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Shooting HDR Video Update

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About a year ago I started a thread relaying my experience shooting HDR with my GH4 + Atomos Shogun, which gave me (V) log-gamma, 10bit 422 4K 30P video suitable for HDR. DaVinci Resolve was used to create an HDR video. I created and uploaded an HDR video for YouTube:

This video was viewed 4.9 thousand times.

The biggest problem was viewing the video in HDR, and there was much confusion when people played the YouTube HDR video as to whether in fact YouTube was actually playing the HDR version - YouTube automatically plays its SDR version unless it detects the right viewer. Some thought by merely setting their TV to play in HDR that would automatically make YouTube play the HDR version. That was wrong, and there were comments from people viewing in HDR an SDR video. They were not impressed, but they actually did not see HDR or even SDR properly viewed. Chaos.

So, what's happened since then? Having upgraded to the Sony FS700R so I can now shoot 4K DCI 60P 12bit RAW 422 video with 14 stops of dynamic range, I was ready to explore HDR again:

1. Good news: The free version of DaVinci Resolve is now a full-featured editor, and it is actually easy to use for normal editing stuff. In addition, its color management makes it easy to produce SDR or HDR videos from log-gamma videos or RAW. You tell it the input is Slog/Sgamut or RAW and the output and time line are ST 2084 for HDR or REC709 gamma 2.4 for SDR. Easy. I used the RGB parade to check white balance and to keep the dynamic range within the limits of SDR or HDR (the scopes show clearly how much more DR you get in HDR).

2. Good news: The free version of Resolve adds the appropriate metadata for HDR that YouTube uses to detect the video is in fact HDR. YouTube , not just DaVinci, makes this claim. Resolve is the only editor to do so.

3. No improvement: One still has to make, in the free version, a DNxHR HQX version to get a 10bit 422 HDR video. It has a ridiculously high bitrate, so a 2.5 minute video takes up 37 gigabytes! And I cannot even play it on my i7, 7th generation computer with Nvidia 1050Ti graphics card. The non-free version of Resolve gives better options (it is only $299 now, so that may be a good buy given that Resolve really obviates the need for any other editor).

4. Good news: Before, when I uploaded my HDR video, I was never sure YouTube had detected it was HDR. Now YouTube tells you it's HDR immediately (if it is).

So, it is easier and cheaper to make an HDR video if you have the camera equipment to do so - that would include GH5 owners, if they shoot UHD 30P 422 10bit in Vlog or HLG, or GH5 + Shogun Inferno to get UHD 60P 422 10bit (almost as good as what I got!).

5. Good news: The standard YouTube app will play HDR videos on cell phones automatically. These phones are the Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Note 8, Xperia XZ Premium and LG V30. And I have an S8!

Now, I can actually view my HDR videos easily in HDR on my cell phone. Now, it ain't 10bit, and likely not REC2020 all the way, or have 14 stops of DR. But the difference is still incredible. The white bus in sunshine in the video below, viewed in HDR, is stunning.

What else plays YouTube HDR video in HDR? The YouTube app on Samsung UHD TV's for sure. But Sony TV's? LG TV's? Still have to use Chromecast Ultra as an attachment? Seems like still confusion.

And how does one play an HDR video directly without YouTube on an UHD HDR TV? What codecs will play? Does one need to convert to HEVC? Anyone know?

OK, here is the new HDR video - 60P 4K:

And here is my 4K 60P SDR version (not the HDR converted by YouTube to SDR):

If you cannot view in HDR, the two videos will look about the same. If you can view YouTube HDR videos in HDR then you can compare.
Date: Nov 3, 2017   


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