[Tig] HDR format

Jim Houston jim.houston
Fri Mar 31 05:08:07 BST 2006

Thanks to oktobor for supporting the TIG

On Mar 30, 2006, at 1:34 PM, Digital Praxis wrote:
> <If we can have all this in a new format, why not.>
> Why attempt to fix what isn't broken just because you think
> you can make it better - a sure way to never make money.

I think the real answer is that there are multiple things that are 
in our current workflows.   One of the bigger ones is receiving
"Mystery Meat"  RGB files from various vendors.  You don't
really know what they are or what they should look like.

Also, you can send out the same strip of negative to multiple
facilities and what you get back from scanners and telecines
is only recognizable as the same scene, not really the same-looking

and there is plenty more to pick faults with....


<insert movie announcer's voice>
"Imagine a world in which everyone knows exactly what to do
with all RGB files.  Imagine a world in which an RGB triplet always 
refer to the
same color,  and imagine that scanners and telecines and film
recorders and digital projectors all can be calibrated to scan
or print exactly that color (with some leeway for lab variations)."
<end voiceover>

That is probably worth a new format.

And it's not a fantasy.

I'm chairing a group within the motion picture Academy's Science
and Technology Council to work on exactly this problem.  We have
very good participation from a really great group of people.

And to put up the ' strawman ' so you can see what we are thinking 
What if a format had all the good features of DPX without the huge 
of different possible encodings.  Pick some simple encoding that can be
referred to an absolute color space (such as RIMM/ROMM or XYZ).  Use
16-bit half-floats (ala OpenEXR) to allow high-dynamic range images.
Look for high-quality low-level compression no greater say than Sony's 
Establish standard transforms in and out of all of the most common
devices (film, digital cameras, scanner/telecines, rec709/sRGB monitors)
Define a color management system for the film-industry that shows
how each step in a production process has to take care of it's part
in handling and converting color files,  and  create containers
for image data and metadata that can carry along all the pieces
people need for production at both the file and 'reel' level.

I think this would be useful to allow future improvements in image 
and production workflows.

I'll be giving a brief rundown on this at NAB on Sunday at the digital 

Jim Houston
Chair,  File Format Committee
Advanced Technology Programs
Science and Technology Council
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

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