Canon has released an important firmware upgrade for the EOS 5D Mark III that will undoubtedly benefit DSLR cinematographers and still shooters alike. The 1.2.1 update enables the camera to record clean, uncompressed digital video data (YCbCr 4:2:2 8 bit) with encoded time code over the HDMI output, while simultaneously displaying video on the rear LCD and recording internally to CF or SD cards. This adds an enormous amount of flexibility to what is already one of the world’s top DSLR camera choices.
The 22-megapixel EOS 5D Mark III is a totally reengineered DSLR that offers many improved photo and video features over its revolutionary predecessor, the EOS 5D Mark II, and it continues to address the demanding needs of professionals from still shooters to cinema and television production pros. Adding to an already long list of quality DSLR improvements, this firmware upgrade enabling uncompressed HDMI Output support undoubtedly offers greater efficiency to video editing, improved color grading options and greatly enhances on-set monitoring.
Visit the Canon U.S.A. site for full specifications and free download.
Capturing images with an external recorder allows for the recording of a video signal devoid of compression artifacts to large media storage drives and improves the post-production workflow with enhanced editing options, such as recording to preferred edit ready codecs available with external recorders. Color correction will especially benefit from the improved 4:2:2 color space available over the HDMI that effectively produces color information for twice as many pixels than does 4:2:0. Also, external recorders offer improved distribution of the recorder’s video input to a variety of on-set monitoring solutions — facilitating real-time viewing of the EOS 5D Mark III video on the set with the Rec. ITU-R BT. 709 color matrix.
Filmmakers will surely see the immediate benefits from an improved color sampling of YCbCr 4:2:2 8-bit video data via the HDMI, but the firmware also adds increased shooting flexibility. The new “HDMI Output+LCD” sub menu gives the shooter control over how the 5D Mark III LCD display and HDMI output are configured. Using display “mirroring,” like that found in the EOS-1D C, users can assign the LCD and HDMI output individual functions. When mirroring is enabled through the firmware added sub menu setting, video can be displayed on the rear LCD while it is displayed and/or recorded via the HDMI. You can still add layers of camera information on the rear LCD panel with the “INFO.” or “Q” buttons, while simultaneously outputting a clean video signal to an external monitor or recorder via the HDMI. When “No mirroring” is selected, the rear LCD goes black in a battery-saving mode, and the video output over the HDMI can then be configured as clean HDMI or with camera information displayed — just like you can with the LCD panel — by repeatedly pressing the “INFO” button on the back of the camera. Just keep in mind that whenever camera shooting data is overlaid and output over the HDMI when “No Mirroring” is selected, it will be recorded on an external recorder exactly as you see it. Unless you are using the HDMI output with shooting data for monitoring purposes only, be sure and reset it to a “clean” feed prior to recording.