Filming in High Dynamic Range

Most people are aware of high dynamic range or “HDR” for short. They’ve seen it advertised on TVs as a premium feature. Ever wondered how it’s filmed? Our cameras can film in high dynamic range, and it would probably surprise most to learn that the image on the left is what HDR footage looks like coming straight out of the camera.

This cloudy-looking, low contrast image gives a video editor or colorist ample control in making adjustments on just how much detail is preserved in the both the brightest parts of the image as well as the darkest. Being able to preserve color detail in both simultaneously gives the “HDR” look and an image like what you see on the right. In some cases, color information itself is recorded somewhat desaturated for the same reasons as filming in low contrast. What you often see in movies is an image that has a subtle color tinge or “color grade” as it’s referred to in our industry. Color grades use established color theory to help shape how the viewer responds to what they’re seeing. A bluish/orange combination may enhance the effect of an action movie while a more greenish/yellow might be used to create suspense. Whatever the color grade may be, it’s a technique designed to enhance whatever effect the video or movie wants to create with the viewers.

This type of is available to any type of production we handle at Ethos Media. Interested in learning more? Contact us for details!

What Else About the Cinematic Look?

Filming in high dynamic range is not merely a product of camera settings. Lighting plays an important role too which is why it is often times the part of production setup that takes the longest to configure. We use industry-grade LED lights with softbox diffusion to ensure flattering lighting on our subjects. These lights don’t get hot unlike traditional tungsten bulbs and make the filming room uncomfortable. We also have the ability to match light color with any existing lighting in a room.

Filming content in 24 frames per second also plays a role in creating a cinematic look as it is the traditional frame rate of movies dating back to their initial creation. Filming in higher frame rates do serve various purposes and is not something to concern yourself with unless you are acquiring raw footage from us for your own video editing.

Much of our corporate video, commercial, and event video selection of videos demonstrate filming in high dynamic range where you can simultaneously see detail in both dark and light areas of the image.

Filming in High Dynamic Range

Click on the above image to enlarge. The image on the left is a recent interview shot on our Sony A7III camera in S-L0g2 / S-Gamut picture profile settings. With some adjustments made in editing software, we are able to achieve the look pictured on the right but can also modify the colors and contrast in any number of ways, depending on the look appropriate the for the content.

The Final Look

Check out the finalized look chosen by the editing team at Minuteman Disaster Response. This video combined a series of additional footage visually reinforcing what was being described in the primary dialogue.