HDR used to make the audience uneasy: a good strategy?

During Eric Weidt’s presentation (FilmLight’s Colour On Stage), where he discussed his collaboration with David Fincher on Mindhunter, the colorist talked about how the overhead neon tubes in the shot of a couple shopping at a grocer’s were overpowering, which is why he ended up decreasing the intensity, but that the extended brightness of HDR could be very effective at producing a feeling of dread. It can also lend a touch of the supernatural or magical (the chandelier in The Hand of God), heighten anxiety (e.g. the fight scene in the dreadful Day Shift, sunlight flashing on the driver’s face during the opening chase sequence of 6 Underground), add realism (reflections on the chrome of vintage automobiles at night in Devotion), disorient or even make the viewer uncomfortable in a way that is simply not possible with low dynamic range video. 

“In the flashback where we first meet Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons), it’s all dark and you see this shadow in the corner. There are these piercing light rays coming through the holes of the tarp at the top. When the tarp is ripped off by Todd, Jessie really squints at the light because he has been down in that hole for days. We embraced that in SDR. But in HDR, we helped to burn the eyes of the audience so that they squint with Jessie, then dynamically cool the exposure back in. We’re helping the audience to visually adjust at the same time as Jesse and using that to emphasize the experience of the character. That’s where HDR can be very effective.” – Marshall Adams, ASC, talking about El Camino.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑