How to Find HDR Content on YouTube
The iPhone XS and XS Max are the latest devices to support High Dynamic Range (HDR) video on Youtube, which is great news for those who own them. If you’re unfamiliar with HDR, it is an enhanced contrast ratio video format that makes colors more accurate and vibrant than non-HDR (standard dynamic range or SDR) video.
HDR video has been around for a while, but it wasn’t until 4K and Blu-Ray 4K UHD TVs became more popular that more devices started supporting it. Unfortunately, just because the video is shot in 4K doesn’t mean it’s HDR as well. This can make it difficult to find HDR quality content, especially free videos, and this is where YouTube comes in.
How to find HDR content on YouTube
There is a decent amount of free HDR content available on YouTube, but it’s not easy to find as you can’t search YouTube specifically for HDR videos. For now, the best you can do is add “HDR”, “4K HDR” or even just “4K” or “UHD” to your query. Some of the videos will title if they are HDR, but this is not always the case.
To see if a video is actually HDR, open the video options while watching YouTube on an HDR-enabled device. Click the Quality tab and a list of resolution formats and frames per second (FPS) should appear. If they include “HDR” then you know they are legal.
This is an inelegant solution, but the best we have at the moment. Google said it expects more HDR-enabled devices and more HDR content to be available on the site until such a search filter is added.
We may be just impatient, but we think there is more than enough content to find an easy way to find HDR videos on Youtube. So, we dug around to find some of the most popular HDR videos and channels so you can spend less time searching and more time contemplating all these colors. Also, be sure to check out the official 4K HDR channel , which compiles and highlights great HDR downloads from various YouTube users.
Nature and landscape videos
Few can demonstrate the noticeable difference that HDR makes, such as a beautiful landscape or a sunset, so we start with some great examples based on nature.
Perhaps the best source for exquisite nature imagery on Youtube is travel documentary filmmakers Jacob and Katie Schwartz. Their professionally shot and edited videos are getting millions of views, and it’s easy to see why. Below are some highlights and you can find more on their YouTube page, Jacob + Katie Schwarz .
“Dance of War” by Jacob and Katie Schwartz.
Peru, Jacob + Katie Schwartz
Yellowstone, Jacob + Katie Schwartz
Transitional, Dustin Farrell
This short video from Dustin Farrell shows off an impressive thunderstorm. Stormy skies showcase HDR’s wide and subtle contrast capabilities and make flashes of light crackle with light and color.
Redwoods, by Abandon Visuals
This short, atmospheric piece features long panoramic shots of misty hills, close-ups of moss and colorful foliage, and bright flashes of the midday sun.
Flying over Norway in nature
Need something longer? This 1 hour video of drone footage from Nature Relaxation might help. While this one is dedicated to Norway, the channel alsohas a 7-hour version with other countries , among other long HDR content.
Samsung HDR Landscapes
Finally, this Samsung commercial showcases truly breathtaking time-lapse shots of vibrant locations around the world.
Original short films and animation
YouTube is full of talented independent contributors. Here is a selection of short films, animations, and documentaries available in HDR.
Washing machine “Cosmos” from Blender.
This surreal short film was produced by 3D modeling software studio Blender as a free Creative Commons project. In addition to the gorgeous HDR effects (clouds and textured fur capturing subsurface scattering is the bread and butter of HDR), the video has beautiful animation.
The Legend of Solorzano, Abandon Visuals
This HDR clip from Abandon Visuals is a short documentary about Eric Solorzano, the world famous Volkswagon Bug racing Baja 1000. His desert driving scenes do appear on the HDR display – like a real Mad Max.
The Turning Point, byJoe Penn.
This short film is like a typical sci-fi slash psychological thriller. It’s also fun to use a desaturated background to make the bursts of color even more vibrant.
LG HDR Showcase Uploaded With 4K HDR Channel
It might not be a small studio or independent creator, but we’re adding that to the list anyway. This short clip was created by LG as a way to showcase its 4K UHD TV lineup. Its narrative is uninteresting, but its gorgeous visuals make it one of the best examples of HDR videos on Youtube.
Films and TV
YouTube channels such as 4K HDR Media and 4K Movie Clips share scenes from movies and TV shows in 4K HDR. Fair warning though: both channels post a lot of spoilers. For safer content, check out the 4K HDR version of the Avengers: Infinity War trailer.
It’s actually pretty easy to find HDR quality game clips on YouTube as gamers can record from their high-end PC, Xbox One X, or PlayStation 4 Pro graphics cards. Here’s a selection of videos with a vivid and flamboyant gameplay:
Forza Horizon 4 HDR Gameplay,Techman Video Game Archive
Gameplay Uncharted 4 HDR,TechNoZen Gaming
Final Fantasy XV HDR: Comparison, Digital Foundry
YouTube Red Premium Series
Everything we’ve listed so far is free to watch – one of the perks of watching videos on YouTube, HDR, or other formats. However, some of YouTube Red’s premium content is also available in HDR.
If you feel like you want to watch something more realistic (which you can drink), the original YouTube Ultimate Expedition series might help. The show takes groups of reality TV stars and Internet figures out of their comfort zone and challenges them to climb Mount Tokllaraju, a 20,000-foot mountain in Peru.
Not only will you enjoy watching people like Jucca Hilden, Steve-O and SSSniperWolf climb the Peruvian Andes, but you’ll also get HDR pictures of some of the world’s most stunning mountain ranges. The link for the first season trailer is above, but you can watch the entire episode here , provided you are subscribed to YouTube Red or Google Play Music.