often to be a real problem. They were little nuisances. But the gradability of the shots just jumped out. We shot everything in very low light, with a lot of ISO 3200. RAW- really handled that lighting well. There was noise but it was organic. A bit of sensor pattern in the dark areas but manageable.
Postwork was a bit time consuming because I was going through AE, doing the DNxHD-files for the edit and grading. After “firstlight†in AE, I never want back to the original RAW- files. The DNxHD’s were good enough through the whole post-process.
What I learned is... Sometimes the difficulty and limits of shooting (in my case, shot limits) makes you think and that can prove to be more fruitful than getting it all easy.
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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Like the movie, well done


may i ask what lenses did you use and what other equip... and also i can imagine your DnxHD files were HUGEEEE and export in AE took hours or days :D ... how did your computer cope with those huge files from RAW2 cdng s ... whats specs workflow ( pc + AE only) or Davinci and so on ,,, I can imagine how slow is on USB 2.0 cuz in USB 3.0 its rly fast

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, mostly used the 20mm sigma f1.8. It's a great lens for wideangle shots following people and blurring the backgrounds!


It did take some time to export, but if you just leave the computer to it during the night, it's usually done by the morning. Depending on the amount of material and multicore settings etc. Davinci is way faster than AE though. You can export stuff in 30 minutes that would take hours on AE.

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