“The reason this is important,” Fleming says, “is that it shows that the technology is ready to deploy immediately. There isn’t a technology barrier between releasing these displays and having them widely adopted.” He says that such a simple, pixel-amplifying algorithm could easily be incorporated into the display and automatically enhance low-contrast images in real time.
“I think the topic is interesting,” says Paul Debevec, a professor of graphics research at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. “They’re trying to get a handle on the implications of having these HDR displays and find out how it will change things.”
In addition to new displays, Debevec says, there will eventually need to be HDR content because, while a low-contrast image looks great on an HDR display, a high-contrast image looks stunning. The basic premise behind producing an HDR image, he says, is to reshoot a scene under different lighting conditions and combine the shots using software. For example, a picture of a person standing in front of an open window would normally look like a dark silhouette surrounded by bright light. Different exposures gather different information, and in the end, the composite HDR image, which captures the bright light as well as the details in the shadows, looks more realistic. However, most cameras don’t capture light this way, and while some animators and video-game makers are applying HDR to their work, moviemakers have yet to embrace it.