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Old July 22nd, 2009, 08:37 PM   #1
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Is Magic Lantern reliable enough for production

Hi there!
First of all, I want to thanks Tramm for his success in adding controls to the MK2. I've been following the development since day one and I'm really impress.
Now that I receive my camera, I think it's time to get into the real thing and try the amazing firmware. The thing is I'm a bit scared to use it for production because of all the warning on the download page.
I'm aware of the bugs like camera lock up and so on but those are things I can live with. What I'm afraid of is things you don't notice until post production like drop frames.
The main features I want to use with the Magic Lantern is the zebras and crop marks. I'm not using the gain control as we capture the sound on an external recorder.
So my question is does anybody had problems regarding the use of the firmware that made their movies unusable?
Thanks!
Francis
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 06:07 PM   #2
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Maybe have a look around at Dan Chung's clips, and test it out for yourself.
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 06:26 PM   #3
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Magic Lantern can give you zebras today, but the crop marks are not adjustable in the current release. Also, it disables the internal mic, so you'll really need an external mic.

The upsides are these:
* Zebras allow you to set exposure quickly and confidently. They're not semi-transparent, but if you set them to 100%, you know exactly what it being blown out.
* An external mic gets rid of focus and IS noise. Since you're only using it for sync, you could use a cheap mic, crank the gain up, and go from there.
* The meters help you know that the external mic is working; if you get a headphone amp, you can monitor by ear.)
* If you send clean audio to the camera, you will have a solid backup. If the sound is good enough, you don't have to bother syncing.
* You can make a custom config file that let you run Magic Lantern without having to touch the menus.

The downsides are these:
* It takes a moment to boot.
* You should remove the battery on occasion to clear out memory
* You have to manage your cards differently - they all need the firmware and config files, so you can't just do a simple camera format and shoot.
* Gotta have the external mic.
* THE BIG ONE: notification of a full card is compromised. It's best if you have large cards and don't run them until the last bit.

Other mentions:
* The crops probably aren't where you want them. (Just turn them off in the config file.)

I'm not sure that I'd bother with Magic Lantern just for the zebras. Once crops can be adjusted and the built-in mic can be re-enabled, then it would almost certainly be worth it, given the shoot that you described.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 08:13 AM   #4
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I'll have my Juicedlink this week so I'm looking forward to playing with Magic Lantern. But:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Other mentions:
* The crops probably aren't where you want them. (Just turn them off in the config file.)
I'm confused. Do you mean the crops aren't accurate? I assumed that the crops simply mark off an equal area top and bottom of the full image, leaving the 2:35 frame in the centre. Is something different happening?
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Old July 27th, 2009, 11:23 AM   #5
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I'm not sure if the crops are accurate, but they are intended to be 2.35:1, as I recall.

The next version of the firmware will allow you to add your own bitmap to the CF card that will give any crop ratio that you could ever want. I would guess that within a week of release, a variety of crop bitmaps will be available for download.
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Jon Fairhurst
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Old August 2nd, 2009, 06:41 PM   #6
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Thanks guys for your replies.
I did a shooting last week without the firmware and it turns out great. So I think I will wait to have the final version of Magic Lantern before using it.
Thanks again!
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 01:04 PM   #7
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My assumption is there will be no "final" version of Magic Lantern. Trammel Hudson has a list of potential additions that line up for some time down the road. The periodic releases are to provide major additions, as they are incorporated into Magic Lantern. 0.1.6 will have some nice new features and other that he thought could be folded in are still problematic, and may be held out until the next release. I have nothing but admiration for his attack on these various issues.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 02:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
My assumption is there will be no "final" version of Magic Lantern...
I would agree. I think the decision to use ML in the field depends on the feature and bug list of any particular release - as time goes on, you might find a given, older release that works for you and just stick with that.

With 0.1.5, I find that the key is to set up the config file as you want it, start Magic Lantern, and just start shooting. With 0.1.4, I had to set up things manually with the (previously) tiny menus, and it really added stress to an already stressful shoot. With 0.1.5 and the config files, you get the features without the stress, and without the risk of setting things incorrectly.

I'm using it in production, and it will only get better from here...
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