High Dynamic Range(HDR) static imagery has been around for a while, but now University of Warwick researchers have developed the first HDR video to capture the “real world”.
Sure, sometimes we don’t want to see what the world really looks like, but science and technology gurus have been trying their best for years to get cameras to accurately project what our eyes capture in a glance onto to TV and video screens. So far, they’ve met with only limited success.
The problem lies not in the sharpness of the imagery, but in the vast range of color, hue and brightness that the physical world encompasses. Lighting is a constantly changing property in the real world and something that traditional video cameras have real trouble keeping up with.
A camera’s ability to accurately represent what they are seeing depends largely on the number of exposures it uses and the f-stop value it has. Any images that lie outside the camera’s range are under or over-exposed, leading to patches of brightness or shadow that lack definition.
For those not in the camera know, F-stop represents the diameter of the entrance pupil in terms of the length of the focal lens. Each F-stop increment will have half of the light gathering “power” of the next highest iteration, and the more F-stops a camera has, the greater its ability to take accurate and representative pictures.
This lack of definiation can be irritating in a sports game, troublesome in security footage and deadly in a surgical camera situation, in which color and contrast may mean the difference between making the right cut and sending for the coroner.
Now, thanks to the University of Warwick, an HDR video option has been developed that not only records at 30 frames per second but has 20 full F-stops, allowing for a far broader range of images to be recorded in their true light. In addition, this HDR technology can assist with 3D imagery as it supports the ability to see 3D without the need for glasses.
With its ability to record near-perfect imagery in a vareity of situations, the camera is predicted to be of great use in a range of fields, from security and sport to medicine and eventually personal use.
While the world of camera technology has not yet fully replicated the human eye’s ability to rapidly change F-stop value while at the same time recording images in stereoscopic clarity, the Warwick advancement is a significant step forward in seeing the world as we want it to be.