Here's a first: A video app that takes HDR

Mel Martin
M. Martin|10.13.14

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Mel Martin
October 13, 2014 3:00 PM
In this article: iOS, iPhone, iPhone6, iphone6plus, review
Here's a first: A video app that takes HDR


I've always liked the flexibility that HDR photography provides in difficult lighting conditions, and I've often hoped I could use the same technology for video. If you have a new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, you don't have to wait. Live HD/R (US$2.99) is an app that can shoot High Dynamic Range videos in real time.

That's quite a feat, and developer Oliver Haynold told me the faster processor and re-worked camera sensor makes it possible on the new iPhones, it just takes special software to unlock the HDR video features.

The app allows you to change the tone-mapping settings in real time before you start recording, or you can make changes while you are actually shooting your video. There are adjustments for global and local contrast, noise reduction, and gamma. The app outputs a 720p Quicktime video that can be edited elsewhere if you desire.

I tried the app with my HDR torture test. A dark room with a bright window. The results were far better than I could get with the iPhone 6 using the regular Apple supplied software. The sky and details outside the window were very visible, and there was more of the dark room there. Haynold also has a sample video if you want to get a good idea of what the app can do.



In regular video shooting around sunset I noticed that colors were better overall, closer to what my eye could see. Using the Apple software, things were flatter and less dramatic.

Like any HDR software, you can make things garish and ugly, or natural. That's up to you. Explore the settings and get things done to your taste.

It's really remarkable to be able to take HDR videos in real time, so for videographers this app is worth a close look.

Although the app will run in older phones than the current iPhone 6 series, you won't get HDR and your frame rates and resolution will suffer.

As far as I know, Live HD/R is the first iOS video app that can give you HDR, and it is bound to improve over time. I'd love to see white and black point settings, as I found in some situations the software itself couldn't give me quite the dynamic range I wanted to achieve.

I'm impressed with Live HD/R, so if you have an interest in this kind of photography check, out the sample videos and decide if Live HD/R is right for you.
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