HDR in movies

It is not practical or technically possible to shoot movies with exposure bracketing because there is no such camera that can do that (namely, shoot 3 or 5 identical versions of the same shot at the same time with the same lens but at different exposures). However, a camera that already has high dynamic range and shoots RAW can make it possible to create tone mapped HDR-looking movies. 1 RAW copy is not as good as 3 or 5 RAW copies, but it’s better than nothing. The RED One camera should be good enough for this job.

If I had that $150 million that Spielberg has available for the creation of each of his movies, I would do an HDR-like movie. I always had in the back of mind an epic sci-fi movie (a’la Star Wars) with visual elements from the Final Fantasy franchise. A new application or plugin would have to be developed specifically for the movie that does tone mapping (kinda like Photomatix for video), while the actor’s faces would have to be smoothed out in post to look as pristine as in the FF games (I never said my movie would be about humans anyway).

I like the look of these pictures and I think that with a lot of visual effects and CGI buildings would look interesting: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. If you are careful with such color grading you can create a convincing look without looking totally CGI or cartoonish.

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