a photo looking up at the Eiffel Tower with what appears to be a woman leaping over it

Live sport has always driven innovation in broadcasting, and iterations of the Summer and Winter Games have served as focal points in an industry looking to raise the bar in terms of viewer experience. Paris 2024 should be no exception, with High Dynamic Range (HDR) promising a boost in visual quality that will be evident to most viewers if they are able to receive it.

Several world broadcasters are planning HDR production to some degree at the Summer Games ― the product of advances on several fronts, which we explore in this blog: the rise of HDR-capable cameras and displays, standardization of HDR production workflows, and delivery of HDR content to viewers.

Gearing Up for Live HDR Production

While HDR-capable televisions hit the market back in 2016, live HDR broadcasting was slowed down by the COVID-19 lockdowns. On their return to in-person operations, broadcasters started to invest in leveraging HDR technology to deliver more visually impressive programming to the growing number of consumer HDR displays.

Moving from Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) to HDR, broadcasters began to take advantage of the much more expansive spectrum of brightness captured by modern CCD sensors, reproducible by LEDs and other active display technologies. This is how HDR delivers the darkest shadows and most brilliant light, and everything in between, that make for such stunning pictures.

Pro Tip: Looking for ways to skill up? SMPTE offers a virtual course on “HDR Technology and Workflows for Media and Entertainment”

Along with the benefits of a much-expanded brightness range, however, came a nontrivial problem: transporting the signal through the existing television production and distribution infrastructure. True to past form, the industry developed two widely used technologies to address this challenge:

  • Hybrid log-gamma (HLG) concentrates on the scene light, focusing on the image’s brightness.
  • Perceptual quantization (PQ) began with a reference display and examined what the human visual system could comprehend in terms of detail at varying brightness levels.

While HLG is typically used during shooting and production, PQ is more often used during distribution. (Distribution systems such as HDR10 and Dolby Vision are based on the PQ standard.)

Standardizing HDR Production Workflows

Broadcasters depend on standardized workflows to help them achieve consistent results across different live shows and events. When it comes to HDR production, this is particularly important for shooting an event that must deliver both HDR and SDR versions to the client.

In recent years, in a significant step for the industry, NBC Universal tested, documented, and shared a single-master workflow for SDR/HDR live production. Eliminating the need for separate trucks, crews, and cameras, this workflow is a key technical, economic, and logistical enabler of live HDR production. Different broadcasters make their own implementations, but this single-master workflow is key to the economics of HDR production.

Pro Tip: NBC Universal’s single-master workflow documents are freely available to the industry.

Delivering Live HDR Content to Viewers

Over-the-air delivery of HDR content remains a largely experimental proposition, but cable and satellite subscribers with the right equipment and plans do have access when content is available.

Over-the-top services that deliver content over the internet can offer HDR or SDR on a subscriber basis on supported equipment, without incurring significant additional costs. Popular streaming services often already offer HDR content and can quite easily give subscribers broad access to live HDR content as well.


What drives the momentum toward widespread HDR production are high-profile events with a lot of viewership, and next year’s Summer Games will no doubt be such a focal point where all of these factors converge. Consumers continue to invest in HDR-capable displays, and live HDR production at Paris 2024 is likely to be a win — for viewers and broadcasters alike.

Need to do graphics in UHD and HDR? Let’s get started!  Watch this 1-minute video >>

October 31, 2023 - By John Mailhot
CTO - Networking & Infrastructure
Contact Sales Icon

Contact Sales

Get in touch with our sales team to see how we can work together


Area of Interest

Inquiry Details

We’re committed to your privacy. Imagine Communications uses the information you provide to us to contact you with relevant content and updates regarding our products and services. To help personalize your experience, please update your preferences. You may also unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For more information, check out our privacy-policy.

Contact Support Icon

Help & Support

Our highly trained personnel, are ready to assist you.
If your query is urgent, please telephone us



Technical Support Contact Numbers

Americas & Canada:
Europe & Africa:
Middle East:

24x7 MyImagine Care+ Technical Support:

Customer Community Portal

Expert assistance, resources, and information available to support your organisation 24x7

Log in or sign up

portatif of Steve Reynolds


Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is President of Imagine Communications, a global leader in multiscreen video and ad management solutions that broadcasters, networks, video service providers and enterprises around the world rely on to support their mission-critical operations.

Steve brings 25 years of technology leadership in the video industry to Imagine Communications. He has served as the CTO at Imagine Communications and Harris Broadcast, Senior Vice President of Premises Technology at Comcast, Senior Vice President of Technology at OpenTV, and CTO at Intellocity USA.

Steve earned a MS in Computer Engineering from Widener University and BS in Computer Science from West Chester University. As the Chairman of the AIMS Alliance and a member of SMPTE and SCTE, he has participated in numerous standards-making bodies in the cable and digital video industries. Steve also holds over 40 patents relating to digital video, content security, interactive television and digital devices.