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NOW HDR, was 8K Samsung TVs

NOW HDR, was 8K Samsung TVs

John Brawley

Bringing this over from CML General….

On Oct 10, 2019, at 4:32 PM, Art Adams <aadams@...> wrote:

I think it’s safe to assume that every show that has any sort of intended lifespan is going to go through an HDR finish. The problem, of course, is that no one is monitoring HDR on set. If this were the case, I’d be curious as to what kind of changes this would force.

Yeah.  Doing my first HDR (and Dolby vision) mandated show right now and realised there really isn’t a good way to look at HDR on set.

Like nothing at all, sort of a full suite with a Sony 300, which no-one wants to do.

I did see some lovely Canon HDR monitors the other day that had eye watering price tags….Again for studio suite, not for the field though. 

Michael C from Panavision before he left told me they were working on a monitoring solution for set but I never got to try it out.  HDR Link I think they call it.

I was wondering about getting one of the consumer TV panels but I didn’t get far down that path.

If HDR takes off, and it likely will, it’s probably going to force some changes in production in the areas of lighting and optics. I’m curious as to whether anyone else agrees.

Well, the show I’m doing right now is a period (1760’s) and on stage, all the lighting is either pracs candles, in frame everywhere, or hot windows with sheers for daylight.

Hot candles in foreground.  Hot candles in background.  

It’s a nightmare.  

One thing I realised in my tests is that we have a lot of DR with modern cameras, so I’ve been exposing “to the left” or rather underexposing the middle a bit, and trying to protect the highlights more.  Almost exposing for the highlights really.

This means in HDR the candle flames, instead of clipping out and going white hot crazy, retain a little more colour, and therefore don’t look as naturally clipped.  I then drag up the midtowns though the grade, or trying to light them up a little.

It looks so much nicer and natural in HDR to have a little of that detail in the highlights.

For windows, I let them sit as clipped, but the clip level is dropped to say 500 nits (1000 being the clipping standard in the grade suite I’m in) so they may burn, but not as bright hopefully. But I used to get away with lights in shot and crappy day white textiles outside of windows.  Not any more.  You can see it all.

So perversely, I’m now doing the opposite of what a lot of previous exposure doctrine lead me to do, that is to underexposure or expose for highlights, to try and protect them more, unless they’re windows, in which case I try and make them visually cleaner and that there’s nothing embarrassing out there that would have been hidden away in SDR.

It seems the other approach is to also give up the extra DR and stretch everything out as well, but set a lower clipping point but that does seem less satisfying a result, basically scaling a SDR grade into HDR.

One other way to go would be to abandon lighting  and using pracs so much, treat it like we used to in the film days where pracs lights are justification for “real” lights and bring the levels up.  Seems perverse to work that way, that HDR needs you to raise the levels, to effectively LOWER the DR so that it all fits in a narrow exposure band.

I will say I LOVE the look of HDR.  It’s subtle, nuanced, colour perception is more discrete.  I think it’s a great step forward, much more so that adding more resolution.  But it’s a tricky one to come to terms with and I’m finding it challenging to work with, especially as you can’t really know what it’s going to look like till the grade….err…just like film :-)


John Brawley
Los Angeles 
Currently London on The Great Season 1

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