Dynamic range

The ratio between the largest and smallest values of an audio or video digital signal. Usually expressed in decibels.

Dynamic range (abbreviated DR, DNR, or DYR) is the ratio between the largest and smallest values that a certain quantity can assume. It is often used in the context of signals, like sound and light. It is measured either as a ratio or as a base-10 (decibel) or base-2 (doublings, bits or stops) logarithmic value of the difference between the smallest and largest signal values.

Electronically reproduced audio and video is often processed to fit the original material with a wide dynamic range into a narrower recorded dynamic range that can more easily be stored and reproduced; This processing is called dynamic range compression.

When showing a movie or a game, a display is able to show both shadowy nighttime scenes and bright outdoor sunlit scenes, but in fact the level of light coming from the display is much the same for both types of scene (perhaps different by a factor of 10). Knowing that the display does not have a huge dynamic range, the producers do not attempt to make the nighttime scenes millions of times less bright than the daytime scenes, but instead use other cues to suggest night or day. A nighttime scene will usually contain duller colours and will often be lit with blue lighting, which reflects the way that the human eye sees colours at low light levels.

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Last modified on December 5, 2020, 4:01 am
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