NASA 8K HDR video for free

by Florian Friedrich, last update: April 29th, 2019

8K-playback of the color graded HDR video on the Samsung Q900 (75 inch model). The bias light behind the TV is a Medialight Eclipse (D65 neutral white).
8K-playback of the color graded HDR video on the Samsung Q900 (75 inch model). The bias light behind the TV is a Medialight 6500K (D65 neutral white) – a bias light I highly recommend!

When I saw that NASA shared some 8K footage ready to download on its website, I immediately thought I want to see this on a 8K TV!
Seeing the ISS and earth in that kind of resolution seemed fascinating to me.

Mission1: Download the file from NASA

I do have access to a 75″ Q900 TV from Samsung which has the desired 8K resolution, so I downloaded the MP4-Video which was encoded to 709 SDR, MPEG level MAIN 6.2 with about 140 MBit/s. So there’s no HDR or Wide Color Gamut for 8K space material, really?
I had put the file onto a USB Stick and plugged it into the TV which rejected to play it.

Oh wow, the first 8K Video from NASA and the first 8K TV on the market don’t know each other? I immediately wanted to act as a dating agency here, the content and the TV should be a match 😉

Mission 2: Dress it up for the date

Re-encoding it for being playable with the TV would have been one option, but I thought when I have to do that anyway, why not take it to the next level?
My company FF Pictures does software products for HDR mastering which includes standalone software and plug-ins for popular color grading software. Being able to produce HDR videos for consumer TVs, I decided to not only do the compatible encode but also give it the enhancement I’d like to see. The result of using a compressed MP4-file in SDR is obviously not the same as working with the original RAW footage and making proper HDR out of it, but at least the footage was “flat” enough so that areas of high brightness and dark shadows were not clipped. What I saw made me sure I could give it the kind of contrast, color, and perceived resolution I expected to see. I do have to say the result is not without blemish because I had restricted the amount of time I spent with the enhancement. So for example, there are dead pixels in the material. I think it has to do with either the radiation or pressure changes that were harming the camera sensor of the RED Helium 8K. The dead pixels could be cleaned up in post-production and of course, the enhanced dynamic range is making these pixels more visible. Then there are some frames with color flaws from the original mp4 which enhanced in the HDR version and I did not fix, but nevertheless, Update: I fixed the dead pixels, see Mission 3. I really enjoy the end result: Seeing the 8K footage playing on the Samsung 75″ Q900.

Some scenes like this one combine impressive dynamic range and details.
Some scenes like this one combine impressive dynamic range and details.
In this close-up, you can see that there's plenty of details while diagonal lines of the 8K version are perfectly smooth - without any jagged edges or flickering in movements. You may also notice the dead pixels (white dots).
In this close-up, you can see that there’s plenty of details while diagonal lines of the 8K version are perfectly smooth – without any jagged edges or flickering in movements. You may also notice the dead pixels (white dots).


Mission 3: Reincarnation of the dead pixels

After receiving a lot of questions about defective pixels from people who downloaded the clips, I took the time to reincarnate the dead pixels in the footage. I think I caught more than 99% of them (hundreds!) and fixed them by interpolating their value from surrounding pixels.

Amount of dead pixels to be fixed in the color grading process.
Amount of dead pixels to be fixed in the color grading process.

Comparison: Before and after fixing the dead pixels.
Animated comparison: Before and after fixing the dead pixels. Look at the bright little spots in her hair.

Mission 4: Make it available

Being aware of 8K TVs are not widely in use yet, I made multiple versions of the material. One -the master- is produced in the original 8K resolution and one is downscaled to 4K HDR. For both resolution alternatives, and in order to avoid further scaling by the TV, I decided to crop out the 16:9 portion of it and make the video fill the screen. So no matter if you own the Samsung Q900 8K TV or if you want to see a 4K HDR version of it, I do have a file for you.

Using elements of the HDRmaster Toolset, such as the HDR SDR mapping plugin for resolve, I also created additional versions:

  • 4K with HDR10 plus dynamic meta data, mapped to 600nits
  • 4K with P3 SDR (in the BT.2020 container)
  • 4K with HLG
The download of the HDR-enhanced video comes in 5 different versions, allowing direct playback on 4K and 8K televisions.
The download of the HDR-enhanced video comes in 5 different versions, allowing direct playback on 4K and 8K televisions.

These additional versions should allow some tests and comparisons for how well a specific type of signal is displayed by your TV. Most likely you will see differences in between the HLG and PQ versions (mainly because of how each signal is handled by the display) and of course SDR will look less bright, less rich of contrasts, less detailed in shadows and highlights.
If your TV only has a restricted light output capability but supports HDR10+, then this version with dynamic metadata should look better than the one without.

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In order to download the files for free, I only ask you to sign up to my newsletter. I will use this newsletter only for notifying you about updates for the contents and more test and demo materials or software from FF Pictures. If enough people are interested, I also intend to do a version with the dead pixels fixed. Also, if I can get ahold of the original RAW files and if there’s enough interest, I intend to do a “native” HDR version, not derived from the SDR download I used for color grading.


Original Download of the video from the NASA homepage:
https://images.nasa.gov/details-First-8K-Video-from-Space.html