LG Compares Standard and High Dynamic Range

It’s hard to put together a side-by-side comparison of anything in video—too many variables get in the way. It’s even harder to show such a comparison through the filter of a camera, a bandwidth-limited Internet connection, and a desktop computer monitor. But this comparison that LG showed in its booth looked close in person to what you see here, and perhaps even more strikingly so. Ignore the color differences; they were either produced in the camera or were on the screen. I was looking for other things in trying to get the shot of a moving image at an opportune time, so can’t say for certain. But they’re not part of the HDR process!

If you look closely you’ll see medium brightness areas of the fuselage looking roughly the same in both pictures, but the spectral highlights look brighter in the HDR image at the right. In addition, the glint of sunlight off the water in the HDR shot is nowhere to be found in the SDR version.

HDR is very promising. But my only reservation is how it might impact the look of film that we’re familiar with and the artistic freedom of filmmakers. Can they cut rapidly between a dark indoor scene and a bright, sunlit one should the story demand it? And if the grading is tweaked to avoid eye discomfort in the viewer, will the presence of the director at the time of the transfer be even more vital than it is now (directors and/or or cinematographers are not always available for this). As to HDR grading for theatrical presentations, even theater projectors are not yet bright enough for this to be a significant concern.

Samsung’s Atmos Soundbar Hits the Heights I speculated a few months back is that what the world needs is an Atmos soundbar. The industry must have been listening, because we now have at least two such products, one from Samsung and the other from Yamaha. I haven’t heard the Yamaha, but the Samsung HW-K950 was being demonstrated at this year’s CES.

It consists of front LCR speakers firing from the front of the bar, L&R upward firing drivers also inside the bar, wireless surrounds with both front and upward firing drivers (front for the conventional surrounds, upward for the Atmos effects), and a wireless subwoofer.

The Samsung was in modest fettle in a small, semi-closed off both on the CES show floor. If it wasn’t entirely convincing in either immersion or timbre, an entire sidewall of glass, and no obvious acoustic room treatment, certainly didn’t help.