The video presented through HDR technology is capable of showing more detail and color for a more accurate depiction of highlights and shadows. Therefore, HDR has become an important spec that both professionals in the media industry and Audio-Video enthusiasts are pursuing. Now, as a long-term developer pursuing better representation of higher image quality, BenQ has developed HDR-PRO technology, which will be used in building projectors that representing the accurate color and dynamic contrast, allowing consumers to enjoy the cinematic visual experience that creators try to represent with accurate color and good image quality.
HDR, High Dynamic Range, are standards that come with higher dynamic range in video signals, which allows the image to be shown with more brightness and color in detail. It enhances the highlights of the image, while also allowing shadows to be shown in a deeper contrast, representing the original image in a more complete and faithful way, closer to what the human eye can see.
In this series of articles, we’ve introduced the basic definitions of HDR and a better understanding about filming and doing post-production for HDR video. In a previous article, we discussed if there is a true HDR for projectors. In that article, we showed that even though the maximum brightness of projectors is limited, with the newest technology development, manufacturers are trying to give consumers a viewing experience that is closer to seeing a film in the cinema.
Other than LCD TV and panels, BenQ also put great effort into developing projectors and using all the technology development in software and hardware to present an accurate HDR image, which allows consumers to view the content with more details and better picture quality.
Because different devices have different specs, which might cause the color and brightness to not be represented as the original content intended, many projectors are equipped with Color Mapping and Tone Mapping functions. These features are designed to present the best result by taking the specs of the projector itself into count. BenQ HDR projectors are designed with Tone Mapping in mind, making sure the images being projected are all based on accurate calculation and precise projection, showing more details with more dynamic range, whether it’s in the highlights or shadows. Therefore, it can bring the original visual elements to the audience and provide an experience that’s as if they are watching in the cinema.
BenQ 4K HDR Projector
To make the Tone Mapping work even better, BenQ uses Dynamic Iris technology. With its Dynamic Black ™ technology and proprietary deep dark sealing coating opto-mechanical structure, BenQ projectors create a very wide dynamic range. No matter if the original scene is very bright or very dark, consumers will be able to see the original video more clearly.
More light output during bright scenes
Less light output during darks scenes
Most of the projectors on the market focus on either the performance in the highlights or shadows, and some will sacrifice the realistic image in order to maintain the contrast ratio that falls within its range. But with dynamic iris, projectors can decide the output value of the projection by controlling the optical system of the projector based on the different content or different scenes. Therefore, it can optimize the contrast of the scene and make it closer to the director or creator’s original intended vision.
The brightness of an HDR projector, unlike HDR monitors, is not based on fixed values as the signal assigned to it, but it varies depending on the distance between the projector and the screen, screen sizes, and the material of the screen. Therefore, BenQ HDR projectors provide 5 different recommended HDR brightness values for 5 different common home projector screen sizes. It is also equipped with brightness control so users can change the brightness level based on the screen size to get the best viewing experience. (The common home projection screen sizes are 80”, 100”, 120”, 150”, and 200”)
BenQ HDR-PRO projector
Less light output during darks scenes
In addition, BenQ HDR technology does not simply focus on providing the highest maximum brightness to show more dynamic range, but instead it provides sufficient and comfortable brightness choices in order to avoid long-term eye fatigue for our customers. That feature also presents a complete detailed and realistic image in a way that is best suited for human eyes.
With HDR brightness, Tone Mapping, and Dynamic Iris together, manufacturers will be able to project video with more dynamic range in the eyes of the audience. For example, it allows the projector to show the difference between a star and the dark empty space in a sci-fi interstellar scene. This lets the audience be fully immersed in the cinematic universe and have an experience that is very close to the one they have in theaters.
A comparison between BenQ HDR-PRO projector and others in terms of brightness and contrast of projected image
With more dynamic range to be seen comes more details: The textures of the surface of metal material, the details of a rock cliff, hairs of a character… BenQ’s outstanding HDR-PRO technology will not make the highlights too bright, or cast the shadows too dark in order to pursue higher dynamic range. The emphasis is on providing a smooth gradient of contrast and the total visual experience to give the audience the best there is to offer.
The textures of the surface of metal material, the details of a tree bark, hairs of a character
Wide Color Gamut is also crucial for HDR. Therefore, BenQ developed its own CinematicColor™ Color management technology. It not only matches the color space as wide as industrial standards set by the film industry, but it also provides a rigid and unique manual calibration mechanism to present the image with accurate color, saturation, brightness, color temperature… It can reach 100% Rec. 709 color space with Delta E<3, even meeting the requirement of DCI-P3 cinematic wide color gamut. The Color Mapping function in the projector, will also automatically adjust the color of HDR content to the most rich and accurate color in any conditions.
In order to present the content with higher image quality, contemporary display devices like TVs or monitors are usually developed in three aspects: True 4K resolution, Wide Color Gamut, and High Dynamic Range, trying to show the image with high resolution, along with good contrast between highlights and shadows, and accurate color.
BenQ True 4K HDR projectors usually have 4K high resolution with 8.3 megapixels, and also support DCI-P3 wide color gamut. These two features are crucial and inseparable with High Dynamic Range image presentation. For example, the specially designed high-end 4K lens on the projector comes with all glass elements, which provides the advantage of having large aperture and lower dispersion, making the image bright and clear.
Each BenQ projector is equipped with its own HDR-PRO natural color restoration technology that not only shows the wide color gamut in more detail and closer to the original color, but also depicts a higher dynamic range in highlights and shadows as in nature.
4K resolution and DCI-P3 depict a higher dynamic range in highlights and shadows as in nature.
Because the brightness that viewers perceive from an image presented from a projector will vary depending on the screen size, distance between the projector and the screen, environment and the material of the screen, there are a few things that users should be aware of:
Users should try to watch the content in a fully dark environment without ambient light, to eliminate the possibility that the image projected will be affected by other light sources, which will reduce the perceived image quality. Having any other lights on will affect the accuracy of highlights and shadows, which is the goal of having HDR content. Outside light sources might also affect the color perceived by the audience. If users can watch HDR content in a fully dark environment, it will enhance the immersive experience as if they are in a theater. If they are using the models from BenQ that can support DCI-P3 wide color gamut, the color will be even richer and more accurate.
Deciding the distance between projector and screen and choosing the screen
Screen sizes also affect the brightness of the projection. With the same projector, the smaller the size of the screen, the brighter the image is. If it’s bigger, the image gets darker. A screen with a higher gain value (An index that represents how much light the screen will reflect from the light source) will make the projected video look brighter, while a screen with a lower gain value will show the shadows with more details and make the tonal changes in the shadows look cleaner.
BenQ HDR projectors are also equipped with a zoom lens, which allows them to be adapted into different kinds of space. Without changing too much of the interior, you will be able to have excellent performance. We recommend that users work with measuring tools that are designed for calculating the distance between the screen and the projector to find out the best place to install the projector.
Projector, Player and the Content all have to be HDR.
If a user would like to watch the HDR content with 4K HDR projectors and experience it fully, it must work with a 4K HDR player, and the content must meet the 4K HDR standards. All three factors have to be in place. When choosing the content, we recommend that users choose videos with good contrast that are rich in saturation, which will allow them to enjoy the full potential of HDR content.
Today, all the major manufacturers are developing HDR capable devices. With its great tech team, BenQ works very hard in order to provide the most realistic image that is closer to the original intent of the creators in terms of brightness, contrast, and color rendition to let the consumers have a viewing experience that matches the quality of a movie theater when they are at home or other domestic environments.