Tuesday, September 22, 2009

HDR Aquisition - Introduction

Last week I went to a VES event on HDR usage in visual effects. After talking with a friend I realized that I have not written much of anything on HDR acquisition.

Most VFX Supervisors and artists now about HDRs. But they might not know how to capture and compile one. Lucky for us the tools have gotten much better in both areas!

Getting a good set of usable HDRs takes a bit of practice, familiarity with some basic photography rules, the right gear, and good communication with the First A.D. on set. Typically in pre-pro they're like yeah just let me know and we'll get you in there. But the reality is the second the "VFX Guy" drops his tripod on set to start taking HDRs the First A.D. is already yelling to "CLEAR SET!".

That's when practice and having the right tools on set pays off. And taking a fast and usable HDR data set will make your life a lot easier when you get back to the office.

I'm going to assume that we all know what HDRs are and how we use them in post production. But if you need a bit of a primer check out these links.
To make this a bit more digestible I'm going to break the whole thing down into separate entries.
  1. Gear - what kind of gear do you need to take HDRs.
  2. Setup - how to setup and and be "Johnny on the spot" on Set.
  3. HDR image capture - the process of actually taking the pictures.
  4. Stitching the HDRs together.
  5. Processing the HDRs and getting them into your software of choice.
The process is generally the same but there are many variations largely depending on what equipment you have. I'm going to break down my process using my gear but the general theory applies across many different gear sets.

Feel free to hit me up with any questions along the way and I'll do my best to answer them!

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