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Shooting for HDR (2 replies and 4 comments)

Stuart Brereton
4 years ago
Stuart Brereton 4 years ago

Roger, you've said in the past that you tend to stick to 800ASA with the Alexa. Has the move towards HDR made you rethink that at all? If shooting a night exterior, would you drop to 400 or even 200ASA to get more detail in the shadows for HDR, or would you feel that it was more important to shoot at a reasonable stop without having to increase your light levels?

Wouter
4 years ago
Wouter 4 years ago

not sure but I think HDR is a bit more about mapping the shoulder in a more "linear" fashion. So if you would drop the asa to 400/200, you would "lose" or better said move 1/2 stops from the shoulder to the toe. 

Stuart Brereton
4 years ago

HDR works across the entire dynamic range, but it's most noticeable in the Toe and Shoulder, or Knee, as it's called in digital cameras. You are correct that shooting at 400 would 'move' a stop from highlights to shadows, but that might be beneficial when shooting low key scenes, assuming you have enough light to do it.

Wouter
4 years ago

Well it depends what kind of aesthetic you're after. If you like dark images with lots of detail in the shadows, then you could could rate it lower.

From a practical point of view; rating it higher seems to be "better" because you can get away with less light. It also looks good on contemporary digital projection screens and monitors since their "contrast ratio" is pretty limited.

From an HDR perspective, I have no idea though.

I'd advise you to run some tests and decide where you want to take things. I guess a lot depends on the particular situation and the effect you're looking for.

Stuart Brereton
4 years ago

I have, and will continue to run tests on each movie I shoot that requires an HDR finish. I was asking Roger for his opinion.

Wouter
4 years ago

In that case you could also use the search form. If i remember correctly Roger has in the past stated he didn't like the HDR pass on Sicario and brought down the highlights. quite a bit.

Roger Deakins
4 years ago
Roger Deakins 4 years ago

I wouldn't see a reason to change how I shoot for HDR as I want the projected image to have the overall contrast and tonal balance that I have shot. That is why I did a separate HDR pass for 'Sicario' and I will certainly do the same for any future project. Yes, the black being so black in projection is a good option as is the intense brightness of the highlights, though less so in my mind. But I see it only as an option.

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