The natural world presents our visual system with a wide range of colours and intensities. Furthermore, the scene may be constantly changing with, for example, significant differences in lighting levels going from outside to inside or simply as the sun goes behind some clouds etc. A human eye can see detail in regions that vary by 1:10(4) at any given eye adaption level.
A traditional camera, on the other hand, is only capable of capturing a limited range of lighting in any scene, ie Low Dynamic Range (LDR). The actual range captured depends on the exposure and f-stop setting of the camera. The remainder of the image outside this limited range is either under or over exposed. Images that can reproduce a large portion of the luminance dynamic range available in the real world are known as High Dynamic Range (HDR).
HDR imagery offers a more representative description of image-based digital content by storing data with a higher bit-depth per pixel than the more conventional LDR images. HDR images are typically either created in computer graphics or generated from a number of static images.
A HDR system capable of capturing, storing, transmitting and delivering dynamic HDR images, covering at least 20 f-stops, at full high-definition resolution, at 30 frames-pre-second, did not exist in a single camera unit...
until now !
I had the pleasure of joining Christian Payne (@documentally) at WMG, part of the University of Warwick, where we had a demonstration of the world's first High Dynamic Range video recording camera, and followed by interviews and discussions with key team members.
This system is owned and developed by WMG under the brand GoHDR and is based in the University of Warwick in the West Midlands region (UK).
The encoding/decoding software being developed by GoHDR has the potential to be enabling technology, which helps bring about the widespread adoption of HDR video for the home entertainment market.
Led by the Visualisation team and Professor Alan Chalmers under contract with Spheron VR in Germany, the camera is capable of 20 f-stops, full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution at 30 frames per second.
A key challenge to the widespread adoption of this HDR camera is making manageable the huge data stream that it generates. This is very much higher than a normal video camera with the HDR camera capturing data at 24 MBytes per frame or 42 Gigabytes per minute of footage, compared to just 9 Gigabytes for a minute of normal video footage.
Advances in compression is required and this is additional research and development that the team are currently delivering.
For more information, please visit GoHDR.com
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