iSTAR to HDR workflow

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David_B
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iSTAR to HDR workflow

Post by David_B » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:30 am

Hello,
I’m working in the VFX film and TV Commercials industry in Spain, and we are looking for alternatives to the traditional methods of 360 environment maps acquisition (mirror ball or pano head on a tripod). iSTAR seemed to be a good candidate, as it is small, quick and simple to operate. However, I’ve just found out that NCTech Immersive Studio has very limited output options, 8 bits jpeg format only. It seems pretty incredible to me, all the industry has been working with 10 bits and 16 bits formats for years now, the low bit depth of a jpeg is a complete no-go to us.
So I was wondering if some of you have set up workflows to be able to extract 16 bits hdr or exr imaging from the iSTAR, and if they would be kind enough to share them.
Thank you in advance, and have a great day!

HThomas
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Re: iSTAR to HDR workflow

Post by HThomas » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:12 pm

Hello David, noticed your post and thought I'd mention Spheron's products (whose products are used within mainstream Film and VFX).

Full / real 32-bit PER RGB channel output ( .HDR or .EXR ) - captured directly on the sensor in one single scan operation, upto 100 megapixel, 26 f-stops of luminance...

Check them out here... https://www.spheron.com/home.html

I compared an iSTAR and Spheron system a few years back too (for ref) http://goo.gl/mYGvj0
Kind regards, Huw

Badders
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Re: iSTAR to HDR workflow

Post by Badders » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:18 pm

Hi David,

If you process the source fisheyes using either PTGUI or AutoPano Giga then you can export the stitched panorama as either .exr or .hdr

However, you will still be working from source 8 bit data.

Badders

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Re: iSTAR to HDR workflow

Post by David_B » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:36 pm

Thanks for the link, Huw, a very thorough and interesting article. I've heard about Spheron a few times, I think they have been around for about 15 years. I remember reading about Glassworks London (a VFX company) buying one years ago. But the info about it seems pretty scarce, and I'm not sure I very fond of their "top secret price" policy.
I liked the iSTAR on paper for its compactness, ease of use and quick operation. But I must admit that the very limited output format (8 bit jpeg) is a no-go for VFX use. Jpeg is a viewing format at best, definitely not a working format. And processing the hdr panorama with third party programs from 8 bit jpegs instead of raw is not very satisfying neither in terms of quality.
And to be honest, I'm also a beat disappointed by the quality of the pictures from the individual sensors (NCTech has been kind enough to provide me some samples). We're talking about a 6.490 euros camera here. For 2.000 more you have this:
http://www.roundshot.com/xml_1/internet ... /f1121.cfm
which delivers 231 million pixels panorama in 32-bit HDR from a full-frame sensor. It won't be as quick, but it looks much more solid in terms of imaging quality. Ever heard about it?

HThomas
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Re: iSTAR to HDR workflow

Post by HThomas » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:35 pm

Hello David, thanks for the message - yes, I am aware of a number of solutions like this, featuring motorized tripod heads and DSLRs. They also require 3rd party software’s to do the post processing / stitching of the separate images.

As with any ‘stitching’ based solution, there is always the potential for ‘errors’ – which you often don’t realize until you’ve left the location (as you have to process the dozens of source images).

Its all down to workflow I guess, but I much prefer a single ‘digital negative’, processed using native software with an instant preview (generated at time of capture). That just gives me the confidence to move onto next location. The capture method does not require ‘optical distortion’ correction either.

David_B
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Re: iSTAR to HDR workflow

Post by David_B » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:53 pm

but I much prefer a single ‘digital negative’, processed using native software with an instant preview (generated at time of capture). That just gives me the confidence to move onto next location.
Hello Huw,
Yes, I perfectly understand your point, that's what's so attractive about an "iSTAR style" solution. Give me an iSTAR with better sensors, better lenses, hdr output, and I will go for it. Unfortunately, I haven't found it yet.

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Re: iSTAR to HDR workflow

Post by jedfrechette » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:55 pm

I really wish marketing departments would stop referring to tone-mapped jpgs as "HDR".
Jed

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Re: iSTAR to HDR workflow

Post by Badders » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:02 pm

Give me an iSTAR with better sensors, better lenses, hdr output, and I will go for it.
Noted... ;)

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Re: iSTAR to HDR workflow

Post by DavidL » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:04 am

Give me an iSTAR with better sensors, better lenses, hdr output, and I will go for it. Unfortunately, I haven't found it yet.
I'm guessing many people feel the same... speed and ease of use combined with much higher image quality.

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