Mark Fry

[ Filmmaking : Magic Lantern custom cropmarks ]





Magic Lantern custom cropmarks
13 September 2013

Magic Lantern is a free software add-on that runs from the SD/CF card and adds a host of new features to Canon EOS cameras that weren't included from the factory by Canon.

Some of my favourite features include:

  • 14-bit uncompressed raw video
  • full control over H264 bitrate
  • custom Kelvin whitebalance
  • focus peaking, exposure zebras in live view
  • RGB histogram, spotmeter in live view
  • ... and of course, live view custom cropmarks...


Notes about cropmarks from the Magic Lantern wiki:

"If you use custom cropmarks, place them in ML/CROPMKS folder on your SD card and give them short 8.3 names. You can place at most 9 cropmarks on the card."


Here are some of my own custom cropmarks. Click the image or text below to download them.

click to download




I use this coordinate system to help aim my camera when shooting hyperlapse photography. Take a photo, move the tripod a few paces, re-align the shot, repeat. The grid coordinate system really helps re-align the subject between the shots (eg. to keep the top corner of a building at B3).

  • coordinate system for lining up features
  • thirds grid

For more info on hyperlapse photography, check out this great DP Review article, Behind the shot: 'Louisville in Motion', by Eric Stemen. His video shows some inspirational camera moves and some advanced dolly zoom hyperlapse shots.



My Canon 550D can capture 10-second clips of Magic Lantern 14-bit uncompressed raw video at 1280x544 onto a fast 95MB/s SD card. The current build displays a white box to preview the raw centre cop but this disappears during recording. The "fryRaw1" cropmark stays on-screen during recording to help frame the shot.

  • 1280x544 centre crop for raw video
  • thirds grid



This cropmark is useful for comparing the field of view between the HD H264 CinemaScope 2.35:1 frame and the 1280x544 raw crop.

I think that particular Magic Lantern centre crop on my Canon 550D APS-C sensor is comparable to a CinemaScope-cropped frame on a Black Magic Cinema Camera. That is to say, the angle of view/lens coverage I'm seeing with the raw centre crop on my 550D seems comparable to what my lens would look like on a BMCC with its 2.3 crop factor.

  • 1280x544 centre crop
  • 1920x1080 CinemaScope 2.35 guides
  • thirds grid



My most-used cropmark for recording HD H264 video on my Canon 550D, "fryScop1" helps me compose shots within the HD CinemaScope 2.35 frame.

  • 1920x1080 CinemaScope 2.35 guides for HD H264 video
  • thirds grid



This cropmark is the HD CinemaScope frame without a rules of thirds grid.

  • 1920x1080 CinemaScope 2.35 guides for HD H264 video



This is a simple guide to help compose with a square frame for still photos.

  • square frame (Instagram) for stills
  • thirds grid



This is a simple guide to help compose with a square frame when shooting video.

  • square frame (Instagram) for HD H264 video
  • thirds grid



This is simply a rules of thirds grid to fit the normal HD frame.

  • 1920x1080 thirds grid for HD H264 video and regular stills photography



For information on how to create your own custom cropmarks, visit this page:




Copyright Mark Fry. All rights reserved.