My 2nd round of testing.

Since I will be getting a Black Magic Pocket Camera (BMPCC) soon, I need to learn more about shooting raw video and how I can take advantage of post processing the images.

First off let me tell you about my experience shooting raw with my Canon 5D Mark III with Magic Lantern. Let me say while I have run many tests, I want to say I am no expert with it at this point, and I am still trying to figure out the best workflow in post since their a many ways to go. At the end I will tell you when I shoot raw and when I shoot h.264.

Now that I am using Davinci Resolve more I find myself wanting to really push the image to my will, and with ML raw and the new pocket camera I can start doing that as my grading skills get better.

Sharpness in the rocks is a big improvement, h.264 starts to look mushy after starring at raw for a while. But when you go for a close up the skin can look perhaps a little to detailed, but that really ok because within Resolve you can pull a fast key on just the skin and add a slight blur to it while keeping the eyes and everything else nice and sharp.

The real noticeable difference is when you really push and stretch the image, for instance here a shot with both somewhat similar settings and they both looks pretty good, but once you start to add saturation or really push the levels all over the place check out the banding above the mountains and look how the clouds are starting to fall apart image wise.

So you can push the image to make it look like the camera has more perceived dynamic range by stretching it, but even with raw you can only push it so far, but you can push more than the h.264. For me the new Black Magic Pocket Camera is very interesting because it appears with will have a nice wide dynamic range and it shoots raw or to a editing friendly codec like ProRes so can perhaps push the image even farther because of it’s actually larger dynamic range.

Love that I don’t need an external recorder for raw, within seconds I can switch between raw and h.264 without switch cards. But the question I am trying to figure out is when do I shot to either format? I think

Real estate video – yes.

Wedding video, probably not unless your in a high dynamic range shot.

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5D Mark3
5D Mark III


  • Dave, It is funny to hear you call the t3i a small sensor. Just a year ago you were so happy to have the t2i, but now you seem to have taken a huge step thanks to your persistence and recent gear upgrades.

    Do you think the new 5Dmk3 Raw upgrade will leave the rest of us “small sensor” shooters in the dust? I kind of feel my 60D is a dinosaur in comparison to what I am seeing across the internet from the recent updates, namely the RAW addition to the 5Dmk3.

  • Hi Dave, I believe you can also shoot raw on the T3i (?). Probably issues with the speed of the SD card, though… But if you don’t want to shoot raw beyond 720p, then the old T3i could be a very acceptable 2nd (or first) camera. I have a 5DIII and a 7D for a B camera – just waiting for magic lantern raw on the 7D.

  • Thanks for your thoughts Dave! Always appreciate your insights. I think the difference you’re seeing in the detail between RAW and the h.264 shots is due to the fact that the bitrate for RAW is around 73 MB/s and h.264 maxes out at 91 Mb/s. That’s make a massive difference in the details of the shot.

    This is also why RAW stands up so well to heavy grading – more information/pixel to change.

  • Hey Dave, great video. Any chance you see yourself doing a brief review, or tutorial of Divinci Resolve? I just downloaded the Lite version and have no clue where to start…

  • Great video Dave. I am curious as to what lenses you are getting with your pocket camera. I plan on shooting a feature on one of these.

  • Great post. do you believe BMCC is better than 5d raw in dynamic range?
    A main difference between bmcc 2.5k & 4k is global shutter for 4k version.. .can you post a article about this in future?

  • Hey Dave. Informative video!

    One question – At what aperture range do you have to shoot above before the difference in detail is apparent between RAW and compressed?

    I ask because in ‘DSLR film’ its typical to shoot with a wide aperture – typically around f3.5 to get filmic depth of focus – and so if it turns out that you have to shoot at (say) f5.6 to really see the sharpness advantages of raw, then RAW is probably only really useful for its color range and not really for the sharpness.

  • I’m a little skeptical of trying ML for the 5Dmk3 until they release the final version. I’ve never tried ML so I’m a little hesitant.

  • Hey Dave,

    Really interesting video, 1 question:

    What lenses are you thinking about getting for your BMCC Pocket?? I hear amazing things about the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 … Is that one you are considering?? I am really interested to hear what you are thinking and why.


  • Excellent video as usual

    I’m shooting real estate video with a Canon 7D and looking forward to being able to shoot RAW using Magic Lantern

    What lights are you using for RE interiors? I just built myself a lighting kit out of floursecent fittings for $150 and it works Much better than the shop lights I was using before

  • Raw video is perfect for high detailed shots and shots that would look much better with a higher dynamic range. I think compressed is fine for interviews, close up dialogue scenes and such. Raw would be great for music videos, short promo videos and anything that has short takes. It’s obviously not suitable for event or documentary filming.
    I would shoot Raw all the time is the workflow was less of a pain and the cards were cheaper and faster.