Heads Explode Upon Viewing Beautiful HDR Footage from Two 5D Mark IIs

Real-time High Dynamic Range imaging is coming soon to high-end motion picture cameras, and will likely change a lot about how moving images are captured and seen. In the layman's hands the process is typically reserved for still images because combining two moving images in post is nigh impossible. But Soviet Montage Productions took two Canon 5D Mark IIs and cleverly used a beam splitter to feed each DSLR the exact same image. The resulting 1:30 clip is exactly the kind of camera demonstration that people love to Twitter about, whether the demo is significant or not. But here's the thing about this clip (particularly the first shot): it's gorgeous.

Press Release

Soviet Montage Productions releases information on the first true High Dynamic Range (HDR) video using DSLRs

San Francisco, CA, September 9, 2010: Soviet Montage Productions demonstrated today the first true HDR video sourced from multiple exposures. Unlike HDR timelapse videos that only capture a few frames per minute, true HDR video can capture 24 or more frames per second of multiple exposure footage. Using common DSLRs, the team was able to composite multiple HD video streams into a single video with an exposure gamut much greater than any on the market today. They are currently using this technology to produce an upcoming film.

Benefits of Motion HDR
HDR imaging is an effect achieved by taking multiple disparate exposures of a subject and combining them to create images of a higher exposure range. It is an increasingly popular technique for still photography, so much so that it has recently been deployed as a native application on Apple’s iPhone. Until now, however, the technique was too intensive and complex for motion. Soviet Montage Productions believes they have solved the issue with a method that produces stunning–and affordable–true HDR for film and video.

The merits of true HDR video are various. The most obvious benefit is having an exposure variation in a scene that more closely matches the human eye–think of filming your friend with a sunset at his or her back, your friend’s face being as perfectly captured as the landscape behind them. HDR video also has the advantage of reduced lighting needs. Finally, the creative control of multiple exposures, including multiple focus points and color control, is unparalleled with true HDR video.

“I believe HDR will give filmmakers greater flexibility not only in the effects they can create but also in the environments they can shoot in” said Alaric Cole, one of the members of the production team, “undoubtedly, it will become a commonplace technique in the near future. ”

Michael Safai
Soviet Montage
201 Spear Street #1100
San Francisco, CA 94105
1 415 489 0437

Link: Soviet Montage

[Thanks, Zack]

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Your Comment


IMHO, HDR has been overused (at least in the still-photo world). Just because it can be used, doesn't mean it should be. Personally, I think the person looks bizarre.

September 10, 2010 at 3:46PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I'm a huge fan of HDR, though I will admit I tend to exaggerate the importance of style in a picture, especially in an era where original content is so hard to generate (though not impossible).

If used for the right project, this could be huge.

September 10, 2010 at 3:57PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


NO! Please DON'T!!

I will seriously think about selling my video and photo gear if this goes mainstream! :)

September 16, 2010 at 7:01AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I actually hope this does catch on. It will be much easier for clients to know who to avoid.... Like in photography, you will never see a serious filmmaker use this effect in its current state. Good HDR is unnoticeable!

September 24, 2010 at 9:02AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


There is a main way to show the people in an under-exposed ares, which is Light ! lighting is the only i guess way to show them, if it goes in photography i do agree taking the Three (over, under and Normal) exposed will definetly work. but fot the moving object the Light will be ur friend ! if not the sun, then at least the light markets have a lot of choice ! I LOVE UR WEBSITE KOO

March 4, 2011 at 10:48PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


"So how do people look in HDR?" In a word, hideous. This nauseating aesthetic has already infected still photography; now we have the dubious pleasure of HDR video, great. This is an artless, gimmicky technique.

July 24, 2012 at 10:23AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Another look to have in the quiver. Maybe it looks terrible when mis-sused or overused, maybe you never use it, maybe it's right for the scene. No reason to discount any look wholesale. Maybe its a POV shot from an alien or a dream sequence or those disoriented 30 seconds after an explosion combined with a high frequency note to before our protagonists hearing comes back.

October 25, 2012 at 1:35PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Wonderful post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more
on this subject? I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Kudos!

July 24, 2013 at 2:10AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Hello! Have you heard anything new from these guys. I remember this post when it was fresh, now it's been 3 years, and... nothing new???

January 29, 2014 at 4:40PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM