Setting the tone…

Something we’re experimenting a lot with at the moment, especially now that we are immersing ourselves in the editing of our feature All That Remains, is a technique known as “Tone Mapping”.

Tone Mapping is a type of “HDR” (high dynamic range) photographic technique, but it’s a technique (or techniques) that are applied to an image in post-production as opposed to using a “HDR” equipped camera (which captures multiple exposures of a shot at the same time, to be merged together using specialized software).

By the way, if you have installed Magic Lantern on your Canon DSLR, then you have the ability to shoot in HDR mode – it’s not perfect yet, but it is capable of producing some stunning results – although we haven’t had as much time as we’d like to experiment with this feature when shooting video.

Anyway, back to Tone Mapping…. so what exactly is Tone Mapping? Well, Tone Mapping increases the tonal range of an image; it brings out detail in the highlights, mid-tones and shadow areas of an image, resulting in pictures with far sharper clarity and colour information than previously possible.


It’s also a great way to bring back details in an image that may have been lost during the grading process, as can happen when pushing the curves or re-lighting a shot.

To get the most out of Tone Mapping, you should shoot in a flat, slightly under saturated image, for DSLR shooters, using Canon EOS cameras, we recommend downloading the Technicolor picture style.


We use several tools when Tone Mapping an image, included a couple of native After Effects filters. We’ll go into more on our Tone Mapping techniques in another later blog, when we have a little more time on our hands. But a little research can draw up a lot of info on the subject.

The correct application of tone-mapping is capable of stunning results, giving you so much more control over the look of the images. It’s yet another tool in our continuing quest to create photographic/video images that are more painterly in quality.


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