Why HDR Production Monitors Matter, Part II

Why HDR Production Monitors Matter, Part I

Why HDR Production Monitors Matter, Part II

Why HDR Production Monitors Matter, Part III

Why HDR Production Monitors Matter, Part IV

I sort of equate shooting in SDR and finishing in HDR [to] shooting on film but exposing it on the video tap. You know you’re only looking at this little narrow band of the camera when in fact the camera has all this range, so why not look at it? With all that range, why not display all this range and you know you can still use it selectively in the grading process. You can say, okay, I want this to blow out and I want to control the contrast here, etc. But for me, it’s been a completely life-changing situation. I mean, at least it’s completely revolutionized the way I work and actually it’s created a situation where I’ve used a lot less fill light than I used to use. I’ve had to protect the highlights less because I really know where the exposure is. I’m very comfortable exposing the camera, so now even when I do an SDR finish job… I mean, this movie I’m on right now is destined for theatrical release; we’re going to monitor in HDR because I feel so much more confident in terms of how I can expose the camera when I’m doing that, so it’s completely changed the way I work.

Erik Messerschmidt

In part one, we spelled out how the choice of monitors can impact lighting decisions, and in particular, how relying on an SDR monitor for an HDR project will inevitably affect those decisions negatively. In part II, we demonstrate the difference between monitoring the Native Video Source and PQ mode on the Ninja V when shooting ProRes RAW HQ with the Sony a7s III.

When selecting Native Video Source, the Ninja V displays the source video without any processing, behaving as expected for a broadcast monitor. The image you’re viewing is the untouched camera output, meaning that a Log image will look flat. It is difficult to distinguish between saturated and desaturated colors, textures dissolve, and highlight details are indistinct.

When PQ mode is enabled, the Ninja V maps from the camera’s gamma/gamut (in this case, S-Log3/S-Gamut3 or S-Gamut3.cine) so that 2,000% linear IRE maps the panel’s white (1000 nits), the advantage being that specular highlights and bright areas previously blown out in Native Source Video are now visible. It provides more headroom by allowing you to see more detail. When the scene in front of you and the picture displayed on the Ninja look similar, exposure should be correct – though of course, you’ll want to check the ‘scopes!

It is therefore incorrect to assert that the Ninja V is no more than an SDR monitor with more nits – it uses its processing engine to display an HDR image whose contrast and color are a faithful representation of the scene – something which an SDR monitor is incapable of doing. Atomos claims the Ninja V has ten stops of dynamic range, which is just 1-1/2 stops shy of the dynamic range of Sony a7s III ProRes RAW. Finally, even if your deliverable is SDR, it still makes sense to monitor in HDR.

Why HDR Production Monitors Matter, Part I

Why HDR Production Monitors Matter, Part II

Why HDR Production Monitors Matter, Part III

Why HDR Production Monitors Matter, Part IV

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