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GPL Firmware For Canon 5D Mk II Adds Features For Filmmakers 117

tramm writes "I've released an extension for the Canon 5D Mark II DSLR's video mode to enable functions that are useful for independent film makers. While the camera produces a great movie out of the box, the audio is a severely limited. My code adds features that should have been in the software, like on-screen stereo audio meters, live audio monitoring, reduced audio noise and crop marks for different formats. An introductory video shows the new features in use and an audio evaluation compares it to the stock firmware with very good results. It's similar to the incredibly flexible CHDK software for Canon's point-and-shoot cameras, but targeted at the film makers using the 5D. The Magic Lantern firmware is GPLed and new features will be written to make the camera even more useful on set. There is a wiki for documentation and development."
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GPL Firmware For Canon 5D Mk II Adds Features For Filmmakers

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  • by GreenTech11 ( 1471589 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:50AM (#28438161)
    If companies made products that functioned fine, people such as this guy would have nothing to do in their spare time.

    Sounds complicated and admittedly, I know very little about this, but congrats anyway.

  • DSLR video... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mansa ( 94579 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:53AM (#28438197)

    Wow, sounds like you've added some great functionality. Interesting read.

    I have a T1i- the little brother to the 5d Mark II. Any thought on firmware for this model?

    Aside from not being full frame, it also only does 1080P video @ 20FPS... I understand that it *can* do 30 but Canon crippled it as to not encroach on the 5D market. Has anyone seen any "updated" firmware to crank the frames for the T1i? :)

  • Related story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Megane ( 129182 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:58AM (#28438253) Homepage

    This wasn't automatically picked up by slashdot's "related story" thingy:

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/05/06/2032216 [slashdot.org]

  • Re:DSLR video... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:09AM (#28438359)
    It's not a firmware problem for the T1i, it's a processor power problem. The only way you're going to get 30fps at 1080p is by adding more processing power.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @11:26AM (#28439495)

    Superior resolution (slightly), freely adjustable frame rate; sure. Aliasing can be controlled with filters. RED One is an amazing camera. But do compare the price: for less than 10k you get 5D mk II and a very respectable set of high quality primes, maybe a good zoom too. You need to spend around 80k to get same with RED setup.

    But no matter what, mk2 performs much better in low light. It might not be an issue if you have professional lighting and can control the scene, but for most people it's a big bonus.

  • by MoxFulder ( 159829 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:33PM (#28440523) Homepage

    Yup it's cool, but...

    if you are a indie film maker, why are you using a DSLR instead of a HD video camera that will shoot better video for less money?

    I don't think there is any "HD video camera that will shoot better video for less money". Do you know of any that costs $2,500 and has a sensor even close to as big and good-in-low-light as the Canon 5D Mark II? Or as many affordable lens choices?

    I recently particpated in the 48 Hour Film Project [48hourfilm.com] in Washington, DC. A few of the submitted films were shot on the Canon 5D Mark II DSLR. The image quality was phenomenal, blowing away MiniDV and as good as some of the groups that had $10k+ of pro equipment.

    Personally, I'm a Pentax guy, and really excited about the new Pentax K7 [wikipedia.org] DSLR with HD video capability. Unlike the Canon 5D, it allows aperture control during filming... which should allow for some cool effects. And it only costs about $1,200 for a 14 megapixel weather-sealed camera with 720p and 1080i movie modes, half the price of the 5D.

    I'd rather have XLR mic in and record real audio than use a DSLR as a video camera.

    I'm not enough of an A/V aficionado to really appreciate the advantages of XLR, but it looks like this issue has already been addressed. There's an add-on unit ($375, it ain't cheap [adorama.com]) to add XLR and all kind of other audio gizmos to the Canon 5D. I wouldn't be surprised if we see DSLRs with built-in XLR in a year or two.

  • I, for one, welcome custom camera firmwares

    I would too. I'm a photographer and a pro embedded software writer, but I have no idea how to write (or, better, 'correct') a firmware for a camera. I have written out long lists of suggestions to the makers of my cameras [gdargaud.net], obviously to no avail. Some things would be trivial one liners in the firmware code. But how do you get started ? Can you decompile a firmware update ? Probably not. Can you get the source code of a Nikon/Canon/Ricoh/etc firmware ? Probably not.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982