Processing Magic Lantern 60fps with After Effects

19 Dec 13

I wanted to post a follow up on last week’s post about filming underwater with Magic Lantern on the 5Dmk3 and go deeper into the workflow of ingesting the RAW footage and transcoding it for edit.  These instructions are mainly an adaptation of RenatoPhoto’s instructions over at the Magic Lantern Forums.  I am also assuming that you have already shot your footage at 60fps with a resolution of 1920×672 (which will only get you four continuous seconds) and that you’re editing on a Mac with Adobe Creative Cloud.

Extracting RAW into DNG

Coming straight off of the camera, there’s not much you can do with the *.RAW files that Magic Lantern records to (unless you own a copy of GingerHDR) so we need to convert them in to the DNG format.  For this, my preferred tool is RAWMagic which is available in the App Store for free.

1. Drag your files into the RAWMagic window.  It will auto detect your frame size and frame rate.  Make sure you have the correct camera selected.
2. Click convert.  It will ask you where to save the DNGs.  When RAWMagic converts your files it will also create a folder for each clip based on the original file names.

Depending on the number of files you convert it may take a while.  The next step is to open up after effects and start batch processing the DNGs to convert them to an editable resolution of 1920×1080.

Importing into After Effects

When we filmed Ebb and Flow, Davinci 10 did not support ML’s DNG format, so I used After Effects for the conforming and exporting of our editable proxies.  Compared to the Davinci method it’s a bit slower, but there is a lot more control on a per-clip basis.

Before doing anything, make sure your color space in After Effects is set to 16 bits.

1. Open up After Effects.
2. Open Prefrences, go to the Import pane and change it from 30fps to 23.98.  This will default your imported sequences which were shot at 60fps to 23.98fps, which will give you the slo motion look.
3. Right click in the Project panel and click Import.
4. In the finder dialog, navigate to the folder that contains all of the sub folders of your converted RAW files.
5. Click in the search window, type dng, you will get an option to select “file name is”, click it.
6. Above the files is a few tabs next to “Search”, click on the root folder for your footage.  For me this is “A06″.
7. If you’ve done this correctly, you will see only DNGs, and you will see all of the image sequences that you’ve exported from RAWMagic.
8. Select all of the files (CMD+A) and check the box “Multiple Sequences”, click Import.
9. Set your RAW settings (white balance and tint).  In my case we shot with a daylight balanced bulb, but had to compensate for the tint of the pool (5600K +66).
10. Click OK.  You will have to click OK for every clip you selected, for me this was 31 times.
11. Select all of the DNG sequences you’ve just imported and drag them on to the composition icon.

Search settings for Finder.

Conforming

So this is the tedious part, and might be why you would consider the Davinci method.  But on we go!  This has to be applied to every composition.  So in my case, that would be 31 times to 31 compositions.

1. Open the composition and hit CMD + K to bring up “Composition Settings”.
2. Uncheck “Lock Aspect Ratio”.
3. Change the Height from 672 to 1080, click OK.  You will now have black bars above and below your squished footage.
4. Click on the footage in the composition panel, hit CMD+ALT+F to fit the footage to the frame.  This will stretch your footage out to fill the 1920×1080 footage.

Render Out

This is the easiest step, but takes quite a while to process all of these images.  So get ready to go make a sandwich or grab some coffee, and maybe watch something on Netflix.

1. Go to your render queue.
2. Drag all of your comps from the project window into your Render Queue
3. Make sure render settings are set to “Best Settings”.
4. Click the drop down menu for Output Module and select what format you want to use, for this I’m going to use ProRes 4444 to have a file that can withstand some color correction after edit.  NOTE: If you want to use a custom setting, such as ProRes 422, you need to set it up as a template first before you can batch change the output module.
5. Click on the yellow lettering next to “Output To”, this will change your destination.  Select a folder and hit “OK”.
6. Click render.

If you’ve followed my instructions you should have successfully exported all of your RAW footage into an editable codec with the correct aspect ratio.  If not, leave a comment and I’ll try to help you out!