If you still do not know HDR yet, it’s relatively simple to understand. Take this for example,
Click on the above for a 800 x 400 version. Note the right gate where you’ll be able to see the greens, it’s over exposed. How many times have you got that? Not only when taking 360 panos but with any shoot(s), how often do you have a nice background with nice and I mean great looking blue skies, you crank your aperture to F/8.0, shutter speed to like 1/200 at ISO 100. Click the shutter, nice skies but dark interiors.
This example is a good one and when I was shooting this, I was doing just this article.
So I took 2 versions, the above is a non HDR equirectangular image which I will and frequently refer to it as equi image. The below…
the HDR image. It outlines of actual mood and colors of what the human eye aka what I was actually seeing and feel when I am standing there.
To accommodate on being able to see the paintings on the higher walls, a normal photograper will just snap at the smallest aperture he can go with what lens he has. Example, say the first example equi. I shot it at 1/40sec at F/5.6 ISO 640. Clear and bright paintings and overexposed greens looking outwards.
HDR. Taking a HDR pano, you effectively have the best of both worlds and with 360 pano, it is all the more important everyone learn how to have their camera do that. I generally try out hand held HDR shots, compare the 3 images before actually mounting the cam, pano head onto the pano.
Here’s 3 shots for fast viewing. Click for a larger image.
I have 2 images on top of the original image and 2 images that is +-2 stops in exposure. Merging them is a matter of preferences. The latest version of PTGui can do it in-program or you can use softwares like what I use Photomatix.
I will not be going into how to actually do auto exposure bracketing (AEB) or how to process your HDR. You can refer the links belo and RTFM on your camera’s manual on how to do AEB.
It’s essential especially in 360 panos. It makes the scene better and shows you “more”. How people should be seeing the surroundings and not be “blinded” with bright or over-exposed scenes or patches.
The above two 360 Panos can be seen in full screen here.
Examples – http://www.hdrsoft.com/examples.html