Author Topic: My setup for using .MLV files in DaVinci Resolve from recording to editing  (Read 14022 times)


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Hi all,

ML is a great tool and has a great community! I've been researching on how to use my equipment to get high quality video with audio into DaVinci Resolve for editing. I just got everything to work after a couple of days work and just wanted to share my experience.

I'm a journalist with some aspirations to shoot documentary... and wanted a run and gun camera that's rugged and can be used demanding situations, but at the same time deliver high quality files for editing. I'll post the finished list of things that I use to get the .MLV files converted and into DaVinci Resolve 11 for editing, then I'll post some thoughts from my research:

My equipment:
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Firmware: 1.2.3
ML version: 1.2.3 (Built on: 2015-04-28 02:13:03 +0200)
Computers: ASUS ROG 751 -> 16GB RAM, Windows 8.1, NVIDIA 980M GTX.
and Macbook Air (mid 2014)
CF card: Komputerbay 256gb CF formatted in exFAT
Lens: Canon USM ii 70 - 200mm zoom lens
USB 3.0 Media Reader — FCR-HS3 (transfer from CF to computer):

Programs in post production:
Converting .MLV to DNG: RAWMagic (NOTE: only compatible with OSX!)
Editing: Resolve Lite 11

Camera settings:
RAW video (MLV) 1920x1080
Aspect ratio 16:9
Files > 4GB (exFAT)
MLV Sound: ON
Movie Tweaks: Movie logging: ON, Dim rec led: ON
FPS: 23.976

Modules activated in camera:
file_man OK
mlv_play OK
mlv_rec OK
mlv_snd OK

I have two cards in the canon. One SD with the Magic Lantern install, and CF cards that i can record to. I leave the SD card in the camera at all times, and just switch CF cards. I use the Kingston USB CF card reader to transfer the .MLV files that are created in the camera to my Macbook Air computer.

From there, insert the MLV:s into RAWMagic, convert them with default settings. Move the converted files unto an external hard drive, and move them from there to my ASUS ROG main computer.

These files are now ready to be used in DaVinci Resolve.

The biggest issue was for me to convert the .MLV files to DNG that DaVinci Resolve could read. I have read a ton of reviews, and blogposts etc to get this working in Windows to no avail. I'll post the research and comments so that others can read and comment to maybe save some time. There might be tweaks and other workflows possible that I do not know about but none that I've found. If you know of something else please comment.

These programs did not work for me:
Raw2cdng 1.7.4:
After conversion the clip is broken up in 1 audiofile and several smaller clips in resolve. It's possible to connect them on the timeline and then try to sync the audio via "Auto-sync audio based on timecode" but it's not working all the time.

Raw2cdng 1.6.5:
This one delivers one file complete with audio in DaVinci Resolve but the playback is broken. When previewing the clips, they won't play. If put on the timeline in DaVinci Resolve I can play them and edit them. But the playback does not work. One workflow is to put them on timeline, then export them in some high quality format, and then edit that file again. But that's too much work for me to get non-RAW files working.

MlRawViewer (discontinued)
Does a good job for previews of the .MLV:s! If you want to preview you workflow and watch the quality of the photos you've taken I recommend this software. Can also export high quality mov or DNG. However, it was not possible for me to edit the DNG:s in resolve. The .MOV files works, however.

MLV Mystic
The most promising program. Discontinued as far as I can tell, though. Will deliver two files in DaVinci Resolve, one for the audio and one for the movie. Just add the movie to the timeline and then add the audio to that and link them.

Program I settled with for the conversion:
Not open source and I don't want to endorse this in any way, since I know that the administrators in the forum really just want programs that are open source. The workflow is kind of funky since you'll need OSX to be able to convert. But this is what worked for me - just drag and drop MLV, convert with default settings and import into DaVinci Resolve. Yes, you need a mac for this, but I didn't find another way of doing just what I wanted. Just writing what worked for me.

Since I wanted audio embedded with the .RAW footage it was not an option for me to record in just .RAW (I used .MLV format) and I also put value in having as neat workflow as possible and not converting between all kinds of programs just to get going with the editing. If you don't have mac and have some other ideas of what's working then do tell. I'd rather not have to do that step as well, and just have everything on my ASOS ROG workstation.

But in the end: Now I can record high quality footage on my Canon 5d Mark iii, and edit it in DaVinci Resolve. The camera is super comfortable to run and gun with, and with the magic lantern hack it's fricking awesome image quality.

I love the work that everyone does in the community, and this is not a shitpost to trash talk anyone in any way. I know that the open source contributors are doing a great work, and I've had really good times trying all of their programs. They are doing an amazing job, and I do hope that more people donate and contribute to the ML community so that they can continue their work of refining the software for recording and conversion and editing.

And I hope that this post can help some others along the way to getting their workflow going.


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Re: My setup for using .MLV files in DaVinci Resolve from recording to editing
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2015, 07:51:35 AM »
@Danne @rullebullefrulle


I can't get MLV sound directly in Resolve 12 BETA. Just drag and drop manually the audio file.

Different to the explanation, I can get al the DNG works in Resolve 12, for mac, in all the softwares.

Any ideas to do the audio process directly?



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Re: My setup for using .MLV files in DaVinci Resolve from recording to editing
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2015, 09:05:42 AM »
On the PC  Raw2Cdng Version 1.6.5 is the stable one,
MLVProducer for Windows A very promising app works on PC & Mac with Wine I think , has ACR like controls , exports .mov, tiff etc.. but not Cdng yet.
You can also view your .raw & .mlv files. (I Like this App a lot )
For MAC or PC use  MLVFS is the quickest way to get Cdng's . Works Cross plate form (PC-MAC)
Install PFMAP
Download dllmlvfs.dll
Then register the MLV formatter DLL:
Code: [Select]
pfm register mlvfs.dllright-click on an MLV file and select "Quick Mount".

Work Very well , it not as robust  as on the MAC but dose the job , make sure you have the DNG codec for windows installed also.
Also if you can I would install or make a raid"0" drive (2 or more of the same size) as the working drive.
I have a (4) disk array 2TBx4=8TB raid"0" Read/Write 630MB/s
If you work in resolve you will want to have a fast working drive, I preview in full 16bit resolution  in realtime with correction nodes
to my reference grading monitor.

Just my two cents  ;)


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Re: My setup for using .MLV files in DaVinci Resolve from recording to editing
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2015, 01:21:18 PM »
Is cr2hdr-r working with embedded audio in davinci resolve 12 or not? Can,t follow exactly what you mean?


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Re: My setup for using .MLV files in DaVinci Resolve from recording to editing
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2015, 11:23:20 AM »

I updated this night my problem.

MLFVS works perfect with the new Resolve 12 - final version 2 days ago: DNG and Audio linked.
And for plató - for check in the set -  I'm using MLRawviewer.

off topic: It's huge the color difference for DNGs extracted by each program in Resolve, applying the same setting. MLFVS it's more precise.

I will try and test how to compress the DNGs.

@reddeercity thanks for the explanation. Very usefull.


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Re: My setup for using .MLV files in DaVinci Resolve from recording to editing
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2015, 05:02:06 AM »
@budafilms, you very welcome hope is make post work faster .


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Re: My setup for using .MLV files in DaVinci Resolve from recording to editing
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2015, 07:01:08 PM »
Interesting post!


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Re: My setup for using .MLV files in DaVinci Resolve from recording to editing
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2015, 08:48:42 PM »
Great post by @rullebullefrulle

Looks like a user who spends more time shooting than posting. Too bad that so many of the applications didn't work out. There should be something that works for both Mac and PC without having to have one of each computer platform. It looks like the issue is converting mlv to dng and wav files that work with DaVinci Resolve. I would think that mlv_dump would do the job. Yeah, it is a command line program but once you figure out what options work best for you simply save them in a script. In addition mlv_dump is in the Magic Lantern repository and is actively maintained so if there's a problem with it, someone here can probably fix it.

MLVFS also works great on the Mac, never tried it in Windows, but I think that what is needed are dng frames to use in Resolve so you would need to export them from the virtual drive--which is easy to do.

Of course there are other projects that support mlv (MLV Producer looks promising) but please continue reporting what works best for you.

Thanks for the excellent post @rullebullefrulle !
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Re: My setup for using .MLV files in DaVinci Resolve from recording to editing
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2015, 08:29:22 AM »
Kudos to @rullebullefrulle on not only posting an excellent post to start with but what a wonderful way to start the conversations within the community with this particular thread of yours and ain't the the beauty of ML?  :D

I personally think (coming from a Mac perspective) is that the workflow coming from either MLVFS or cr2hdr-r which has served me well over the years when it comes to shooting MLV Raw especially if you want to use Resolve.

btw, how do you like to color grade your footage -- like which log do you like to start off with, if any?

Thanks for the excellent post, once again @rullebullefrulle and keep 'em coming!
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Re: My setup for using .MLV files in DaVinci Resolve from recording to editing
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2016, 06:34:31 PM »
Hi all,

thanks for your replies. @DeafEyeJedi I just generally just import the files into Davinci Resolve, edit the clips on the timeline (sound editing, cutting, arranging clips) and the move on to grading. For grading I choose a couple of hero shots, grade them to look as similar as possible. Then I grade the rest of the shots so that I have a suitable base grade for the whole project. After that it's easier to get creative with LUTs and whatnot :) has a really good course on color grading with davinci resolve which I can recommend to anyone wanting to use resolve in their projects.

I've been using my setup for one larger project now and it works fine. It was a pain to set up but that's usually the case with anything video-related. RAWMagic helps quite a lot by giving you dng+wav already linked for use in resolve.

I've read your suggestions. MLVFS doesn't seem to do dual iso in windows. Even so it seems to be slow if you want to color grade using the MLV-containers if the material is dual iso. Also, I just think for compatibility it's easier to use some kind of standard format (DNGs) that can be shipped to other editors, or saved off and used later on a computer without ML-conversion support. Forward compatible material is critical for me. What I could do - I suppose - is to use MLVFS, export the DNGs and use them that way. Havn't tried that yet.

I tried mlv_dump.exe for windows and it was wicked fast. That's something to consider for me. It outputs all the DNGs + the wav file. The sound and image files are not linked however, which is a bit of a nuisance. What I gather from reading the forums is that it's some kind of exif/file metadata problem and should be fixable. But I don't know how just yet. Any clues?

I think MLVProducer is the strongest contender for Windows. Yes, it lacks support to export .DNG, but if that is fixed it will be a really neat program. Previews, point-and-click interface, and ease of use.

I was playing with the thought about doing some programming on some of the projects, but sadly everything else takes time in my life hehe. It would be neat to have a webpage where you can upload your material, the server edits and converts to your needs and then you can download a .zip. But with projects spanning TB+ that's not really feasible either. 

I agree that the biggest issue right now is the compatibility between OS:es. Right now I've got a OS zoo with OSX, Windows, and Linux running just to try out different programs with magic lantern. Nothing is quite on spot yet, but I guess the the same can be said about different video and image editing programs.

Question for yall:
I've been browsing the forums. With a 1200x card that works properly (~100mb write, ~120mb read) is it possible to do 1920x1080 in 3X crop mode? It works if I enable FPS-override, but sadly that removes the sound, which I need. That way I could do dual iso with sound and that would just turn my camera into a beast! Right now I get fram skipping around 20 sec in, and I can squeese a bit more if I use the LiveView hack.

I've tried:
Lowering the resolution 1600x900 (works but no HD)
FPS-override (works but no sound)
fiddling with the buffer settings ( Buffer fill method, and CF-only buffers - can't see any difference).
Preview options -> hacked no preview (get's a bit more recording time, but skips a frame in about 30-40 sec).

For anyone interested this guide was great for getting good sound with the 5D!

I use the MixPre-D, some cables to wire up the sound, and sennheiser microphones. It's really sweet sounding.


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Re: My setup for using .MLV files in DaVinci Resolve from recording to editing
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2016, 08:01:17 AM »
I think MLVProducer is the strongest contender for Windows. Yes, it lacks support to export .DNG, ...
Wwwhat??? It support DNG export since october. And that DNG best looking in DR to my taste.