More and more filmmakers are seeing the light. That's Cinema RAW Light, the Canon-developed compact RAW file format that allows creatives to achieve results that are simply not possible with other codecs.
Filming in RAW gives you more options in post-production, but the file format has been hard to accommodate in the past. Canon Cinema RAW Light, first introduced with the release of the Canon EOS C200 video camera, makes using RAW faster and easier than ever.
RAW filming ensures optimum control over picture quality and enables creative and technical decisions to be made later in post-production. Previously, that flexibility had come at the price of large file sizes, making the storage and transfer of 4K RAW files on location and in the edit suite a challenge.
Canon's Cinema RAW Light format alleviates this problem, offering a significant reduction in file size without sacrificing image quality or grading and compositing headroom. Also featured on the Canon EOS C500 Mark II, Canon EOS C300 Mark III, Canon EOS R5 C and Canon EOS C70, the Cinema RAW Light format allows filmmakers to realise the widest dynamic range of the camera's sensor in a file that's approximately a third to a fifth of the size of a standard Cinema RAW file.
"RAW scares a lot of people because they think it's hard to handle, but it's not," says advertising filmmaker Brett Danton, a convert to the Cinema RAW Light format. His thoughts are echoed by Ollie Kenchington, who runs an award-winning corporate film production agency and is one of the world's best-known colour grading experts. "From a colourist's point of view Cinema RAW Light is a fantastic codec to work with – there's just so much data inside of it. But it's also a very low CPU load codec, which means that it can play back very easily. Those two things are kind of the holy grail: lots and lots of data, but lightweight enough to edit with a laptop."
The Canon EOS C500 Mark II features a DIGIC DV 7 image processor, which enables Cinema RAW Light recording internally at 5.9K and at up to 2.1Gbps using CFexpress 2.0 Type B cards. Using the same cards, the Canon EOS C300 Mark III's internal recording works out at around 64 minutes of 12-bit or 10-bit DCI 4K at 1Gbps on a 512GB card.
The Canon EOS R5 C introduced three new Cinema RAW Light recording options, while a firmware upgrade released in March 2022 for the Canon EOS C70 enables filmmakers to use Cinema RAW Light to make the most of the camera's breakthrough DGO (Dual Gain Output) sensor. The EOS C300 Mark III also has a DGO sensor and supports the three modes of Cinema RAW Light.