ACS: HDR Can’t Be Ignored

Ben Allan, ACS hosted a video on YouTube entitled HDR: A Cinematographer’s Perspective which documents the ACS Technology Committee performing an HDR test shoot with the support of Lumen Arty Film Studios, Panavision, Sony and Cutting Edge Post.

They invited Toby Oliver, ACS (Day Shift) to light and shoot some example scenes and to monitor on set in both SDR and HDR. An accomplished DP, Oliver had never been able to monitor in HDR on set before. Committee member Tom Gleeson also made a short film that was to be monitored in HDR but because of COVID lockdowns, it ended up being monitored in SDR – though it was finished in HDR. One of several stated goals of the test shoot was to determine the importance of having an HDR production monitor on set.

After wrapping up the shoots, they graded one of the scenes in SDR first, extrapolating the HDR version from that, and for the other scene, an HDR version was created first and an SDR version was made using Dolby Vision’s trim controls. The consensus seemed to be that starting with the HDR grade and making an SDR trim pass afterward not only saved time but also yielded great results.

Can industry professionals distinguish between the ‘hand graded’ SDR version of a Hollywood film and a Dolby Vision derived SDR version? Find out by following the link.

The ASC has also created test material free of charge to the motion picture industry to evaluate exhibition systems and processing software.

The Mission is a 17-minute short film, carefully crafted by ASC cinematographers and associate members, image scientists, colorists, manufacturers and technologists to provide a cinematic and diverse piece of media that may be freely used to test theatrical projection, theatrical emissive displays, professional monitors, consumer monitors and post production image processing software and hardware.

American Society of Cinematographers

On a side note, regarding Apple’s 2021 laptops with Liquid Retina XDR display, in the comments section of the video, the Australian Cinematographers Society writes,

“We had a MacBook Pro 16” on set on our test shoot and when we compared it to the fifty grand AUD Sony BVM-HX310 we were amazed at how good the MacBook was. It is an impressive HDR display.”

The only very minor quibble we have with the otherwise excellent presentation is when Ben Allan refers to the BT.2100 standard, ratified by the ETU in 2016, as ‘new’. Ironically, as so often happens, the ACS was unable to upload the video to YouTube in HDR.

For those wishing to dive deeper, we can’t recommend this brilliant series of interviews by the ASC highly enough.

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