Say Your Goodbyes to SDR!

So basically, if you’ve got a camera that shoots RAW or LOG, for around the cost of the GH5s, you can get yourself a Ninja Flame or Inferno, a BMD UltraStudio Mini Monitor and the best 55″ OLED TV on the market and begin creating and enjoying HDR videos that blow the socks off anything available today. What are you waiting for?

I uploaded my very first HDR video to YouTube around a week or so ago and since then, I’ve got no desire to ever look back. Every filmmaker is looking for the camera with the highest dynamic range, good low light performance, and nice highlight rolloff, and as a consequence, we keep upgrading our cameras every 6 months to 2 years – a costly enterprise! However – if your camera shoots RAW or LOG, you are already prepared to edit and deliver in HDR, which has a greater color space than SDR as well as greater dynamic range – and not just a paltry one or two stop improvement. Many balk at investing in HDR because of the supposed expense – but for less than the price of a Lumix GH5s, you can purchase a Ninja Flame or Inferno, a BMD UltraStudio Mini Monitor and the very best 55″ OLED television on the market today and begin editing high dynamic range video right away. And if, like me, you primarily distribute your videos on YouTube, you’ll be happy to learn that the quality is greatly improved as well – fewer compression artifacts and less macroblocking, less noise in the shadows and much sharper looking images. Why sharper? Because of the insanely higher local contrast of OLED displays, images that looked soft and smudgy in SDR are suddenly crisp again. Possibly for the first time in your life, you’ll see inky blacks and brilliant highlights. And what about the workflow? Little different from any other really. You simply need to select wide dynamic range for your library and project in Final Cut Pro and away you go. If you shoot with the GH5, HLG is a bit more simple than V-Log, if only because you won’t need any LUTs when recording, viewing your footage in the timeline or for delivery. The GH5 already has built-in LUTs for viewing the image while recording and you can use the Atom HDR feature on the Ninja for grading (you can also use Atom HDR when recording). If you prefer working with V-Log, however, there are LUTs available for all of the above. I prefer HLG because in my opinion, there’s less work in post, shadows are less noisy and it has a more pleasing highlight rolloff, but you are free to choose whichever you think is best. If you have clients that require rec.709, conversion LUTs are also available.

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