Shoot the same scene through a beam splitter on two Canon 5D MKII digital cameras. Under expose one camera by two stops, over expose the other by the same. Mix in post with some custom software that compresses the brights and shadows and you have what will probably become the next over used video effect, once the hardware gets sorted out… Now, I like the look of HDR (high dynamic range) images, I’ve been shooting still photos with this technique for a while now. I quite like the look for the most part. However, just like other visual effects (small shutter angle, shaky camera, bleach bypass) if its not used with care it can become distracting. If done well the technique can yield a surprisingly natural looking image but it’s easy to over do it. You end up with what looks like a grotesque artists rendering of the scene that might distract from the overall theme of your scene. Not too much of an issue with a still photo, I can just call it artistic license but if it were a segment of dialog between two characters you might be left wondering if the scene was meant to have conveyed the idea that the characters were supposed to be suffering the effects of a hallucinogenic drug and the audience had been asked along for the ride. I’d like to think that in the future someone will devise a way to capture a video image with seven (or more) stops of latitude in a native format so the DP (director of photography) can literally dial in the exposures for parts of a scene and eliminate some tricky lighting setups.Not that I’m in favor of eliminating the lighting department of a production crew, I’m just saying that this might open up more opportunities for the creators of motion pictures. The people at Soviet Montage Productions say they are working on a video that will use this process throughout it’s length, I’m looking forward to seeing that. I’m also looking forward to seeing the results of some video tests that my good friend George Gifford said he would try some time soon.
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