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Messages - basementvision

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For a Long time I wanted to try out ML RAW but couldn't afford the right equipment. I have been traveling for the past few years and my first post to this forum years back was about using ML while shooting a documentary film about coral reefs, where I was shooting on my 7D for all of my scuba underwater shoots. I purchased a 5dii last August and built a nice lens collection over the years. Last week I embarked on a trip with my partner, to go and shoot in the Southern Alps of New Zealand for social media content for two commercial brands. So I took the plunge to get hold of a fast memory card and finally have a go at shooting ML RAW in a place which would look ultra incredible.

I wanted to compile my experience on here incase anyone could benefit from what I learnt in a small amount of time with a focus on using ML RAW to film in sub zero temperatures and within a lightweight backcountry setup, and also to enjoy some shots from the mountains! I am a travel filmmaker from England, currently pitched up in New Zealand. For the past ten years I have shot across America, Europe, Asia and most lately in the Oceania region.

Setting off for a week of adventure in the snow, I had the following key items in my bag along with lots of other kit which I might end up mentioning:
- 5d ii
- 16-35mm f4 IS, 24-105mm f4 IS, 70-200mm f4 IS
- Lexar 1066x 64gb
- Macbook Pro & Sandisk card reader
- SYRP Genie & Magic Carpet
- Manfrotto 535 carbon sticks w/501 head

I picked up the memory card the day before my flight so I had no time to practice with it. I have been reading these forums for some time in order to prepare for the experience, so first things I did with the card after unboxing was to run a bench speed test. I was somewhat disappointed with the results, and immediately thought I had bought a dud card (from a private seller in Auckland NZ, which I had swapped for an old Rode shotgun mic). I then did a bit more reading and found out that this could be due to the really old build, from 2013, that I was using! After downloading the latest build and installing it to the card and camera, I had somewhat worse results?

Old build test 5dii w/ Lexar 1066x 64gb CF:

New build test 5dii w/ Lexar 1066x 64gb CF:

I set up for a really quick test and set the resolution to the highest I read you can shoot on the 5dii, 1856x1044, which would work just fine for me stretching out to full 1080, or down to 720 if needed. I had just bought myself a new 16-35mm f4 IS, so it was also my first test with that. But I didn't have long to play around as like normal, I had left all my packing to the last moment :). I got a burst of around 20 seconds I think it was until ML stopped the recording automagically. I dumped the .RAW to my computer and unpacked with raw2dng. This gave me a folder with all the individual frames, and also a PRORES .mov - I then proceeded to select all the frames, and open in PS for some quick CC.

Already very impressed with the increased dynamic range compared to the factory video from the camera. Colour correction was very easy (exactly how I treat my RAW photos). Once complete, a simple batch save to JPEG and then import as sequence into Premiere. I will be continuing this post with the results from my shooting, so please do follow and if I can answer any questions then by all means fire away - although I am completely new to this way of shooting too :).

Link to h264 exported clip:

General Chat / Re: ML on my 7D - taking it underwater
« on: December 08, 2012, 02:40:22 PM »
Sorry I have not kept this project updated. Have been completely busy shooting!

Just a little teaser for you all, im now taking ML into the air for a job...

General Chat / Re: ML on my 7D - taking it underwater
« on: November 17, 2012, 02:49:03 PM »
Arrived back in the Maldives this week from the UK. Will start my project up now!

Had a couple of short shoots in a fish market and aerial session from a sea plane yesterday. Absolutely stoked with the quality coming through a new L series lens compared to my old EFS one..!

General Chat / Re: ML on my 7D - taking it underwater
« on: October 22, 2012, 06:39:40 PM »
Me too... Had the problem of trying to dump the ML DL to card through a generic USB cable and wouldn't let me. I presume It was the non Canon cable and that a CF card reader would do the trick?

Shooting in the surf is the best spot. I am a surfer though  ;D

General Chat / Re: ML on my 7D - taking it underwater
« on: October 21, 2012, 05:38:31 PM »
Ran into some problems installing, so now waiting on a CF card reader to get the ML DL onto my cards...

3 Weeks today fly off to the Indian Ocean. Looking forward to some shooting!

General Chat / Re: ML on my 7D - taking it underwater
« on: October 19, 2012, 07:45:58 PM »
Yeah the stock port on the GoPro housing will do that. Just remeber that in water focal distances change due to refraction. Could be interesting to do a test with the GoPro and how its effected by depth?

I always shot on my 10-22mm Canon lens. I actually forgot to take the zoom gear last shoot so I had to pick the focal length and leave it for each dive, I set it from anywhere from 12mm - 22mm, depending on what I wanted to film. But for best general footage I found 16/17mm to be the best as it was able to pick up a good range of animals in the water column. Remember, on that lens at 10mm you get nasty edges, under the water it looks even worse so you gotta start at around 12mm.

I always stuck to f8. Focus is very flat in the water, and its actually the dome that the camera mostly focuses on anyway. I used auto focus which I pre set before any video shot, again, depending on the subject.

Here is something extremely important that I found last shoot. I read about putting a +2 - +4 close up filter on to get better edges and be able to focus on smaller creatures and get in closer. That was all true, but I found the whole image was much softer than without the filter. From now on I will only use the filter for close up work.

Have you shot much underwater footage yourself then 3point?

General Chat / Re: ML on my 7D - taking it underwater
« on: October 19, 2012, 12:00:34 AM »
Thanks 3point! On GoPro, its better to use a flat port. The dome distorts the image a fair amount and reduces the overall IQ the deeper you dive. The flat ports were meant to fix that problem, but I have not yet used/owned a GoPro so only going on what I've been told. But I have ordered the new H3 Black edition and super excited to try it. Check this video out if you dare...

As for smooth shots, yes camera mass AND grip is key. The GoPro is so small it will pickup all your hand movements. Have you seen any grip for it? My Ikelite housing has two big handles either side of the rig which steadies everything out. When held out at arms length everything feels nice and rigid. However, check out some of my moving/swimming shots in my video clip. They make me sick they are so shaky! I applied motion stabilising for my finals (not to the video above) and the shots turned out lovely. A small amount of post can really smooth out something like mild hand shake in the water. ALSO, snorkelling shots is harder to get than diving shots. Mainly due to the amount of time you have to set the shot up vs running out of air. The BCD jacket while diving also helps to stabilise everything, thus giving smoother movements through the water. Always wear fins in the water, diving or not. Ever tried fins then took them off to compare against bare foot? Feels like your bare feet would get you absolutely nowhere!

General Chat / Re: ML on my 7D - taking it underwater
« on: October 17, 2012, 06:05:55 PM »
I have the Ikelite 7D housing with 8" dome port. I use my 10-22mm nearly all the time, but it will also fit a few other lenses such as the standard 18-135, 50mm and some others. I do intend to upgrade to something around the 17-35mm range in time, but on top of the lens I would need a bigger port which connects the body to the dome.

May I ask what rack focus is? I have tripods for use under water so could get some good macro pull focuses. The most interesting stuff down there is on a minute/macroscopic level. Check this rough cut out from my documentary, at 40 seconds. The small corals are nearly 1cm across. Once stabilised in post (and coloured and in HD etc!) it looks really nice. This was shot on the wide angle, but the same thing with a macro or zoom lens could get some nice results with a pull focus I think?

I have access to nearly every button on the camera. I am about to see if I can configure my zoom gear to go on the focus ring.

As for making a housing, I personally would not bother. As Pelican said about his friend, I am sure the pressure build up would crush anything amatuer. Even a small breech in any o'ring for buttons, lenses, main access etc would result in a flooded camera in no time. Remember, pressure only 10m is 2 atmospheres, and there are serious health restrictions on rising to the surface straight away, even from that depth.

Share Your Videos / Re: magiclantern shooting underwater
« on: October 17, 2012, 12:17:34 AM »
Nice underwater footage. But especially liked the shots of the local peoples.

I just started a topic to document my progress with ML underwater over my next shoot in the Indian Ocean. Will be there for 3-6 months so let me know if I can test anything out!

General Chat / Re: Arctic expedition
« on: October 16, 2012, 11:47:57 PM »
Voted, best of luck.

General Chat / ML on my 7D - taking it underwater
« on: October 16, 2012, 11:41:54 PM »
Hello everyone,

My first postings here so please forgive me for anything amatuer! I have heard of ML here and there over the years but never really took too much interest. I bought my 7D just over a year ago, really for photography as I was shooting on Sony HDV cams for my work. Moving out of promotional/advertisement work and into photojournalism/documentary, I have really fallen into the love for shooting on DSLR for many reasons. In fact, I don't know why I keep my video cameras and they will probably be up for sale this month!

So back to my post. I have made the choice to install ML onto my 7D now that it is available. In mid November I fly back to the Indian Ocean for a period of time to live and work on a documentary film about the conservation of coral reefs and marine life in the Indian Ocean -

Underwater, I shoot purely on the 7D. So really, I would love to speak with anyone that might be using ML under the water already! I am very excited to have a wealth of new features on my camera that I did not have last shoot.

I will keep this topic updated as much as I can, as hopefully it might serve as useful to someone in the future who might be looking for information on shooting with Magic Lantern underwater on the Canon 7D.


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