To RAW or not to RAW

Hi all, this is my first attempt shooting a short with ML RAW video on 5D Mark3. It will be in black and white with professional sound recording on set, and I have one nagging question: Should I shoot it with ML Raw video? Production is in a month and I just install ML on my camera. At first peek in the last couple days, it's pretty stiff learning curve. Since it's black and white I want to rethink the RAW video route. My goal for this short is to enter film festival, would the HD recording from 5D Mark3 be good enough to translate to the big screen? Thanks for any wisdom.
 
Black Swan and Red Tails used footage from a 7D (that did not have Magic Lantern) that ended up on the big screen. Nobody noticed. I shot a feature film on a 550D with just a kit lens six years ago and it looked good on the big screen. You'll be fine.
 
i am using a 5DMK2 with ML, and from the technical side it looks good. don't worry about the big screen, in general you see less details and less glitches in cinema than on a nice 24inch monitor on your desk.
but shooting a whole film in ML raw will drive you mental. ML raw is a disaster in post. i only use it for vfx shots where i need the last detail the camera can capture. for everything not vfx related use an atomos ninja with your 5D, that works great in post and it is way sharper and has way more information than the original 5D files.
 
Test the workflow.
Really test it.
Shoot longer takes, edit something. It doesn't have to make sense, but you really need to feel how this workflow works for you.

I think it is a misconception that RAW can't add anything to black and white.
There are several ways to turn color images to greyscale.
The most obvious one is to take away all saturation, but if you use the Adobe RAW editor you can go to the color section, select 'greyscale' and than adjust the 8 (magenta, red, orange, yellow, blue, turquoise, lilac, purple) sliders to tweak to look of the different colors.

But you should test it:
- can your hardware handle it?
- can your time table handle it?
- can you handle it? ;)
- does it really add something to the equation except more time and diskspace consumption?
 
In addition to all the other comments, There is something to be said about getting the look in camera. Raw is a commitment. Now I love color timing, I feel it's a tremendous way to add a lot more to a project, but does your project require the advantages of raw? Keep in mind, there are well established DPs who apply a LUT directly to footage as they're recording.
If you are shooting black and white, I'd say focus on how the shots will be lit and exposed.
 
don't worry about the big screen, in general you see less details and less glitches in cinema than on a nice 24inch monitor on your desk.

What are you talking about? The big screen is blown up. It's where your 'small' issue becomes a 'big' issue. It's where a slightly out of focus, but able to get away with it shot becomes completely out of focus.

That's not to say that you're better off using ML raw - as you say it can be a headache. But I would hardly say that issues are more noticeable on a 24" monitor compared to a cinema screen.
 
The big screen is blown up. It's where your 'small' issue becomes a 'big' issue. It's where a slightly out of focus, but able to get away with it shot becomes completely out of focus.


well it sounds good, but unfortunately it is not true. i would not disagree with your out of focus argument, that might be true, i can not really tell coz the shots i am working on are usually in focus, but you can try it at home, watch a shot on a 24inch monitor with a normal viewing distance of 2 feet (about 60cm), then watch it with a viewing distance of only 1 foot. everything is bigger now, but you see less. that's how cinema works.
additionally in cinema you have lower contrast than on a monitor, that sometimes helps you to spot issues in the blacks but it is not helping when you want to spot glitches in general.
 
There will be things that you will not even notice on your 24" screen that when blown up onto the cinema screen will become immediately obvious.

I'm not sure what you mean by a glitch, but I sat in a darkened cinema the other night and watched 4k projected footage from the brand new Varicam LT, and there was noise that would not have been much of an issue on a 24" monitor, but on the big screen becomes much more apparent.

I watched footage from the RED Dragon when it was initially released in a 4k cinema and spoke to the colourist who told me that the noise in the red channel wasn't such a big issue on the smaller monitors, but it became apparent once the thing was blown up onto the big screen.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'glitches'.

Maybe if you can define what your idea of a glitch is, I might be able to understand what you mean a bit better.
 
hey Jax,

yes, the noise example is a very good one, that is something you can see right away. the lower contrast and lifted blacks in a projection makes noise very obvious and it is super importend to take care about the noise/grain on a big screen, especially coz you are more focused on a smaller spot in cinema then on a monitor. absolutely true i agree.

by glitches is mean things that are not correct out of the center of interrest. i work in vfx and we have daylies, that means we watch our vfx shots once or twice a day in the cinema to get an impression how the audience will see it. there are many things that look ok in the cinema but on a monitor you can tell directly that is is wrong, i.e a tracking that is not perfect is very hard to spot in the cinema, contact shaddows that are not alright, or even layers that run into still frames are sometimes hard to spot. sometimes there are realy bad things like moving masks that are super obvious and nobody pays attention to it coz it is on the oposite side where the action takes place.
there are many movie examples that look great on the big screen like i.e. LOTR, then watch the same in HD on a monitor and the same shots look like a stage play and you can spot every layer they added to the scene.

maybe my pov is too much vfx related, but saying that you can spot insufficiencies easier on a big screen is not true, but you made some good points, so i would change my statement to, there are some things that you can easily see on a big screen that you would maybe miss on a monitor, but in general my impression is that the cinema is way more forgiving than a monitor.

btw 4k is no standart for anything. cinema is between HD and 2k, there are less than 5 blockbuster movies that are mastered in 4k and up. 4k is a different game.
 
............but you can try it at home, watch a shot on a 24inch monitor with a normal viewing distance of 2 feet (about 60cm), then watch it with a viewing distance of only 1 foot. everything is bigger now, but you see less. that's how cinema works.
..............

LOL, this sounds like a logical comparison, but it is physically different for the eyes.
Some people have difficulties focussing at that distance (reading glasses!)
 
LOL, this sounds like a logical comparison, but it is physically different for the eyes.
Some people have difficulties focussing at that distance (reading glasses!)

;) yes, i know what you are talking about, i am in that age too ;) well then do it with your 40inch hd tv or what ever monitor you have, choose a viewing distance that matches the hight of your monitor.
 
I began shooting ML raw this year and I will find it very hard to go back to anything else. Raw looks miles better than anything the 5D normally produces. If image is all you care about, then by all means shoot raw over H.264--Raw black and white is absolutely gorgeous. Here are my cons:

- Workflow. It took a hours of experimenting and digging through open source code to nail a workflow. Workflow is tough even compared to Blackmagic raw. Now that I know how to do it, converting proxies and color roundtripping is fairly easy, but converting footage takes a long time.

- File size. 83 MB/s. If you convert to lossless DNG using Adobe DNG Converter, you can cut file size of the Raw footage in half, but again, conversion takes time. Also, Premiere will not open the DNG files made by Adobe DNG Converter (odd, huh?) though Resolve will

- Dropped frames, pink frames. Lots of ways to glitch out. Only way I can get continuous recording with no pink frames is to turn off global draw, which means I see the screen in 3:2 aspect ratio, which sucks. External monitor helps.

- Lots of changing CF cards. We could only afford 2 x 32GB cards, so we get <8 minutes per card.

- Converting. I know I mentioned this, but it takes hours to generate proxies and DNG sequences from a few minutes of footage, and I have an Intel i7.

- Features you don't know exist. There's a ton of stuff in ML and every now and then I turn something off or on which looks good until I find it screwed up something else.


So it's a lot of work, and you'll be fine with a normal 5D projected in a theater, but honestly I highly recommend ML raw.
 
Test it first.
About converting to black and white: this is already covered in the replies.
I think you should test the different methods:
- shooting in black and white
- shooting color and desaturate
- shooting in color and set to greyscale in the color menu and then tweak the brightness of the colors in you black and white image
 
Test it first.
About converting to black and white: this is already covered in the replies.
I think you should test the different methods:
- shooting in black and white
- shooting color and desaturate
- shooting in color and set to greyscale in the color menu and then tweak the brightness of the colors in you black and white image

Thank you! I missed your post:blush:
 
Thank you all for your advice. I think I will go RAW. On a related note, should I shoot it in black and white or in colors then desaturate in post?

Shoot in color and desaturate in post.

If you go ML raw, I don't think there is a way to shoot black and white. Your picture profile and white balance have no effect on what is actually recorded when shooting raw. (protip: set picture profile to B&W in order to monitor without color, while still recording the color)
 
ugh. I shot raw. never again. Sorry, it's a time kill.

If you have HOURS to convert the image... and deal with insane files sizes...go ahead.

make sure you know what you are doing.

the ml community is awesome and helped me through a jam. but its a constant work around if something screws up.

if you calculate the time you will waste, lets say at 20$ an hour, then just rent a better camera.

think practical-ly.
 
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