5D Mark III ML Raw Exposure Test

Started by goran, May 22, 2015, 06:54:10 PM

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Hello all,

I'm not sure this post fits here cause it deals with other aspects apart from post process, so if not please feel free to move it.

This is a short test I did in order to learn how to properly expose when using ML Raw on 5DmkIII. Apparently in order to get a cinematic image with the 5DmkIII the exposure is EXTREMELY important. Well exposure is always super important but it turns out that with 5DmkIII exposing in a certain way can lead to either a very cinematic or very video-ish image. I don't have any scientific explanation for this, but in my testings I found that underexposure is the key to a cinematic image with the 5DmkIII. Again I stress in MY testings. This works for ME and the way I shoot. This might not work at all for you.

Here's what I did:

I shot 5 clips. One at correct exposure and the others where either over or under exposed. Here are the exposures:

1. f/4 (this one is overexposed by one stop)
2. f/5.6 (this is the correct exposure according to incident light reading)
3. f/8 (well obviously this is underexposed by one stop)
4. f/11 (well two stops underexposure)
5. f/7.1 (underexposed by 2/3 of a stop)

The shutter was at 1/50 and this was shot at 25fps, 1920x1080 ML Raw.


1. Converted from Raw to DNG using mlrawviewer.
2. Opened DNGs in Davinci Resolve lite 11
3. Applied the same LUT for all clips
4. Adjusted exposure on each clip (except for f/5.6 which remained untouched) to match the exposure amount on models face, specifically forehead in the f/5.6 clip. I adjusted the exposure mainly by changing the exposure value in Camera Raw tab but also by adjusting the shadows and highlights.
5. Development setting for DNG where: Decode: Clip, Color Space: BMD Film, Gamma: BMD Film 4K, White balance was As Shot which was 5400K. I checked "Highlight Recovery".
6. Exported as ProRes 422 stitched together in Premiere Pro and uploaded to Vimeo.

To me it looks that the proper way to expose 5DmkIII for cinematic image is to expose for highlights (to the right) and than underexpose by about 1.5-2 stops depending on the scene contrast. In post you must increase exposure and correct highlights and shadows. I increased the exposure by about 1.5. Highlights were increased by about 30 and shadows increased by about 10. Without increasing highlights it looks a bit lacking contrast. This changes everything in my opinion. The highlights look nicer, they roll-off nicely and the same goes for the shadows. This puts the middle grey at a more balanced place. Overall the image looks more organic and pleasing. The colors look less "Canon" this way and more "cinema". Of course this may introduce noise, but in my testing you're good to go up to about 1600 ISO. Maybe I'll publish my other test at some point.

I'd like to hear what do you think of it? Recently I've been able to intercut the 5DmkIII with Alexa on a commercial shoot (just for kicks) and they played nicely together.


For anyone interested the LUT is Kodak 5213 from the excellent Impulz collection.


Thanks very much for sharing your findings!


I liked the shot with the girl in it the most  :D

In all seriousness and perhaps to the testament of the subjective nature of this I liked the overexposed shot the most at first blush, by my preferred level of contrast and highlights would depend on the context of the subject!


When you underexpose, you get more noise. Maybe that could look like film grain.
Personally I prefer less noise since you get more detail.


What is the password for the video?


You're replying to a thread from 2015.  The video probably no longer exists.