The Reality in Screens: The Era of HDR & WCG Screens

    God must have been a fulltime artist as that is the only plausible explanation behind the reason for his creation. The very concept of light and colours alone dazzles intelligent life forms throughout their lives. He just had to have had art in his heart to have been able to create not just colours, but colour tones, shades, contrast, brightness and darkness. Every living organism that has the ability to see respond to the images that it sees in order to survive and live and humans are no exception. From the moment moving pictures came into existence and subsequently the television, the companies involved in the manufacturing of screens ‘ramped-up’ their research and development programs just to project reality unto screens. This led to the invention of the colour TV, Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) and more recently the LED (Light Emitting Diodes) screens. This, however, did not stop industry players from capping their R & D projects and as a matter of fact, they even pushed it further towards visual enhancements that lead to the invention of HDRs (high-dynamic range) which is generally a “must-have” screen feature in the current day and age.

    About HDRs

    In general high dynamic range screens or HDRs involve some of the most important features involving screens such as contrast ratio which revolves around how dark or bright a screen is able to go. HDR is also associated with colour accuracy which simply means how real the images projected are on the screen in comparison to the real-life scenario or the preferences of the colour palette that directors set. Screens that have the HDR feature hence are able to offer brighter and better highlights due to the ‘range’ of the contrast and the spectrum of colour which naturally enhances details giving an overall punchier image. It is due to this reason that HDR-compatible screens (especially TVs) have become very common.

    As a matter of fact, almost all mid-range to high-end TVs have the HDR feature simply because it enhances the manufacturer’s competitive advantage. However, it is critical to realise that HDR features only function optimally provided the production of the visuals cater for HDR features and this, in turn, is the reason as to why HDR centred productions have become much more common even on streaming services such as Netflix and Ultra-HD Blu-ray disc. HDR technology has been around only for the past couple of years and yet it had made huge strides in the market mainly due to the fact that they offer a wider colour gamut giving viewers a much deeper and richer colour experience with any type of content that supports HDR.

    Another factor that consumers often consider about HDR screens is the fact that there are budget HDR screens that defeat the purpose of HDR and may even project images in much worse quality than non-HDR screens despite their 4K resolution capacity. Because of this, media-related companies such as Street Communication that specialise in LED technology are very selective about the HDR screens that they pitch to clients. In summary HDR basically enhances the range of both colour and contrast to a significant level making bright sections of images brighter creating more “depth” and the extended colour range give out brighter blues, greens, reds not to mention everything else in between.

    A Take on WCG (Wide Colour Gamut)

    HDR screen display

    hdr colour depth

    Electronic screens especially TVs are expected to project as real as possible or realistic images in order to remain relevant to market demand which brought about the HDR feature. However, the HDR feature did not arrive alone as WCG or Wide Colour Gamut tagged along for the ride. After 4K resolution screens became a common feature and subsequently cheaper, manufacturers started to add HDR as the ‘new trend’ for screens, but this feature alone did not cut the deal with market demand which is why consumers nowadays go for HDR that is lumped with WCG. Wide Colour Gamut is another feature that leading industry players such as Street Communication make certain is included in their product offerings. This is because whilst HDR increases the dynamic range of the images or pictures that are projected, the WCG element is what increases the colour capacity allowing Reds that are ‘Redder’, greens that are ‘greener’ and blues that are ‘bluer’. Only when both these features are put together are the screens able to project images with more ‘impact’ apart from the resolution based features that range from high definition to 4K in a variety of ways.

    The point here us that all screens or TVs for that matter are only able to produce and project a limited range of colours. These colours are actually not what we actually see in reality or the real world. This is mainly because of the limitations associated with display technology and source material. Although HDTVs did for a brief amount of time enhanced the level of colours that were possible for screens and TVs in comparison to conventional CRT screens, they still used the same “colour spectrum.” It was not until the arrival of both HDR and WCG that more colours were introduced to the spectrum. Colours that up to that point was impossible to produce on any screen. The reds of the rose and the hazy deep violets of bellflowers and even the blue lights of police cars that most viewers were never able to appreciate prior to the arrival of HDR and WCG are now noticeable

    Wrap Up

    From colour contrast to the depth of colours and colour gamut, the marriage between HDR and WCG brings the best of reality, if not better to our screens. Even black & white movies look better on HDR and WCG capable screens because of the ability of these screens to split shades realistically. There is no doubt that these two technological elements related to screens have made a significant difference with regards to the experiences of viewers. In other words, everything looks better these days on screen leaving us with the question “what will they think of next?”

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