HDR is a “disaster” and 8K is “stupid” – Hollywood director

Director Barry Sonnenfeld, known for films including “The Addams Family”, “Wild Wild West”, and the “Men in Black” trilogy, has slammed the use of HDR and 8K technologies in movies and television shows.

During a panel discussion at CEDIA Expo 2019, the director said HDR is a feature used by streaming services to distinguish themselves from the competition, but it compromises the medium of film.

He labelled HDR as a “disaster” due to its effect on contrast and 8K as “stupid” and a “waste”, adding that it makes everything “look like a soap opera”.

“HDR is great if you are shooting something that has high contrast because it can reduce the highlights and bring up the shadows,” Sonnenfeld said.

However, he explained that HDR’s expansion of contrast can result in the oversaturation of scenes that were purposely shot to look “flat” and “gloomy”, such as those in the first season of his Netflix show “A Series of Unfortunate Events”.

Sonnenfeld said that because many new television sets have HDR support, services like Netflix argue that filmmakers should just add the feature themselves during the colour timing process in editing.

“Television sets should have the capability to turn on and off HDR”, Sonnenfeld said.

Regarding 8K, Sonnenfeld said the incredible detail does benefit sports broadcasting, but its realistic look is not optimal for a storytelling medium.

He elaborated on how cinematographers these days make scenes appear as if they were not shot in 4K and 8K, by using filters and older lenses.

“The problem with 8K and even 4K is that all it is doing is bringing us closer to a video game aesthetic. It just looks more and more ‘not real.’ I can’t watch any Marvel movies because none of the visual effects look real,” Sonnenfeld said.

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HDR is a “disaster” and 8K is “stupid” – Hollywood director