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10-bit vs 8-bit video - see the difference on an HDR screen

alex novak
Alex Novak

We are one step away from better visuals in VR thanks to HDR 10-bit screens. 10-bit visuals can display up to 1.07 billion colors, whereas an 8-bit image can only display 16.7 million. This is 64 times fewer - a huge difference.

10-bit vs 8-bit video

The ZCam K2 Pro is the camera of choice for filming 180° VR footage, and records in 10-bit color. The Quest 2 and Nvidia 10xx/20xx/30xx cards can decode 10-bit h.265 video but there's no HDR headset on the market that takes advantage of 10-bit video. And there's no advantage to playing 10-bit video on a non-HDR screen. This means only 8-bit videos are practical for the current generation of VR headsets.

10-bit video looks brilliant on an HDR 10-bit display, but it looks exactly the same as 8 bit on a non-HDR screen. It's only possible to see the 10-bit effect on an HDR 10-bit screen. It doesn't work like resolution where you get better visuals when watching flat 4K video on an HD screen. Also, 10-bit videos have a much bigger file size due to the much higher bitrate required.

From the perspective of a producer, it's still beneficial to have a 10-bit camera due to the huge advantage it has on color grading which is then downscaled to 8-bit. The 8-bit Zcam K1 Pro camera has much less potential when it comes to color grading.

Below is a 10-bit image compared to 8-bit. See the difference on an HDR screen:

Here are two video examples showing the same difference between 8-bit and 10-bit video:

Once 10-bit HDR headsets emerge we will release re-mastered videos shot in 10-bit.

alex novak
Alex Novak
Born and raised in Southern California, Alex Novak has always had a passion for technology. Always interested in exploring new frontiers, the avid gamer and sci-fi reader found himself drawn to VR and its endless possibilities. Alex is excited to see what the future of VR brings and how he can help shape it.
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