How to add timecode to RAW video from Canon 5D Mark-III with Magic Lantern Hack

Posted by ryanjackson on Jul 4, 2013 in photos, Shot-by-Shot Explanation, training, video |

I’ve been shooting RAW video with my Canon 5D Mark-III for a long term project and it’s simply otherworldly.

If you haven’t heard of this yet, the Magic Lantern firmware hack for Canon cameras allows you to shoot 24 1080p raw pictures per second now. Think of it as a continuous 24fps burst mode of raw pictures.
You batch convert those raw pictures into TIFF files and then change the image sequences into super-duper high quality video. Your Canon DSLR can now hold a candle to the RED camera or Black Magic Cinema camera. (Minus the professional workflow of course).

You have the same quality, dynamic range, colour control and exposure latitude as normal RAW still photos but with video!
The only downsides are file size (90MB/sec!), the need for expensive 1000X CF cards and processing time.

A hidden downside is the lack of timecode and metadata for your processed video.

Here you can see how the .mov file created by the raw2dng app has a file creation date different than the original video.

Here you can see how the .mov file created by the raw2dng app has a file creation date different than the original video. I shot the RAW video at 8:42pm on June 20th but the ProRes video file wasn’t created until July 4th so it will be out of order in Final Cut Pro.

 

If you import a video file created by raw2dng the video lacks timecode and therefor will be arranged by the wrong time.

If you import a video file created by raw2dng into FCPX, the video lacks timecode and therefor will be arranged by the wrong time in your event browser.  FCPX is all about metadata and you don’t want the video times to be wrong when working on a long-term project.

So here is my current workflow….

Step #1

Delete the preview .mov file created by raw2dng and convert your .dng files into TIFs using Photoshop. You will now have a folder full of .dng and .tif files.

Delete the preview .mov file created by raw2dng and convert your .dng files into TIFs using Photoshop. You will now have a folder full of .dng and .tif files.

Step #2

I've written a simple Applescript that will batch convert folders with TIFF files into 1080p24 ProRes422HQ video.

I’ve written a simple Applescript that will batch convert folders with TIFF files into 1080p24 ProRes422HQ video. It is included in the .zip file at the bottom of this post. If you just use the .mov files created by raw2dng then skip to Step #3.

The file creation date of our video file is different than the original RAW file.

The file creation date of our video file is different than the original RAW file.

Step #3

Run my other Applescript which changes the file creation date of the new .mov files to match the .RAW files of the same name. This works for batch folders.

Run my other Applescript which changes the file creation date of the new .mov files to match the .RAW files of the same name. This works for batch folders. You can find the script at the bottom of this post.

 

Now the .mov file creation date matches the original .RAW file. The video file still lacks timecode though.

Now the .mov file creation date matches the original .RAW file.
The video file still lacks timecode though.

Step #4

Get the QTchange app for Mac. The demo allows you to do 8 files at a time or you can buy it for only $25 which isn't bad. QTchange will add a timecode to the video files based on the file creation date that we set earlier.

Get the QTchange app for Mac. The demo allows you to do 8 files at a time or you can buy it for only $25 which is well priced.
QTchange will add a timecode to the video files based on the file creation date that we set earlier.

Now when we import our converted video files the date and timecode are correct!

Now when we import our converted video files the date and timecode are correct!

 

I’ve put the Applescripts used in this tutorial into a zip file you can download here.  Feel free to share with credit.

The TIFF to ProRes422HQ script will need to be modified before you run it on your computer. Launch the AppleScript Editor app on your mac and open the file. Change the file path of the “.set” settings file to match the location on your hard drive. There is also a small Applescript to create a new settings file if you don’t want ProRes.

I couldn’t have done this without the fantastic resources of MacScripter and the Apple Forums.  Enjoy!

 

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2 Comments

Jerry Duvall
Nov 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Well done Ryan! I am just getting my feet wet with ML raw on the 5D mark3 and have shot a few tests in the studio and it really is remarkable. I am really new to this but I have been wondering about a work around for syncing audio so off the top of my head it looks like this will help. Again, great post and thank you!


 
kirill
Apr 26, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Awesome! This tip (tho a little buggy) has helped me fix all the time codes in some MLV recorded videos and allowed me to sync with FCPX multi cam with other (non-ML) dngs.

Just wish the QTchange app was newer and a bit more convenient to use. It has trouble on batches for some reason, had to do it a number of times for it to actually change the TC.


 

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