The Canon 5D Mark II can shoot jaw-dropping 1080P video, but nothing about the interface makes it easy. So one video guru wrote his own firmware for the device to bring camcorder luxuries to the dSLR.

Dubbed Magic Lantern, the new firmware improves audio recording by adding onscreen level meters, disabling automatic gain control, and adding manual gain control—combined improvements that make for the excellent audio you hear in this clip.

On the video end, the firmware enables zebra stripes (they mark the portions of your image that are overexposed) and the various crop marks for 16:9, 2.35:1 and 4:3—the most common aspect ratios that you'll want to shoot.

It's beta firmware, so there is a level of risk to installing it on your fancy camera. But these are the kinds of steps that the market will need to take if shooting HD video on dSLR is to become more than a novelty, and it's good to have someone cracking the whip. [Magic Lantern via boingboing]