Author Topic: Is recording H.264 through ML the same as Canon's implementation?  (Read 7228 times)

markodarko

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Hi guys,

QUESTION:
Is ML doing something behind the scenes on a 5D mk III to improve the quality of the H.264 video over what I'd get from Canon's All-I implementation or would the result be exactly the same as if ML was not installed? (Yes, I could test this but it's late here now and a pointless test if one of you nice developer folk already know the answer.  ;))

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BACKGROUND:
After watching Act of Valor the other day for the first time - which was shot 70% on a 5D mk II / H.264(!) as I'm sure most of you are aware - and marvelling at the quality they got out of H.264, I've been running some test of my own between RAW and H.264 on my 5D mk III.

I have to say that I'm gobsmacked at how good the results are. Having seen so many RAW vs H.264 comparison videos on YouTube I previously disregarded using H.264 because all of the videos I saw showed a night-and-day difference between RAW and H.264. In my tests however I can hardly tell them apart (I must be doing something wrong!). Only in a few side-by-side shots can I see the extra detail but it's not by much. In isolation I'd be none the wiser.

Anyway. This got me thinking - I've been shooting H.264 through the Magic Lantern UI so that I can use focus peeking etc. and hence my question. I plan on doing some more tests tomorrow - low-light stuff mainly at high ISO etc but right now I'm encouraged by how good my findings have been and how incredibly useful Magic Lantern is even without shooting RAW.

Thanks for your help and support.

All the best,

Mark.
p.s. Is there a reason that Auto ETTR only works for shooting RAW and not H.264?

a1ex

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Re: Is recording H.264 through ML the same as Canon's implementation?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2016, 11:03:53 AM »
Is ML doing something behind the scenes on a 5D mk III to improve the quality of the H.264 video over what I'd get from Canon's All-I implementation or would the result be exactly the same as if ML was not installed?

By default, it doesn't touch the image settings at all.

If you start playing with things like bitrate or custom ISOs, the result may (or may not) be different.

p.s. Is there a reason that Auto ETTR only works for shooting RAW and not H.264?

Yes.

aschille84

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Re: Is recording H.264 through ML the same as Canon's implementation?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2016, 11:53:33 AM »
Great tip! Only just started playing around with digital iso, but seems to be a good way to get less noise.
Just shoot a short reportage in h264 on 5D3, and personally dont like the look of it. Seems like theres a dim layer over peoples faces and some weird sharpening going on. Maybe a flat pictureprofile could help a bit, but still.

markodarko

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Re: Is recording H.264 through ML the same as Canon's implementation?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2016, 06:10:31 PM »
By default, it doesn't touch the image settings at all.

If you start playing with things like bitrate or custom ISOs, the result may (or may not) be different.

Yes.

Ah. As always, you are a fountain of knowledge, Alex. Many thanks.

I uploaded my very first video on YouTube today (do I get some sort of badge for that?) which is the side-by-side comparison I did the other day between RAW & H.264 if you're interested. The link is here. I'm actually quite impressed with how H.264 holds up providing one takes care with exposure and picture styles etc so I'll be using that for my day-to-day "learn how to be a cinematographer" video tests as the workflow and storage requirements are so much easier but will be shooting RAW for "important" things, if that makes sense. All through Magic Lantern though, of course!  :D

Thanks again for your help.

All the best,

Mark.

markodarko

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Re: Is recording H.264 through ML the same as Canon's implementation?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2016, 07:02:29 PM »
Just shoot a short reportage in h264 on 5D3, and personally dont like the look of it. Seems like theres a dim layer over peoples faces and some weird sharpening going on. Maybe a flat pictureprofile could help a bit, but still.

Please take a look at a RAW vs H.264 comparison video I've just posted on YouTube as it could change your mind about the "look" of H.264. It certainly changed mine:
All the best,

Mark.

aschille84

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Re: Is recording H.264 through ML the same as Canon's implementation?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2016, 09:26:28 PM »
Thanks, Mark. I liked a your video, h264 seems to hold up pretty well. I might reconsider and change picture profile next time  ;)

markodarko

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Re: Is recording H.264 through ML the same as Canon's implementation?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2016, 08:01:08 PM »
Thanks, Mark. I liked a your video, h264 seems to hold up pretty well. I might reconsider and change picture profile next time  ;)

You're welcome, and yes - it's crucial that you do. In fact it's crucial that you do all of these:

1. Record with a picture profile that has zero sharpening. My settings were based on the "Faithful" profile with sharpening=0, contrast=1, saturation=2. I've not tried the CineStyle / Flaat picture profiles yet but I'll get round to testing them soon to see if they're better than ol' "faithful". I've read that they can introduce noise but I'll have to test that for myself.

2. Take your time to expose correctly. This is terribly important. My first shots - which I could have easily recovered in RAW - were lost due to clipped highlights or incorrect white balance. Things get pretty ugly quickly after that.

3. Sharpen in post.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that h.264 is a match for RAW as it's not, but it certainly isn't as bad as everyone touts. My guess is that those that diss h.264 from the 5D III recorded with the Standard picture profile with sharpness, contrast and saturation set to the default settings because as I found, in some clips it's hard to tell the difference in what I shot between RAW and h.264.

mesebar2

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Re: Is recording H.264 through ML the same as Canon's implementation?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2016, 10:34:02 AM »
Thank you so much for sharing your findings :)

markodarko

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Re: Is recording H.264 through ML the same as Canon's implementation?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2016, 12:45:01 PM »
You are most welcome. :-)


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