New paper: Enhancing LDR video with HDR stills

Ok, we had a few exciting posts about HDR video here. Current approaches are either complicated, time-consuming, or just plain expensive.

In the meantime Francesco Banterle, researcher at the official Visual Computing Lab of Italy and most known for his free Picturenaut plugins, has figured out a technique that is easy, fast and cheap. And it seems like he had quite some fun in the process:





Read the research paper and see more examples on the project page.

In quick summary, he's extracting an alpha mask for the over-exposed areas, and then layers the video on top of an HDR image. A simple and efficient approach. In the VFX world this is know as "Sky Replacement" and has been practiced forever. Especially given the premise that the camera is perfectly locked on a tripod, a shot like this would typically be a job for the intern. If you want to try it for yourself in After Effects, I recommend checking out this tutorial from videocopilot.net.

Still, Francesco's paper is a really good read: definitely an inspiration for your own experiments, and with a good summary of existing HDR video technologies. And the actual prospect is that this could be done via fully automatic processing in webcams. Which would classify as awesome.

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