First, let’s admit that this is a HUGE breakthrough to have this as a possible option on a $3k ( and less ) camera.
I shot this test using the 5Dmkii with a neutral color profile, rating it at its native ISO of 320 using a 35mm Zeiss ZE lens. While I was very excited to try this out, it quickly became apparent that there were some immediate issues before even getting into post. On prior tests to this one I had huge issues with drop frames. This seemed for some reason to be caused by a lot of camera movement ( handheld ), and got worse as the buffer filled up. These issues could change from camera to camera. Another huge issue was that my external HDMI monitor didn’t work properly using this hack. The actual image displayed on the monitor shifted off by about 1/3, wrapping awkwardly around the screen. Another issue encountered was just getting the recording to start and stop. Having to go through all the menu’s just to get it to record took up too much time. I am sure this can be fixed later, but something to consider.
So far there has been 2 workflows developed for this.
1. Take the RAW video file, bring it through RAWtoDNG, then to Photoshop to export as TIFF. Then take it to Quicktime to create the proxy file.
2. Take the RAW video file, bring it through RAWtoDNG, then to After Effect to render out the proxy.
I prefer the AE route as it takes up 1/3 less data on your drive. RAW is already data intensive, I rather be patient with AE and save that data. You may be glad you did later down the road.
Once I got these files into AE, it seemed that out of the box the RAW files really were not what I was expecting. I expected for there to be more dynamic range visually present in the image, but what actually happens is that you need to RECOVER the highlights and shadows to truly get that range. OK, so that is a minor issue, but just adds yet another step to the process.
Unfortunately I did not have the settings to my timeline set to 16bit, so what you are seeing in the video above is 8bit. I briefly considered re-rendering the files but dismissed that rather quickly. This was a flag to me about the post workflow… which really needs to be ironed out. We will need to find a more efficient way of getting from RAW to ProRes/Proxy that also retains the hidden latitude in the image.
While this is again, A HUGE break through I do not see this as being ready for production. To be fair, this is in its early stages, so keep that in mind. Issues with monitoring, drop frames, reliability, and post workflow all need to be ironed out before I see this as being worthy of use on productions. NOW, with that said perhaps this is more stable on the mkiii. I don’t know since I have yet to test it.