NAB 2015: Industry Leaders Discuss HDR and Wider Color Gamut

High Dynamic Range and wider color gamut were the focus of “The Next Generation of Consumer Experiences is NOW” panel at the NAB Show. Panelists expressed their excitement about the potential of producing and delivering HDR content. Moderated by Carolyn Giardina of The Hollywood Reporter, the discussion included Bryan Barber of Warner Bros., JoDee Freck of Lionsgate, Jim Mainard of DreamWorks Animation, Michael DeValue of Disney, Hanno Basse of 20th Century Fox Film Corp., and Jim Helman of MovieLabs.

Creative issues associated with HDR will be worked out with more experience. Basse mentioned that 24fps can produce strobing and blur that become more visible in HDR. Freck commented that HDR let’s you see details in both dark and brightly lit areas that need to be accounted for in post. Mainard suggested that you may need to have second passes in post to soften the clarity and detail that HDR enables.

But with experience comes support. One director told Basse “this HDR stuff is so great I don’t have to shoot in 3D anymore” because HDR enhances the sense of depth in 2D images.

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Mainard raised the point that, at the retail level, consumer and sales force education is going to be critical. We are introducing yet another consideration and choice that could confuse consumers. Ideally, there will be side-by-side HDR/SDR comparison displays in stores. (Reporter’s comment: Soon after 3D TVs launched, CE device manufacturers installed four-station 3D TV displays in Best Buys and elsewhere to allow consumers to experience 3D TV in a controlled manner.)

There are many HDR displays and tools on the NAB show floor. Getting HDR projection into theaters is a challenge, said Basse.

Looking beyond new movies, TV shows, and other sources of native HDR content, conversion of catalog content is underway at many studios. It is being done judiciously, since some older catalogs are not well served by the conversion.

The UHD Alliance, of which Basse is president and board chair, is working on unified standards to support mass market roll-out and adoption of HDR content and devices.

When asked what will have changed when the panel reconvenes at NAB 2016, the panelists said that there will be HDR standards, there will be product in the market, and we’ll have consumer data.

Panelists:

  • Bryan Barber, VP Digital Initiatives, Warner Bros.
  • Hanno Basse, CTO, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
  • Michael DeValue, Director of Advanced Technology, Walt Disney Studios
  • JoDee Freck, SVP Mastering & Technical Services, Lionsgate Entertainment
  • Jim Helman, CTO, MovieLabs
  • Jim Mainard, Head of Digital Strategy & New Business Development, DreamWorks Animation