Magic Lantern: Firmware for Canon DSLR filmmakers

Magic Lantern is an open platform for developing enhancements to the amazing Canon 5D Mark II and 550D/T2i digital SLRs. These cameras are “game changing” for independent film makers:

  • It allows the use of a wide range of lenses (anything that can be adapted to the EF mount).
  • The 5D’s 35mm full-frame sensor is larger than the RED ONE’s sensor, Super 35 film. It is approximately the size of VistaVision. This means shallower native depth-of-field than anything on the market, except for the Phantom 65.
  • The dynamic range and latitude are close to the capabilities of high-end HD cameras.
  • The low-light performance is currently unrivaled, even by the RED ONE.

But, the software in video mode has limitations, even after the recent 1.1.0 upgrade from Canon that fixed the most glaring manual exposure “bug”.

That’s where Magic Lantern comes in — it turns your 5D Mark II into a 5D Mark Free. We’ve written extensions and widgets that fix many of the annoyances in working with the 5D Mark II on a film or video set. Our first set of fixes are targeted at the audio limitations of the camera, but there are some video enhancements included, too:

  • On-screen audio meters
  • Manual gain control with no AGC
  • Zebra stripes (video peaking)
  • Custom Cropmarks for 16:9, 2.35:1, 4:3 and any other format
  • Control of focus and bracketing

(via magiclantern.wikia.com)

How cool is this! Though the (slightly cringeworthy) video above talks specifically about the 5D, there is also firmware for the 550D I use, which could open up a world of possibilities.

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