Stacey Spears and Don Munsil have announced the release of the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark, which the team says adds more features and patterns than previous disc versions. The new disc is aimed at both pros and amateurs and the included materials help to identify how a display is shaping up, where weak links in hardware and software might exist, and includes an ability to dial in optimal settings for existing and “…future equipment that hasn’t even been designed yet.”

As with the previous editions, the S&M UHD HDR Benchmark contains patterns suitable for professional calibrators or “serious” amateurs who want a complete suite of test patterns usable with spectroradiometers and colorimeters. Almost every pattern is encoded in multiple versions, with metadata and peak levels adjusted for a wide variety of HDR display technologies. The new Benchmark uses patterns created from scratch using Spears & Munsil’s in-house software.

“Every pattern has been rethought with High Dynamic Range and UltraHD in mind,” said co-creator Stacey Spears. “We believe this disc completely changes the game for test and evaluation discs, by making use of all of the features and range that HDR and wide-gamut standards can offer.”

“There really isn’t any other way to make patterns that we can stand behind,” said co-creator Don Munsil. “We build every pattern using our own tools, written from scratch in C++. If a pattern needs to be generated directly in a very specific color space and data format, we generate it in that color space and format; we’re not limited to what you can do with off-the-shelf graphics software. In a few cases we’ve had to create our own format, because no existing file format could represent the pattern we needed to create.”

HDR was designed to meet the capabilities of future displays as well as existing displays. HDR content remains back-compatible with today’s technology while making available metadata and picture information that will produce brighter, more dynamic and more colorful images on tomorrow’s displays. In the past, content has had to be mastered for the lowest-common-denominator displays, not the newest and most capable consumer displays, which have long been capable of producing a brighter image with wider gamut. The new standards mean that content can be smartly scaled to use the color depth and dynamic range of a display, meaning today’s content should look better on tomorrow’s display technologies.

The Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark is available from Amazon for $39.95.

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Martin Dew


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