Frame.io already makes video review easy and intuitive, and now we’re doing the same for HDR video review. Here, we’ll go over some common ways to make HDR content to review on Frame.io.
For a file to playback in HDR on Frame.io, it needs to be in Rec.2020 or P3D65, have an ST.2084 (PQ) or HLG transfer function (or EOTF) have its color primaries defined; these need to be carried in metadata flags in the uploaded asset. In a QuickTime file (.mov), you can see the flags represented in QuickTime Player’s Get Info window like this:
QuickTime files will also have tags that look like
(9-16-9). These numbers tell QuickTime (and macOS) what colorspace and EOTF a QuickTime file can be displayed correctly on the monitor. A Rec.709 (SDR) file will use
You can use either the tool you created the output in (like Resolve or Premiere) or a third-party tool that parses video metadata for other file types.
Here is an example of a tool called MediaInfo. If your file looks different, there’s a chance that the metadata flags are incorrect.
NOTE: Frame.io does not support DolbyVision or HDR10+ at this time.
Click here to see a breakdown of compatible file formats. HDR assets uploaded previously to the release of HDR support will not playback in HDR. Please upload these assets again to see them play back in HDR.
Most modern NLEs and post-production tools support the creation of HDR files. For best results, we recommend 10bit HEVC (H.265) files that are 1920x1080 or larger. Not all tools can output H.265 files, and some tools may take too long to generate them. A good alternative is creating Apple ProRes 422 HQ or ProRes LT files; these files are larger but may render faster. Frame.io will encode them to proxies when they are uploaded. However, since HDR is more than a simple output setting, you may need to consult your tool’s documentation to ensure your color management settings are set up to display properly and tone map HDR from your source material. We'll cover some common tools below.
These are examples, and your actual workflow may differ. For a file to playback in HDR on Frame.io, it needs to be in Rec.2020, have a ST.2084 (PQ) transfer function, and have its color primaries defined; these need to be carried in metadata flags in the uploaded asset.
A Note on Monitoring
Before we dive into our guides on several tools, we should take a moment to discuss monitoring HDR. Like the ones listed below, most software tools will not show an accurate HDR image in the GUI. For best results, we recommend sending a signal out to an external monitor from your system. There are great professional grades monitoring solutions such as the Sony BVM-HX310, the Canon DP-V3120, and the Flanders XM311K or XM310K.
Alternatively, there are high-end consumer displays that render relatively accurate colors like the LG CX. While these displays are not professional-grade mastering displays, they offer better rendition than a computer GUI.
Getting the right settings for HDR output can be a tricky process. We'll cover a few common Color Systems here. For these examples, we will be generating PQ files. The process is the same for HLG files -- just choose the transfer function that matches your files or workflow.
DaVinci Resolve Studio
NOTE: HDR features are only available in DaVinci Resolve Studio, not in Resolve's free version.
Resolve is extremely flexible in terms of its Color Management settings and its output options. We will use both of these to make sure our deliverables are correct. In this walkthrough, we will assume all colorwork has already been completed in a working colorspace like P3 D65.
1. First, we need to adjust the Color Management settings. To do this, open your Project Settings by clicking on the gear icon in the lower right-hand corner of Resolve and select Color Management from the sidebar on the left of the window.
2. Next, the Color Science dropdown at the top should be set to DaVinci YRGB Color Managed and Use Separate Color Space and Gamma should be checked.
3. Below, that is where we will set up our color space and gamma curves. In Resolve, it’s best to work in what’s called a “scene-referred” workflow. This means that your color space and gamma are relative to the source material in your timeline. In this case, we are using ARRI Alexa footage, so we will set the Input Color Space and Timeline Color Space to reflect ARRI Log-C.
4. The next step is where we set up the outputs for HDR. To do this, we need to tell Resolve that our Output Color Space is Rec.2020 with a gamma of ST.2084. Since Rec.2020 monitoring pipelines are still uncommon, the project's chances were graded in a different color space, like P3 D65. P3 D65 is a large color space, but since Rec.2020 is larger, its values can fit within the Rec.2020 container. We can translate a project mastered for P3 to Rec.2020 accurately by limiting the Output Gamut to P3-D65. This will ensure all the luminance and color values you saw in the P3 mastering process will be present and accurate in the Rec.2020 output. If you're working in a fully Rec.2020 pipeline, you can leave Limit the Output Gamut at Output Color Space.
5. We also need to adjust our Output Tone Mapping and our Output Gamut Mapping to ensure our values translate correctly if our starting point is not Rec2020/ST2084. Under Timeline to Output Tone Mapping, Select Simple. This will ensure values between 5500 and 100 nits are mapped appropriately to the HDR Mastering value (see the next step). Next, we need to set the Timeline to Output Gamut Mapping to Saturation Mapping. The default values of 0.900 for the Saturation Knee and 1.000 for the Saturation Max should work in most workflows.
6. Finally, make sure HDR Mastering is set for the nit level of your workflow. Most HDR deliverable specs are designed for 1000 nit masters.
💡 Frame.io Pro Tip
The Timeline to Output Tone Mapping setting helps Resolve tone map your values down to your mastering nit level. In Simple mode, Resolve maps values between 5500 and 100 nits to your mastering value. Anything above 5500 will be clipped. If you use the Luminance Mapping mode, you can change the upper limit. This is helpful if you have material with values well above 5500 that you would like to preserve. However, anything in the lower range may be mapped darker. This is a project-wide, creative decision that will affect the project's final look and should be made at the colorist’s discretion.
7. Now that our project is set up for HDR color management, we can set up our HDR deliverables. There are many different file formats and codecs that support HDR, but we’ll want to use 1920x1080 10-bit H.265 (HEVC) MOV files for best results. HEVC files are efficient in file size and fidelity and are best suited for web-based review. On the deliver page, select the H.265 preset.
8. Next, make sure the Format is Quicktime, and the Codec is H.265. Check Network Optimization and make sure your resolution is at least 1920x1080, and the Frame Rate matches your project settings (in this case, we are using 23.976).
9. Next, to make sure the file is 10-bit, set the Encoding Profile to Main10.
10. Finally, under the Advanced Settings section, make sure the Color Space Tag and Gamma Tag are set to Rec.2020 and ST2084, respectively. This will ensure the output files will have Rec.2020 and ST.2084 tags embedded in the metadata, which will tell Frame.io that the files should be treated as HDR.
11. Sometimes H.265 can render slower than other formats. Frame.io supports HDR ProRes and H.264 files, as well. In Resolve, you can set up your project and outputs the same way. Just select H.264 or ProRes instead of H.265. While H.264 files will generally render faster, you may see more compression artifacts.
For more information and the latest updates, learn more from Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve Studio Support.
Filmlight's color management in its Baselight tool is extremely flexible and simple. We'll make sure our Mastering Colour Space is set correctly and that our deliverables are set up to use the same color space with the proper tags.
1. Under the Format & Colour tab in Scene Settings, you’ll need to make sure your material is being interpreted correctly using a “scene-referred” workflow. In a “scene-referred” workflow, your Working Colour Space should match the native color space and gamma. In this case, we're using ARRI Alexa footage, so we’ll be setting it to LogC/Wide Gamut. Next, your Mastering Colour Space should be ST 2084 PQ / Rec.2020 / 1000 nits (if your workflow is P3-D65, adjust accordingly).
2. You can see what Baselight is doing with the color transformations by looking at the Colour Space Journey window.
3. Finally, under the Render window, we’ll set up an output with a Rec.2020 color space (if your workflow is P3-D65, adjust accordingly). Select the codec you would like to use, then under Render Colour Space, select the same color space as the mastering color space (ST 2084 PQ / Rec.2020 / 1000 nits). Next, under Colour Space Tagging, change the setting from Legacy to Automatic. You will want to make sure Baselight tags the file with Rec.2020 Primaries, an ST-2084-PQ EOTF, and Rec.2020 non-const Matrix. These will tell Frame.io that the file should be treated as HDR.
For more information and the latest updates, learn more from Filmlight support.
Autodesk Flame 2021
While Autodesk Flame is typically used during the online and conform phase of the workflow, there are definitely use cases where you might want to output a file for clients to check, and Flame has robust HDR support. Flame is also a very powerful tool that fits into very complex workflows very well; here, we’ll cover a simple way to make sure your output files are tagged correctly to be interpreted by Frame.io as HDR. Your individual workflow and color management may require different settings.
1. The first thing we need to do is make sure the Project is set up for HDR color management. To adjust this, in the bottom right corner, click FLAME, then Preferences, and finally Colour Management.
2. In the Color Management pane, the Working Colour Space should reflect your project's color space. If you’re working in Rec.2020 ST.2084, this should be set to Rec. 2100 PQ. If you’re working in P3, this should be set to ST-2084 (PQ), DCI-P3 (D65 white). Next, you’ll need to set the color spaces of your monitors. This will depend on your physical setup. Broadcast Colour Space should match the color space of your external broadcast or SDI monitor. Graphics Colour Space is for the GUI, so it should match the color space of the OS. The Monitoring Colour Space is the color space of your scopes. Below is an example of a P3 project.
3. After the color management is set up to handle an HDR workflow, we need to ensure that the input tagging is set up properly. In the GUI, go to the Media Hub, then under the General tab, there’s a Colour Management section. This will determine how clips are interpreted when brought into Flame. We want to make sure this is set to Tag Only. The Tagged Colour Space can either match your workflow (either Rec. 2020 ST.2084, which would use the Rec.2100 setting, or P3, which would use the ST-2084 (PQ), DCI-P3 (D65 white) setting) or assume a color space based on the tags embedded in the source clips using From File or Rules. Setting this to a particular color space (i.e., matching your workflow) will force the clips' interpretation of that color space, regardless of their source color. Below is an example of a P3 project.
4. For advanced workflows, you can also set up rules in the Color Management Preferences (Step 2) to force input tagging based on filename or extension.
5. All of these steps ensure that Flame is working in a properly color-managed HDR workflow. Finally, we need to tag the output files so Frame.io can recognize them as HDR. For best results, we recommend outputting ProRes files from Flame. Under the Advanced Output options, select the desired flavor of ProRes (Frame.io accepts all flavors) and ensure the YUV Encoding is set to Rec2020 for Rec.2020 ST.2084 workflows or Auto Colour for P3 workflows.
For more information and the latest updates, learn more from Autodesk support.
HDR support in Frame.io makes having a Rec.2020 or HDR end-to-end workflow easier than ever. If you have HDR dailies, you'll be able to output an HDR cut for review and upload it to Frame.io. We'll cover some common NLEs below.
AVID Media Composer (2020)
Note: HDR features are only available in AVID Media Composer and above, not in AVID Media Composer First.
AVID supports HDR projects in its current versions. Below, we’ll discuss how to set up your AVID project and renders for HDR. In this walkthrough, we’ll be using AVID 2020.6.
1. To create HDR outputs, your AVID project needs to be set up as HDR on creation when a new project is created. Set the Color Space to YCbCr 2020 / SMPTE 2084 or RGB 2020 / SMPTE 2084, depending on your source files' code range.
2. Currently, only OP1a MXF files from AVID can be recognized by Frame.io as HDR. Both DNxHR and ProRes codecs are compatible. When exporting, select MXF OP1a under Export As, select a flavor of ProRes or DNxHR from the Video Compression dropdown.
For more information and latest updates, learn more from AVID Media Composer Support.
Adobe Premiere 14.3 (2020)
Adobe has included HDR support in its current version of Creative Cloud. Adobe Premiere supports several outputs with HDR, which we’ll cover here.
1. While not necessary for enabling HDR outputs, it can help you view your timeline in HDR to know what it will look like on a scope when exported. To do that, we’ll first need to set up the color mode of the color panel. Under the options menu on the Lumetri Color tab, select High Dynamic Range.
2. Next, we’ll need to set up the scopes to view HDR. We’ll need to change both the Colorspace of the scopes as well as their mode. Right-click on the scopes themselves and select Colorspace > Rec. 2020.
3. Then, in the lower right-hand corner of the scopes panel, click on the dropdown and select HDR to switch the scopes to HDR mode.
4. Now that we can view HDR on the scopes, we can set up our outputs. Premiere supports several outputs with HDR, including ProRes, HEVC, and H264. First, let’s look at ProRes. ProRes will give you the best looking results but are larger files than HEVC or H264. In your export settings, make sure you select QuickTime as your Format. You can leave the preset alone as we’ll be customizing the output.
5. Next, under the Video tab, select your flavor of ProRes. Adobe doesn’t support HDR in ProRes 422 or below, so select ProRes 422 HQ or ProRes 4444. Check the box next to Render at maximum bit depth. Under Export Color Space, select Rec. 2100 PQ. Finally, select 16 BPC under Depth.
6. The second output we’ll look at is HEVC (H.265). HEVC files are much smaller than ProRes files and are optimized for the web. In your export settings, make sure you select HEVC (H.265) as your Format. You can leave the preset alone as we’ll be customizing the output.
7. Next, under the Video tab, go to your Encoding Settings. Uncheck the box to the right of Profile to unlock the option, then select Main10. Under Tier, select High. Check the boxes next to Rec. 2020 Primaries, High Dynamic Range, and Include HDR10 Metadata. Finally, select Rec2020 as the Color Primaries under Mastering Display Color Volume*.
*These settings are for 1000 nit masters. Your project may have different mastering requirements.
8. The third output we’ll be looking at is H.264. H.264 files may render faster than H.265 but are a little larger and exhibit more compression artifacts. Make sure you select H.264 (not H.264 Blu-Ray) as your Format in your export settings. You can leave the preset alone as we’ll be customizing the output.
9. Next, under the Video tab, go to your Encoding Settings. Uncheck the box to the right of Profile to unlock the option, then select High10. Check the boxes next to Rec. 2020 Primaries, High Dynamic Range, and Include HDR10 Metadata. Finally, select Rec2020 as the Color Primaries under Mastering Display Color Volume.
For more information and the latest updates, learn more from Adobe Premiere Pro Support.
Final Cut Pro X (2020)
Apple’s Final Cut Pro X 10.4 and later supports HDR workflows. FCPX can export HDR files as ProRes, which can be rendered and uploaded using the Frame.io FCPX Integration. We’ll cover how to set up your library and outputs for HDR review in Frame.io below.
NOTE: This guide covers Final Cut Pro X only. Other outputs are available with Apple Compressor.
1. To enable HDR outputs in Final Cut Pro, we first need to change the Library's color processing. To do this, select the Library from the left of the app, then click Modify in the Library Properties on the app's right. In the window that comes up, select Wide Gamut HDR.
2. Your Library now supports HDR. Next, we’ll need to make sure the Project is also set to support HDR. Select your Project from the left of the app, then click Modify in the Project Properties on the app's right. Select Wide Gamut HDR - Rec. 2020 PQ under the Color Space drop-down in the window that comes up. The rest of the settings can be set per your workflow.
3. Finally, to create the deliverables, open the Share menu, and select Frame.io Source.
4. Currently, FCPX only supports outputting HDR ProRes files, so you’ll need to select a flavor of ProRes to render under the Settings tab. For the highest efficiency, we recommend selecting ProResLT, which is still 10bit and great for HDR.
5. From there, you can set up all the usual options with a Frame.io upload like auto-versioning and saving the output locally. Additionally, you can render a ProRes file locally and upload it manually if you do not have the Frame.io FCPX Integration.
For more information and the latest updates, learn more from Apple FCP X Support.
For more information on HDR and Frame.io, please visit frame.io/hdr.