Generating HDR for the YouTube generation

Publish date:
Atomos D4

Shooting HDR is getting easier, but making it viewable still presents difficulties. However, anyone uploading to YouTube in HDR should find it easier soon, provided they use Atomos recorders.

Atomos has worked with YouTube’s development team to showcase HDR production and make it easier to upload either PQ or HLG in UHD or 4K. Together they have implemented a set of parameters for HDR signals for set-top boxes, gaming consoles and TV sets, and Atomos has defined a header structure compatible with YouTube from its ProRes files so YouTube’s servers will correctly encode it. They hope this will go forward as a standard.

Users of its 7-inch recorder/monitors or 19-inch Sumo will soon be able to select Log mode, apply a transform and set a destination. They could choose PQ/BT.2020 or HLG before starting to record, and as soon as they close the file, the QuickTime wrapper will encase all the parameters YouTube expects for HDR.

This will help make HDR easy to use. “Prior to this, the workflow has been very cumbersome and complicated, requiring HDR mastering and authoring,” said Mark Naidoo, head of marketing, Atomos (pictured).

The system will detect if the playout device is HDR capable, and if not, it does a transform to Rec.709 and shows the HDR as best as it can in SDR, “and they’ve actually nailed it – it looks incredible,” he said.

Naidoo sees this as gaining huge traction in gaming, where users capture their game play, upload the file to YouTube, and their subscribers can play it back in HDR. He believes it will also be popular for live recording and low-budget productions, but “gaming is the biggest thing on the internet and a lot of viewing on YouTube is game play.”

Stand Number: 11.D25/11.D15