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Firmware mod for 5D Mark II adds fixed audio gain, audio meters and more  
Monday, June 22, 2009 | by Rob Galbraith
An experimental firmware modification for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II that adds audio meters, fixed audio gain, live audio monitoring via the A/V jack and more is now available to try in public beta form.

Dubbed Magic Lantern and developed by 5D Mark II owner Trammell Hudson, its new features are loaded into the camera by placing the Magic Lantern file onto a CompactFlash card and loading it prior to a video capture session. The changes it introduces are not permanent; if the 5D Mark II is turned off, either manually, when Auto Power Off kicks in or when changing cards, the Magic Lantern modifications are cleared from the camera. This firmware modification is not authorized by Canon.

Hudson has prepared a short video demonstrating Magic Lantern:

Audio Friendly: A video demonstrating the features of Magic Lantern 0.1.3 (Video courtesy Trammell Hudson)

More information is in the newly-created Magic Lantern Firmware Wiki and FAQ. The Magic Lantern firmware file is available for download here. A Cinema5D forum post by Hudson summarizes the features, limitations and risks associated with Magic Lantern 0.1.3:

The Magic Lantern firmware for the 5D Mark II is available for public beta! There are still some very rough edges, but it should be usable for wide-spread testing. In the 0.1.3 version there are:

- Onscreen stereo audio meters
- Full-time cropmarks
- Zebra stripes for overexposed regions
- Fixed audio gain (+10 dB analog, +12 dB digital) with -NO AGC-
- Live headphone monitoring on A/V jack (without disabling LCD)
- printf() to the bitmap display
- GUI event viewer (press Picture Style button)

The button remapping was having problems, so it has been pulled out for now.

The website for more info and downloads is Magic Lantern Firmware Wiki. See the FAQ for most questions regarding the software.

Keep in mind there are no warranties and no guarantees, and if it breaks your camera you get to keep both pieces.

Full release notes:
* Only works with Canon firmware version 1.1.0
* Only the external mic input is supported
* Canon firmware will restart if LiveView mode is exited or powersave
* HDMI, USB and composite video output are disabled
* Zebras can not be disabled, threshold is not configurable, color can not be changed
* Canon's onscreen menus will not function correctly (configure everything before booting the Magic Lantern firmware)
* Picture Style button will bring up an event viewer
* Digital zoom works
* Button remapping is currently disabled
* ALC is disabled
* Digital gain is fixed at +12 dB
* Analog gain is set to +10 dB
* Windcut (highpass filter) is disabled
* Lowpass filter is enabled with default params
* EQ params are at the default settings

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