Display Technology: Dynamic Range (We Need MUCH More!)

#1
I've been shooting high dynamic range DCI 4K content for a while and one of the frustrating issues that faces me is the fact that current displays only reproduce about half of the f-stop range that I can shoot.

SpectraCal folks have an interesting discussion on how the display industry in conjunction with Dolby Labs, is looking to the future of displaying HDR.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZWWbx6vGk8

For me as a cinematographer, I'm faced with the world of S-Log gamma, and color gamuts that far exceed REC709 space. Making these images look good on conventional displays is challenging.

I've been experimenting with high brightness backlight displays and grading my footage to preserve highlight data, and it looks promising. However, when other people view this footage on conventional displays, they say it looks too dark.

I've been wanting a DCI 4K projector for months now that could reproduce 10,000 nits, instead of what the theater standard is now of around 48 nits (16FL). I thought of putting a large venue projector on a smaller screen, but the black levels aren't low enough because commercial projectors have very limited dynamic range (2000:1 static contrast). We'd need closer to 500,000:1 and 50,000 lumens light output, as well as 12-bit color, to get close to the goals of reproducing high fidelity dynamic range. For example, filming in a relatively dark hangar, and then the door opens and the sun streams in. REC709 space blows it all out to white, but a HDR image in S-Log shows the blue sky, the pavement, the grass and hills in the distance, etc. Getting that range into a display is the problem.

I'm watching developments on the 4K projector front closely (not much happening now) and hope that the industry will start to have some breakthroughs, now that UHD TVs are available in greater numbers. 4K projection makes even HD look much smoother, eliminating aliasing for a more film-like look with no digital artifacts.
 
Apr 23, 2016
325
0
0
#2
I've been shooting high dynamic range DCI 4K content for a while and one of the frustrating issues that faces me is the fact that current displays only reproduce about half of the f-stop range that I can shoot.

SpectraCal folks have an interesting discussion on how the display industry in conjunction with Dolby Labs, is looking to the future of displaying HDR.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZWWbx6vGk8

For me as a cinematographer, I'm faced with the world of S-Log gamma, and color gamuts that far exceed REC709 space. Making these images look good on conventional displays is challenging.

I've been experimenting with high brightness backlight displays and grading my footage to preserve highlight data, and it looks promising. However, when other people view this footage on conventional displays, they say it looks too dark.

I've been wanting a DCI 4K projector for months now that could reproduce 10,000 nits, instead of what the theater standard is now of around 48 nits (16FL). I thought of putting a large venue projector on a smaller screen, but the black levels aren't low enough because commercial projectors have very limited dynamic range (2000:1 static contrast). We'd need closer to 500,000:1 and 50,000 lumens light output, as well as 12-bit color, to get close to the goals of reproducing high fidelity dynamic range. For example, filming in a relatively dark hangar, and then the door opens and the sun streams in. REC709 space blows it all out to white, but a HDR image in S-Log shows the blue sky, the pavement, the grass and hills in the distance, etc. Getting that range into a display is the problem.

I'm watching developments on the 4K projector front closely (not much happening now) and hope that the industry will start to have some breakthroughs, now that UHD TVs are available in greater numbers. 4K projection makes even HD look much smoother, eliminating aliasing for a more film-like look with no digital artifacts.
What do you think is the best projector for HD 1080P under $1500? I think I will have to wait for 4K for at least a few years.

just checked out your home page. Is that "sonic holography" as in Bob Carver? I have used it for years with my Sunfire TG3. I moved that processor to my desktop rig just for 2 channel now that I upgraded to an auro 3D theater. I have the TG3 paired with a Carver AV 505 amp driving JBL 230's.
 
#3
What do you think is the best projector for HD 1080P under $1500? I think I will have to wait for 4K for at least a few years.

just checked out your home page. Is that "sonic holography" as in Bob Carver? I have used it for years with my Sunfire TG3. I moved that processor to my desktop rig just for 2 channel now that I upgraded to an auro 3D theater. I have the TG3 paired with a Carver AV 505 amp driving JBL 230's.

There are quite a few projectors on the market in the HD category that are decent. I tend to prefer DLP-based units for the better contrast and shadow detail (deeper blacks). I haven't researched much of the HD models of late, because I'm focused on 4K. I can tell you that I'm pretty satisfied with my InFocus IN82. However, projectors that use a UHP lamp as a source tend to have limited color gamut. Compared to an OLED or Quantum Dot display, it looks pretty dull in the red tones with saturated red.

LASER based projectors may be the future, and they offer greater color gamut as well as HDR.


Yes, it's Bob Carver's C4000 preamp that remains the mainstay of my system. When I bought that preamp, I followed Bob's speaker design advice when I built my (then) new speakers, using a vertical axis for inline driver placement.
 
Apr 23, 2016
325
0
0
#4
There are quite a few projectors on the market in the HD category that are decent. I tend to prefer DLP-based units for the better contrast and shadow detail (deeper blacks). I haven't researched much of the HD models of late, because I'm focused on 4K. I can tell you that I'm pretty satisfied with my InFocus IN82. However, projectors that use a UHP lamp as a source tend to have limited color gamut. Compared to an OLED or Quantum Dot display, it looks pretty dull in the red tones with saturated red.

LASER based projectors may be the future, and they offer greater color gamut as well as HDR.


Yes, it's Bob Carver's C4000 preamp that remains the mainstay of my system. When I bought that preamp, I followed Bob's speaker design advice when I built my (then) new speakers, using a vertical axis for inline driver placement.
I was thinking about getting sunfire CRM speakers to go with my TG3 and AV505 but they only go down to 70HZ. My JBL 230's have great bass for their size and I just can't make that trade off.
 
Jun 21, 2013
369
1
18
Wellington, New Zealand
#5
... We'd need closer to 500,000:1 and 50,000 lumens light output, as well as 12-bit color, to get close to the goals of reproducing high fidelity dynamic range. For example, filming in a relatively dark hangar, and then the door opens and the sun streams in. REC709 space blows it all out to white, but a HDR image in S-Log shows the blue sky, the pavement, the grass and hills in the distance, etc. Getting that range into a display is the problem. ...
Getting that range into your eyes is an even bigger problem, and technology won't help with that. You have enough display brightness once your irises start closing down and you have to squint at the highlights. You have to reduce the image dynamic range somewhat so you can see the scene outside the hangar without squinting, and still see details inside. You don't realise how good your eyes are at this until you've been for an eye examination, where they put drops in your eyes to keep them dilated. Then you walk outside... The trick is to do this image dynamic range reduction / mapping so as to mimic the eye's own mapping.
 
Jul 24, 2010
124
1
18
Chicago, Illinois, USA
#6
For many of us, theatrical release movies are the most important source. Until movie theaters increase their brightness significantly from the SMPTE standard of 48 nits, it seems to me that HDR is not terribly relevant for movies. Home video projectors have similar brightness capability limitations. I don't really want to have to run a 2,000 watt lamp instead of my current 200 watt lamp. Movie theaters don't want to run 40,000 watt lamp(s) instead of a 4,000 watt lamp. Maybe lasers will come to the rescue....

Cinematographers have controlled the lighting of the scenes being filmed for many, many years -- adding light as well as blocking light. They have produced very satisfying results.

HDR is fine and dandy for selling new TVs, but....
 
#7
There's two aesthetics to this issue: one is cinema tradition of controlled contrast levels. The other is achieving a realistic lifelike image.

For the latter of the two, the realism is greater if the picture on screen actually matches real life. Our eyes react a certain way to real life. They may react similarly to lower contrast levels, but with not as much discomfort and even so, there is a difference we can tell.

If you have two openings in a wall, one with a view to a sunny exterior, and the other a screen projecting the same scene in HDR. The idea is to have the projected scene be indistinguishable from the live scene.
 
May 30, 2010
14,139
83
48
Portugal
#8
There's two aesthetics to this issue: one is cinema tradition of controlled contrast levels. The other is achieving a realistic lifelike image.

For the latter of the two, the realism is greater if the picture on screen actually matches real life. Our eyes react a certain way to real life. They may react similarly to lower contrast levels, but with not as much discomfort and even so, there is a difference we can tell.

If you have two openings in a wall, one with a view to a sunny exterior, and the other a screen projecting the same scene in HDR. The idea is to have the projected scene be indistinguishable from the live scene.

I must say that for me cinema is an art and I am a partisan of the cinema tradition of controlled contrast levels - I expect a lot more more than just live scenes from cinema. But yes, it would be interesting to know how cinematographers could use a wide range of contrast.
 
Jul 24, 2010
124
1
18
Chicago, Illinois, USA
#9
Last summer we had lunch in a restaurant with rather normal light levels. It was a bright sunny day and I was facing the windows. There were many very bright reflections off of high polished automobiles. It was very difficult to adjust to these radically different light levels. Almost painful in fact...

I don't see why I should want to replicate this. Perhaps I'm in a minority, but I do not need much more dynamic range if it means much more brightness. I'd welcome better black levels from my DLP projector though.
 

About us

  • Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing