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Old Feb 28, 2010, 8:58 PM   #1
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Post HDR Philosophical Discussion

The last thread "Myth's about HDR" got a little too personal. So in order to put our best foot forward to new members, why don't we start over here. I know its a subject of much passion and debate, so we'll just call it even and start fresh.

This is the place to discuss the philosophical reason's for and against HDR if you choose to have that discussion.

Keep the discussions on topic and civil. Pretend you are in debate team in high school, or whatever you want to do.

Thank You!
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 9:00 PM   #2
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You opened Pandora's box.
Hope is our last chance as human beings.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 9:01 PM   #3
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You opened Pandora's box.
Hope is our last chance as human beings.
... maybe .... lol
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Old Mar 1, 2010, 6:55 PM   #4
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I read recently something quite similar to this:
(Pardon the quotes)

"There's nothing more inspiring than to see someone creative, inspired by a scene, and to let that inspiration; the creation and fusion of their ideas, be unleashed, and to make that vision into reality."

HDR?

Actually, that's taken off of a modeling and rendering forum.

As I was driving around the City today, thinking about photography and how to capture scenes, I was looking at the effect of light on buildings; how they would look without the dark obscuring shadows, without the highlights.

I haven't purchased any new modleing programs in a long time. After all, it's an adjuct to my work, and my present software is MORE than adaquite. Even so I was wondering about all these questions raised by some people about using HDR.

To me it's a very valuble technique, not as useful as others (for me, since I'm primarily interested in subjects where HDR use would be minimal) but a great technique to be used. And for others who have different subjects, it's no doubt far more usefull.

At any rate, I'm planning to experiment with Strata, using the err, "Middle exposure," and make my own, err, "HDR" shots.

Dave
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 12:50 PM   #5
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Please let me adventure an analogy between HDR "philosophical issues" and the classic discussion between live and recorded music, particularly in the digital era.
No recording is comparable to live music, but the actual processes -microphones, recorders, systems, digitalization, software advances, etc.- offer the possibility of interesting manipulations resulting in enhanced performances in ways even live music can't reach. Its, of course, a representation, not the real thing, the same way photography and HDR are forms of representation. The analogy can be extended to transducers: we need HD Monitors to really see the pick and we need HiFi equipments to appreciate the sound quality of these manipulated recordings.

A most interesting example is Glenn Gould who, once he abandoned the stages, was deeply involved in recording experimentation. The following videos show how meticulous he was to get a new, surprising effect in his recordings. There're multiple microphones in this setup: ambience, inside the piano, at different distances, etc. and in the final mix (#2 video) he acts like a "sliders director" placing that or that microphone in front or back. It remembers me the concept of layers or bringing certain colors, shadows and highlights up front or not.

#1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JllD4...eature=related

#2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chHJd...eature=related

The same, we find enhanced recordings where we can hear individual instruments with a level of clarity impossible to get in an actual concert hall. For good or for bad? You answer.

Zenph Studios did an experiment with Midi sampled at an extremely high resolution (the equivalent to Big Format Digital sensors). They MIDIed the famous 1955 Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould and after a carefully done computer procedure used a Yamaha Disckclavier to replay the performances, which gave a totally neat and perfect sound, without ambience disturbances, mechanism noises and even the infamous Gould mumbling. Of course there're enthusiasts who support the experiment and orthodox who defend the original live recordings (which anyway was a recording) and blame the intent, as some people defend HDR and image manipulation and others despise it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj3emXjA4Jc

More explanations (kind of an hysterical presentation):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKHCy3f_6Og

It really gets phantasmagoric to see the piano playing alone! Supposedly all the data is there, even the more subtle nuances of the original interpretation and presented in a new amazing way.
Someone will love it, some others will hate it. Just new instruments to me, tools of art.

Last edited by Ordo; Mar 2, 2010 at 12:54 PM.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 2:16 PM   #6
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Thanks for that Ordo. I never heard Gould sound like that.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 3:27 PM   #7
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I think that before you can say you're for or against HDR we need a clearer definition of what it is.

Some argue that it can't be HDR without multiple exposures but I'd argue that all it takes is for someone to design a better camera sensor and you could then capture just as much information in a single shot as you could previously in 3 or 5. So, it's not about combining exposures.

If I have data from a scene with extreme light and dark, there are many methods I could process that with and many would be not considered by anyone to be HDR. So, it's not [just] about what range of light levels existed in the original scene.

Finally, if I create exactly the same final image through an HDR program or manual editing in PS, you can't say that one is HDR and one is not. So, it is not the technique used that defines an image as HDR.

It is therefore some quality of the final image that marks it as HDR.

I'm struggling to find a neat way of phrasing that quality but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with local tone mapping being used to expose detail that would otherwise be imperceptible. It might also have something to do with an image having no clipped shadows or highlights but lots of 'HDR' images do still suffer from these and many straight-from-the-camera shots don't.

I'd also suggest that this definition has to be equally applicable to any image whether it is captured in one shot or reconstructed from many, as jpeg or RAW. Obviously in many situations an HDR created from a single jpeg will not be of comparable quality to one created with multiple RAW files simply becuase there is less information to work with, but I think they must all be considered HDR at some level.

Last edited by MartinSykes; Mar 3, 2010 at 2:00 AM. Reason: clarifying points
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Old Mar 4, 2010, 9:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ordo View Post
Please let me adventure an analogy between HDR "philosophical issues" and the classic discussion between live and recorded music, particularly in the digital era...
Ordo, I just want you to know that I like your post a lot. I like the analogy with live and recorded music. Thanks for taking the time to share it.

It also reminded me of a similar analogy to music that I read in the DPHDR manual, this time on the side of caution.

To set the tone, it says:

"A major mistake is to take ... a snapshot of nothing in particular - and then try to apply the HDR techniques hoping it would magically make the shot better." (Guilty, your honor... )

"...In music there is a great distinction between a good song or a bad song played much louder."

Then it continues...

"Processing images with HDR tool-set without regard for realism but with goal of exploring a texture could be viewed as a modern form of impressionistic painting. Impressionist tries to evoke a special feeling in the audience not by the subject of its art but by the art itself and the method he is presenting it. And yes, they got smeared and laughed at by the traditionalist painters either.

"A good example of this could be a Starry Night by Vincent VanGogh where the texture itself become the main subject of the image and it is irrelevant that it presents a night sky above some village in a completely surrealistic form. You can actually hang the painting upside down and it will still make impact."

What's my take? Same as yours. It's a tool.

I also think that all (or maybe the majority) of those that are new to digital photography will embrace HDR right off the bat (as I did). And if I may venture into another analogy with music, as Paul McCartney sings in his song, "Silly Love Songs" -- "What's wrong with that?"

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Old Mar 4, 2010, 9:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinSykes View Post
I think that before you can say you're for or against HDR we need a clearer definition of what it is.
I think I understand you're saying multiple-exposure-shot is just one way of getting HDR -- that is, HDR in its technical definition as high-dynamic-range. If so, I agree.

I like what you're doing with the single-JPEG-HDR program you're writing, BTW. More power to you! (And people like you...)
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Old Mar 4, 2010, 6:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinSykes View Post
I think that before you can say you're for or against HDR we need a clearer definition of what it is.

Some argue that it can't be HDR without multiple exposures but I'd argue that all it takes is for someone to design a better camera sensor and you could then capture just as much information in a single shot as you could previously in 3 or 5. So, it's not about combining exposures.

If I have data from a scene with extreme light and dark, there are many methods I could process that with and many would be not considered by anyone to be HDR. So, it's not [just] about what range of light levels existed in the original scene.

Finally, if I create exactly the same final image through an HDR program or manual editing in PS, you can't say that one is HDR and one is not. So, it is not the technique used that defines an image as HDR.

It is therefore some quality of the final image that marks it as HDR.

I'm struggling to find a neat way of phrasing that quality but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with local tone mapping being used to expose detail that would otherwise be imperceptible. It might also have something to do with an image having no clipped shadows or highlights but lots of 'HDR' images do still suffer from these and many straight-from-the-camera shots don't.

I'd also suggest that this definition has to be equally applicable to any image whether it is captured in one shot or reconstructed from many, as jpeg or RAW. Obviously in many situations an HDR created from a single jpeg will not be of comparable quality to one created with multiple RAW files simply becuase there is less information to work with, but I think they must all be considered HDR at some level.
Technically, HDR is a 32 bit, as opposed to an 8 bit image (In this case, 8 and 32 bits refers to each channel). Few monitors and no printers are capable of showing the actual image.
HDR Photography explained, definition and realization

Yet by a sort of popular consensus we are now down to saying that a tone mapped image is an HDR image. Amusing that since there IS a scientific definition, the newest wave of purists tell us that something like your tone mapping is not really HDR. Well, it's not, and neither is theirs...

At some point in the relatively near future, say less then twenty years, the argument will become academic, as sensors become capable of resolving greater range.

Dave
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