In keeping with my “One Year” series of articles, it only seemed fitting to do one on Magic Lantern. My anniversary with it was just a few days ago. We used it for the last two days of filming on Leap: Rise of the Beast. For the uninformed, Magic Lantern (ML) is a firmware hack for Canon DSLRs, including my T2i. It’s a small piece of software that you put on a memory card and install to your camera. The features you get, among other things, are cropmarks (allowing you to frame for 2.40 or adding grid lines), expanded ISO range (even more than the 7D), White Balance that can now be set to kelvin, HDR video, audio controls and more! For a free, thats F-R-E-E piece of code, it packs a punch!
Aside from my final two days of shooting, I’ve used it on some adverts I’ve done and I’ve installed it on one of the cameras at work. I’ve actually reached a point where I won’t shoot without it if at all possible. What makes it so great for me? Namely the features I mentioned above. Before cropmarks, I bought a cheap LCD screen protector and drew my framing guides on it. Didn’t look very nice and was far from perfect. Before kelvin white balance, I had to take a picture of a white card and load it from the Canon menu. With ML, I simply point the camera at white and click a button. HDR video, while new, has a myriad of uses that I’m looking forward to testing. You also get zebras, which are indicators that tell you what’s over and under exposed, as well as focus peaking-little dots that show what’s in focus.
In all honesty, my words can never do the software justice. It’s something you’ll need to try for yourself, but be warned, you might just get hooked as I have.