High Dynamic Range. Heard of it? Canon recently released a white paper on HDR written by Canon Fellow Larry Thorpe, laying down the key concepts and preoccupations regarding this emerging technology.
HDR. You’ve probably seen it advertised all over the place: on the latest generation Atomos recorders, on silly smartphone apps that take the High Dynamic Range look way over to the extreme, on new televisions and monitors claiming to be HDR Ready… It seems like its something we should want… but what is it?
In his recent white paper about HDR, Senior Canon Fellow Larry Thorpe explains the trends in advancements in imaging technologies, and the main 5 parameters in which there has been particular preoccupation.
As you can see, it is clear how improvements in each of these parameters translate to recent technological advancements (i.e higher frame rates and bigger resolutions). When it comes to contrast, it is important to understand that the Human Visual System (HVS) can simultaneously perceive details in both high brightness and shadow portions of the image, while at the same time being capable of perceiving much higher brightness levels than what current display technologies can offer.
The Atomos Shogun Flame, one of the many current products offering HDR
In an effort to further approximate to the abilities of the HVS, technologies are emerging that do indeed provide a much higher brightness, a clear example of this being the much higher nit count of current top-range recorders and monitors. However, this is not all that High Dynamic Range has to offer. As Larry himself puts it, this increased brightness is accompanied by
a significant expansion of dynamic range – where both the brightness of the highlights and all their associated details are elevated to better emulate the real world, while at the same time the display can also portray details in deep dark portions of a scene.”
While many people stay away from white papers due to their often very technical nature and language, I truly recommend you take a look at this Canon HDR paper by Larry Thorpe. It is a short, concise and clear effort to establish what HDR means from the viewer’s perspective, with enough tech talk to explain how this feature integrates in the greater scheme of imaging technology. If you have 10 minutes to spare, I’m sure you will find something interesting to take away from it.
You can check out the Canon paper here. Also, do check out our talk with Larry earlier this year at NAB 2016, where we discussed the Canon C300 II and the release of the Canon Cine Zoom 18-80mm T4.4.
The Inter BEE 2015 technology exhibition that took place near Tokyo ended earlier this week, but during my visit two topics where very evident. HDR and 8K! While I intend to dedicate a separate news post to 8K, HDR is the more “relevant and upcoming technology” that might affect our professional lives soon.
But what is HDR? The new “high dynamic range” technology started to emerge in a more prominent way during last NAB show in Las Vegas (April) and now, half a year later, after looking at the Japanese domestic market, there is no doubt that it will find its way to our homes sooner rather then later.
To grasp the impact of the technology you simply have to look at a video which was shot and played back on an HDR monitor in order to appreciate the enhanced clarity and depth you are getting. It is almost like looking at a three dimensional picture without the need of 3D glasses, but in fact it is something else than 3D entirely. If I had to describe “what is HDR” in a sentence, I would say the new technology brings us a higher dynamic range viewing experience, richer colours, and more realistic images, than we’ve been used to. The displays are a lot brighter in the highlights, thus giving you a more realistic experience when it comes to light distribution across an image.
During Inter BEE I had a chance to talk to Ishii-san who took the time to highlight some of the benefits we should expect from embracing the new technology. According to Mr. Ishii, implementing HDR on video cameras is almost done, as sensor dynamic range constantly increases, but it’s the displays that are lagging behind. Leading companies like Dolby laboratories together with American and Japanese manufacturers are trying to standardize the technology and hopefully they will be done soon.
If you already had a chance to see some video demonstrations of HDR, please share your experience in the comments and let us know what you think about the emerging technology.
Image below is a 100% crop of image above. (open image above in new window for full res.)
Is it the 5D mark 5? No, it’s a framegrab from the RED Epic-m camera that Vincent Laforet took at 96 frames per second, ISO 800. It’s 5K. That’s about 14 Megapixels.
Why? You go ahead and answer that question in the comments.
And if you’re as impressed as I am let us not forget that these cameras push the resolution, but don’t necessarily keep the quality and sharpness there as some others do.
See the detailed article by Vincent Laforet on this framegrab and the Epic-m via Vincent’s blog
And here’s another reason: HighDynamicRange Video
Come on Canon, we need an update to our cameras already.
via the local hero blog
I picked this little video up over at Planet5D. Soviet Montage out of San Francisco is working on HDR recording using two Canon 5D Mark II cameras. They are not revealing the exact process just yet, but plan to reveal more info on their website in the near future.
Check it out here.