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White paper
Process and distribute my audio, video or immersive content

Hybrid SDR-HDR production workflows: Conversions to the rescue


What HDR converter best suits your content and production workflows?

Fact: High dynamic range (HDR) technologies offer a superior image quality compared to standard dynamic range (SDR) ones. However content production for this new format has to be rethought, especially in the period of transition from SDR towards HDR, where simultaneous production of both formats is often a necessity. 
In this white paper, we explore the advantages that HDR has to offer, taking a look at key formats and challenges in an attempt to define HDR. We then look at workflows for hybrid SDR-HDR production workflows, addressing the advantages and limitations of each, and discuss the role of conversions between SDR and HDR in facilitating this format evolution.
Reading this 20 pages white paper will you give a better understanding of the different possibilities and enable an informed choice on what converter is the one best suited to the content itself.

Read the first page:

High dynamic range (HDR) imaging promises increased brightness, deeper contrast and more visible details in both bright and dark areas of the images. The advantages of this technology have attracted the attention of consumers and creators alike, with HDR being increasingly adopted and considered as a key element of the Ultra HD standard.

SDR-HDR conversion: Two possible techniques

As with any format changes, the introduction of HDR technologies brings about a period of transition from existing standards and formats – termed standard dynamic range or SDR towards HDR. In this transition, SDR and HDR content is produced simultaneously, SDR and HDR cameras are combined, and production workflows need to be redefined.


As producers gain more confidence in the new format and HDR adoption increases, two philosophies are starting to emerge around hybrid production of SDR-HDR. In SDR-first workflows SDR and HDR signals maintain approximately the same appearance and luminance levels, and the additional dynamic range available in HDR is dedicated to highlights that would otherwise be clipped in SDR. Although this approach minimizes the disruption a format transition causes to both the end user and the production workflows, it hardly utilizes the potential of the new format.


HDR-first workflows in contrast take a more aggressive, but future proof approach, allowing the HDR images to vary, closer to what we might expect of light in real scenes, therefore making better use of the available dynamic range and arguably offering a more realistic and immersive experience. At the same time, they require more workflow changes relative to SDR only productions.

the authors

Tania Pouli
Deputy Manager of Advanced Media Content Lab
Jean Yves Aubier - bcom
Jean-Yves Aubié
Manager of Advanced Media Content Lab
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special thanks 

Thanks a lot to David Brooks from Dolby who took some time to read it and for his constructive comment and support.
Many thanks to Olivier Chiabodo and The Explorers for their wonderful pictures which help illustrate the different formats in a very lively and vivid way.

Ludovic Noblet - bcom
© Fred Pieau

Ludovic Noblet

IP & Licensing Director

This white paper is the essential guide to understanding the benefits HDR offers for creating audio-visual experiences whatever it is about immersion or narration, as well as understanding the challenges of today's video production workflows delivering those benefits without compromising the artistic intent or the overall economic equation.