Just how common is highlight clipping in SDR content, anyhow?

Apparently, very common! According to the paper published by Michael Zink and Michael D. Smith, who analyzed hundreds of titles from the Warner Bros. catalogue in order to study outlier pixels, clipping is quite common in SDR, while its occurrence in HDR content is exceedingly rare. We should add that the SDR titles were in all likelihood shot in log or RAW (or film) and it’s entirely possible that the original footage had no clipping at all; but in order to convey the feeling the director/cinematographer wanted, the highlights would have been raised in post.

2 thoughts on “Just how common is highlight clipping in SDR content, anyhow?

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    1. Haha. I added a remark to the post saying that the original footage might very well not have been clipped at all, but that the highlights may have been lifted in post to make them brighter. I just watched a demonstration of this kind of treatment by Florian ‘Utsi’ Martin, colorist at ARRI, from a panel on HDR uploaded a few years ago to Vimeo.

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