From Scene to Screen: The HDR Image Pipeline

An Introduction to the Creative Use of HDR

It's 2021, and HDR is ready to take over all of our video processes. When you're ready to start mastering HDR, here's where you start.

In this course, we're going to build your foundational understanding of High Dynamic Range Video: What is it? How is it different than creating video for traditional television, digital cinema, or the web? and How can I start working in it today?

This introduction to HDR video is designed for both creative artists who want to realize their creative visions in HDR, and for more technically oriented individuals and technicians who want to understand how the technical aspects of HDR compliment the creativity. The goal is that everyone, regardless of their role within the industry, will walk away with both a basic creative and technical understanding of the medium on which they can build deeper knowledge within their area of expertise, and will be able to communicate with each other about HDR and their roles using the same language.

Here are the topics we'll cover together:

  • Where did HDR come from?
  • What is Dynamic Range, and how do we measure it?
  • How do we move our images from a scene to a screen, technically and creatively?
  • What's the difference between data and image, and why is that difference important?
  • What (at the most basic level) is Perceptual Quantization, and what is Hybrid Log-Gamma? How are they different than Gamma or Log? Which one should you choose for your HDR work?
  • What three things do you need to change or upgrade to get started working in HDR today?
  • What do you need to do differently when planning a shoot in HDR?
  • How do you create HDR base grades and looks? What tools are available?
  • How do you make your HDR look good in SDR when everything's all done, and how do export and deliver HDR master files?

To answer all of these questions, I'm going to introduce you to some conceptual diagrams, like the Scene to Screen Technical Image Pipeline, the Scene to Screen Creative Diagram, and the step chart as a method for visualizing and comparing dynamic range. I'm going to show you mastered HDR example footage that shows what's possible creatively with HDR, and some of the technical considerations to look at when planning your shoots. We're going to explore an HDR-First Mastering Workflow, where HDR is your best possible image, and look at some demos that showcase the whole process. Scattered throughout, we'll talk about the HDR buzzwords, like "nits", Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and SL-HDR, what makes cameras and displays HDR, and I'll share with you some of my personal rules of thumb to speed up our HDR workflows.

What are you waiting for? Let's get started Mastering HDR!

1 - Requires the latest version of all supported browsers. Playback support may be limited by the capabilities of the playback device, though the video stream matches streaming standards available on most desktop, smartphone, and tablet devices manufactured within the last eight years. 2 - Requires the latest version of all supported browsers. Playback support may be limited by capabilities of the device and the screen used. Tested using streaming standards available on most devices within the last 3-5 years. Automatic quality switching may trigger a slight pause in playback in some browsers or on some devices. Some methods of casting using WebVideoCaster, DLNA, Chromecast or AirPlay may cause reduced playback quality & compression artifacting on a Roku or AppleTV device. Using the WebVideoCaster app enables full quality access to HDR streams, but at reduced player functionality. 3 - Requires a television capable of HDR playback using broadcast title streams (m2ts) served using HTTP Live Streaming. May not work on all HDRTVs or all devices. 4 - Most televisions cap SDR brightness at 400 nits peak; AndroidTV and FireTV quality selections default to a 400 nits peak gamma mapping for this reason. Subtitles & chapter selection may not be available on all device platforms. LEGAL - Use of this video player is "as-is," and Bilodeau Services, LLC makes no guarantees of compatibility with any device, either express or implied. Streaming quality may vary, and network conditions may prohibit playback. It is the responsibility of the viewer to ensure sufficient bandwidth for smooth playback. MasterHDRVideo is a trademark of Bilodeau Services, LLC. All other trademarks referenced are the property of their respective trademark owners.