January 9, 2016

GoPro Will Release a Consumer 360 Degree Camera, YouTube Will Support HDR Video

There are always new technologies coming out of CES, and this year's show was no different.

During a keynote, YouTube's Robert Kyncl mentioned that the company will be supporting HDR video, joining streaming companies like Amazon and Netflix. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range video, and it's a display format that improves subtleties in contrast, giving you a lot more detail throughout the image, especially in places that would normally be crushed, muddy, or overexposed. We're seeing plenty of TV makers jump on the bandwagon with support on their newest 4K TVs, but we'll likely see the technology in all of our displays sooner or later. As many have noted in the industry, HDR will probably have a more profound impact on the watching experience than increases in resolution (and most higher-end cinema cameras can already export proper HDR images in post).

In addition, around 55 minutes into the keynote, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman let it slip that they would be developing a "more casual" spherical camera for consumers, which likely means a whole new design with front and rear cameras, as opposed to the rig you see above. They'll join other major companies like Nikon in creating a simple-to-use 360 camera that does most of the work for shooters. GoPro is positioned well to introduce a simple 360 camera to the masses.

If you'd like to watch the whole keynote, here it is, and you can jump to 38 minutes for the discussion between Kyncl, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman, and Chris Milk, music video director and CEO of VRSE, a VR company:

The amount of video we're watching according to the keynote is staggering, and apparently the only two things we spend more time on are working and sleeping (though I'm sure eating and other activities have to be up there). In the next 5 years, video is going to make up most of internet traffic, which really isn't that surprising when you consider how much video is being watched, and how the quality continues to increase. With 4K and HDR, the bandwidth requirements are only going to get more insane, especially as people cut the cord and move to internet-only video services. 

As for GoPro's 360 camera, we don't have any specific details yet, but it's likely a lot more difficult to create that technology than the spherical rig we've already seen.       

Your Comment

4 Comments

Hi, and Thanks for NFS!

Question: Why would you need more bandwidth for showing HDR? I get that recording 14bit of dynamic range requires more bits than 8 (if you don't want banding etc), but for showing HDR content? Is the HDR suppose to be something interactive, and in that case why? (lets see how this would look overexposed....). Or will the future displays be able to show more DR? ("kids, don't look directly into the sun on the screen, it might burn your retinas")
Isn't HDR more about just recording the whole dynamic range (as wide as possible) and then just crunch it into the 8-bit range (or whatever bit range your display has) so that we can see both the clouds and the details in the shadows?

January 10, 2016 at 7:15AM

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Joakim
287

I was thinking this too

TVs and monitors use rec709 and can only display 7 stops from black to white. You can't force a display to produce more range than that.

Unless what YouTube is planning is some sort of faux-HDR, which gives the impression of more range.

January 12, 2016 at 5:04AM

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Alex Blogg
Documentary Filmmaker
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or.. that the future display will support higher DR (did some reading about this after my post and apparently the future looks "bright" in this regard - according to reviewer so bright that his eyes hurt... :/ )

January 12, 2016 at 8:51AM

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Joakim
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HDR displays are capable of showing more than 8bits of dynamic range. They're expensive now, but they won't be for long.

This is going to cause all kinds of hell for color grading since cameras will now be capturing the same range as the displays, which doesn't leave nearly as much room for error. Y'all might have to learn to properly expose just like in the film days. ;)

March 9, 2016 at 2:42PM

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Nathan Taylor
Jack of all trades, master of none
162