Harness the power of HDR in the air

hdrinstant

Aerial drone photography can sometimes be tricky business but as long as you have a drone or hexacopter capable of lifting a digital camera as well as a gimbal to stabilize your captures, you have no problem.

When lighting conditions are not good, one of the ways aerial photographers can get a better shot is by using HDR or high dynamic range photography. This is done via a technique called bracketing that allows the photographer to manage scenes that contain a lot of contrast in order to produce a better representation of what the human eye can see. Normally bracketing works by taking different exposures of a scene – one for the highlights, one for the shadows and one in the middle. These are then merged into a single HDR image containing all the dynamic range of the captured scene.

Why aren’t more people harnessing the power of HDR in the air? The answer is that it is extremely difficult to do. You need optimal weather conditions as well as a gimbal and/or GPS locking to stabilize flight but even with these things, if you take three or more images in the air, you will end up with images that you cannot merge without them containing motion blur and ghosting. This is because the drone will have moved. It is complicated to do HDR this way and it often doesn’t work.

Wouldn’t it be good if we could make it easier?

Enter HDRinstant. It is a new piece of software that enables HDR images to be created without the confines of traditional techniques. In fact it uses video, making it much easier to create HDR images “on the fly.” There are many types of civil drones used by hobbyists that due to size, price and power restrictions can’t lift DSLR cameras but they can take advantage of smaller cameras such as the GoPro for example and film on 1440p at 48 images per second (ips) to get great results.

Essentially, HDRinstant works by using image stacking and morphing technology. The user simply films a scene and uses a portion of the video to create an HDR image. Here is a short video showing what HDRinstant can do –

Here is one of the images created from video –

image1

This image is actually comprised of 24 images (approximately 1 second of footage) that have been overlayed ontop of each other to improve details. The software then morphs these images to eliminate movement and motion blur. The final image requires what’s called “tone-mapping” to allow for a better display of colors and lighting.

Traditional bracketing techniques do not work with moving drones and resulting images are often blurry. HDRinstant however allows you to start with this –

image2
And transform it into this –

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HDRinstant beta is a standalone program for Windows and Mac and is currently available free of charge. Version 1 will be available for $89(US) including at least one year of upgrades but if you pre-order, you will be able take advantage of our offer – HDRinstant for $49(US). For more information or to download the software, visit http://hdrinstant.com