The challenge is make an HDR video that can be shown in HDR by Youtube.
First, why is HDR a big step up in video quality from what we shoot now (REC709 at 8-bit 4:2:0)? Three reasons:
1. More colors - 1 billion, compared with 16.8 million. Closer to what we actually see in the world.
2. Greater gradations of colors (shades of each color) - what 10-bit allows compared with 8-bit, so no “bands” - smooth gradations (4:2:2 helps).
3. Greater dynamic range, more like we are able to see: 5-7 stops (REC709) versus 12.
Here are the ingredients to produce an HDR video:
1. We need camera that can shoot HDR:
I upgraded my Panasonic GH4 to shoot Vlog L. That ups the dynamic range to 12 stops and has the color gamut that is wider than REC709. That cost $100.
The GH4 also outputs 10-bit uncompressed 4:2:2 video, in Vlog L, from its HDMI port. So, 10-bit, 4:2:2, wide color gamut, and high DR. We have shot in HDR!
2. We need a device that records HDR:
The Atomos Shogun Flame ($1500) and Shogun Inferno ($1700) record 10-bit, 4:2:2 video, whether Vlog L or anything into an HDMI port. It works with the GH4, in real 10-bit.
3. We need to see what our videos look like while we shoot:
The Atmos Shoguns are also 10-bit HDR monitors, and you can view the camera output transformed from Vlog L to HDR or REC709 in full color with the dynamic range right in the field! Built-in transform for Vlog L (and others, like Slog 2/3) to HDR.
4. We need software to edit the video produced in the Shogun (Pro Res HQ in Vlog L) and produce and see it in HDR.
DaVinci Resolve (free!) does that, even inputting the meta data that Youtube needs. And it is easy, really easy (and did I say it was free?):
You choose under "Master Project Settings" “DaVinci Resolve YRGB Color Managed” as the Color Science.
You then choose Panasonic V gamut/Vlog L as the Input Color Space and ST.2084 1000 as the Output Color Space (REC2020). Voila, the program transforms the ugly log videos to full color, wide gamut in HDR that you can see as you edit, with the appropriate monitor and graphics card.
5. We need an HDR graphics card and Monitor to see our HDR video in HDR while editing:
The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is a cheap ($144) brand new graphics card that outputs 10-bit HDR and 4K at 60p, and does not need more power than supplied by the PCI-E slot (so can be put in any old computer).
And the Shoguns can act as HDR monitors! Just attach the device to the graphics card by HDMI and you have a true (7") HDR monitor! I can see my videos in HDR.
So, I went to a nearby woods to capture the Fall colors in bright sunshine using the GH4/Shogun combo (and tripod!), shooting at 4K30p into the sun and in woodsy areas with deep shadows using Vlog L and 10-bit output.
To warm up again in Resolve, I color-graded a small portion of the clips in REC709 (no LUTs). This is that graded 4K video:
Of course, this is just REC709, but there will be (I hope) a true HDR version.
Here is the money shot (in REC709):
Already you can see that the 12-stop DR is helping - this is as extreme a contrast as you can get. Now imagine it in HDR!
So, we will see if all this will work.