Digital Cinematography and… well, mostly Digital Cinematography.

T2i + Magic Lantern = Love

Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of making movies. I had doodles, ideas, and even went as far as writing what to me felt like a full length script.  Over the years, those doodles started vanishing, and with age came the realization of the amazing amounts of money required to make a film.  My dream retreated to the darkest, loneliest parts of my subconscious, where it hibernated, only coming out to vicariously breathe new life every time I watched a ‘making of’ documentary.

Years passed, and I moved on to different other passions. Science, science fiction, literature, and music started to take prominence in my life as they were not only more accessible, but more affordable as well.  Recently, while studying Sound Engineering in school, I was able to experience what using a Final Cut editing suite felt like.  And while it teased that little dormant dream, daring it to come out, it wasn’t enough to start a revolution. Enter mySanyo VPC.

That’s where I started getting that tingling feeling in my stomach. I had managed to awaken the dream.  A couple months later I had a Canon Vixiawhich had HD video, and offered more control as well as a cinematic gamma curve. Oh, man… was I in heaven.

Until I saw what a DOF Adapter could do.

In my quest for cinematic depth of field, I spent much of my hard-earned money building an adapter to achieve what I wanted. And I got it made… a little too late… enter DSLR’s.  For a while I lusted after their vignette-less and crisp images but wasn’t able to afford one (mainly because I had already spent all my money in all these other toys)… until the T2i came along.  Priced around the $900 range, this is a perfect camera for someone who wants a gorgeous, crisp, cinematic feel to his/her videos.  Add to that the fact that, with an adapter, I could use my gorgeous Minolta Rokkor X lenses, I was a very happy man. Almost.

See, Canon’s T2i was fitted with HD Video capture, and it’s video is comparable (should I say nearly identical?) to the 7D (it’s older brother), but it lacks all the manual features of the brand’s more expensive models (especially white balance). Wait… what’s this? Magic… what?!

Magic Lantern is a firmware hack that allows the inexpensive Canon T2i camera to have features available in more expensive cameras geared towards professionals. The ability to disable and control the AGC (Auto Gain Control) on the camera, and the addition of a focus assist feature made the T2i a monster camera for it’s price.  Furthermore, except for the sturdier build and weatherproofing, the Magic Lantern infused camera surpasses it’s older sibling, the 7D, in functionality.  Add to that the ability to automate rack focus (with automatic lenses), set white balance based on color temperatures, and it makes the camera an unbeatable beast. I dare anyone to find a $900 camera that has all the features that the Magic Lantern firmware introduces to the T2i. Double dare. I’m really happy with my investment… (and actually glad I didn’t aim for the 7D).

Something tells me it’s time to quit typing, and start filming…


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