Record and stream HDR video

How can you produce an HDR video yourself and make it available to an audience?

Record and stream HDR video
Willow catkin in spring.

I explained how you can view the colourful HDR video's on your own screens. But how can you produce an HDR video yourself and make it available to an audience?

Record HDR

What made me dig into producing HDR  video was a casual remark by Marques Brownlee that he was about to switch to HDR for all his video’s. As a producer of video this involves a lot of changes and upgrades. All required components to record, edit, store and play, stream and broadcast the HDR video need to be in place.

These elements set up in a way you can repeat the process is called the pipeline. In other words, all hardware and software in this pipeline needs to be able to work with HDR. Camera, editing software, editing hardware, streaming servers.

I am not a professional video producer but an enthusiastic. And to better understand I trialed and tested a pipeline to produce and play HDR. Because the technology is emerging you need to puzzle a bit. For now I progressed a lot but failed as well.

iPhone recording HDR

The iPhone 12 mini I use is able to capture HDR video with 30 frames per second. In darker circumstance you notice the difference in quality right away:

Example in low light. Left without HDR and right with HDR.

The video takes up more space and I see a different color profile included:

BT.2020 HLG (9-18-9)

Stream your own HDR video

I now have recorded an HDR video  and I am able to play it on the phone. Next thing is I want to distribute it to a wider audience (and fully skip editing part).

Of course I can share it as a file and view it on the latests iMac. But how about making it available as a stream?

I uploaded the HDR video straight from the iPhone to Youtube but it did not work for me out of the box.

But Vimeo did work. You see an example below. There is a little icon in the blue title that indicates this video has HDR.

Example 4K video with HDR. Shot on iPhone 12 mini. Made in low lighting circumstances.


The missing piece now is to check out editing software that works with HDR video files. I work with Camtasia a lot and that software is not compatible with HDR. Makes sense I guess because it is aimed towards screencasts. I will look into iMovie and Final Cut, they should support it.

HDR offers quality for video but is still high end. You need the right recording equipment, specific editing software, powerful computers to edit, more storage and playing and streaming. Beauty is pain, and I will explore further.

Further reading

Edit HDR video recorded on an iPhone 12
Learn about which Apple apps you can use to edit and share Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos recorded with iPhone 12 models.
Upload High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos - YouTube Help
You can upload High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos to YouTube. HDR videos show higher contrast with more colors than standard digital video.Viewers can watch HDR videos on compatible mobile devices