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What is HDR?

Question: What is HDR?

Answer: HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. “Dynamic range” is the range from the brightest brights to the darkest darks of an image. The HDR acronym has different meanings to different industries. For example, in still-photography, combining multiple exposures into a single “HDR” image is common. However, this is not the way we think about HDR at Netflix. 
For Netflix, HDR is about delivering a better image to our customers. Our DPs (Directors of Photography) are capturing HDR today. Traditionally, this has been compressed down to a lower dynamic range when viewing and mastering. Now, we can master and deliver the full dynamic range that was captured, making for much more dramatic and natural looking images.


What is Dolby Vision?

Question: What is Dolby Vision?

Answer: Dolby Vision is a way of mastering and delivering HDR to the home. In post production, this involves a colorist grading on a Dolby Vision HDR monitor called the Pulsar, which has a brightness of 4,000 nits (for comparison, the current standard is 100 nits). This monitor is used to creatively grade the master HDR color grade at the end of the post-production process. An additional “trim pass” is done with the colorist and filmmakers to set the look of the SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) version for backwards compatibility. In delivery to Netflix, a single-source IMF master contains the HDR master, along with the “trim pass” metadata in order to derive SDR streams. In delivery to the home, Dolby Vision-certified TVs handshake with our streaming service and deliver the best-looking image possible, based on the capabilities of that specific TV model. The advantages of using a process like Dolby Vision are:

  • For Filmmakers: Creative control over HDR and SDR versions

  • For Netflix: Single-source IMF master delivery for all streams

  • For Customers: Best-looking image regardless of TV capabilities


Does Netflix require HDR?

Question: Does Netflix require HDR?

Answer: No. We will support HDR on any Netflix Original project, but ultimately we think of it as a creative decision. Some projects benefit from it more than others, based on the story and visual intent.


Do I need to “shoot” HDR?

Question: Do I need to “shoot” HDR?

Answer: No. All of our approved 4K cameras capture RAW in high dynamic range when you hit record. Viewing HDR on-set is possible with certain monitors, and this can be arranged in order to preview how the HDR image will look in post.


How do I finish in HDR?

Question: How do I finish in HDR?

Answer: Certain post-production facilities have color grading suites equipped with Dolby Vision, and know how to generate an acceptable HDR delivery (IMF) package. Please contact us for an up-to-date list of those facilities.





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