ISSUE: Single HDR DNG Overexposed in Aurora HDR 2019

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Sky,

    Thank you for your thorough explanation and screenshots! I think the issue is the Lightroom-created DNG file and the metadata that Lightroom adds for the merged shot. 

    Is there a reason you're merging in Lightroom rather than Aurora? If you can tell me a bit more about the "why" behind your workflow I might be able to offer a couple of suggestions/workarounds.

    Personally (I shoot a lot of HDR and do real estate work), I usually do my bracket merge in Aurora. However, from time to time I'll get a better result with Lightroom. If I go that route I'll do my creative editing in Luminar rather than Aurora as it offers far more options and seems to handle the files better.

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    Member

    Hi, Angela!

    Great to connect with another RE Photographer!  I get what you mean about LR possibly giving Aurora the wrong metadata.  I thought about this and thought that Aurora *should* allow the user to offset or 'reset' the EV it reads if this happens.  

    If I were going to ask for an immediate update with a feature request, that would be it!  

    I have multiple reasons for importing and editing in LR first.  I'm attached to this workflow and just want Aurora HDR to take a 16 bit HDR DNG and work with that.  I've tried every different workflow possible with LR and Aurora, and this is what I've decided is the best.

    Number 1 is organization; I can keep track of all of my images in a catalog where I can view everything easily.  

    Number 2 is that I need to do lens correction and apply my camera color profile (Sony Neutral) on the DNG files.  I also like to do preliminary editing like transform/straightening and spot removal.  

    I prefer to do this first as LR doesn't recognize the camera/lens combo when they are TIFF which Aurora creates.  Once the images have been in Aurora HDR, it's harder for me to edit them and make changes.  And, this workflow allows me to be able to recreate a the final images I want if needed, or go back and redo any edits *on the original images*.  

    I love the final processing that Aurora does, but I'd really prefer for it to be the 'end processing', or 'icing on the cake' to my images, while I can retain a workflow with DNG files for the majority of the work.

    Edit: I corrected my workflow in the OP.  I do spot removal and brush work on the HDR DNG *before* sending to Aurora HDR.  A huge benefit to working on the DNG files is that they save the edit settings in the DNG file, so if my Catalog is corrupted I can still recover all of my edits.

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Sky,

    I also make use of a lot of Lightroom's tools prior to sending to Aurora (especially for RE work) but I do it on my EV-0 bracket and then sync the changes across all of my brackets. In LR I'll usually correct white balance, do lens corrections, and upright/transform if necessary. I then send my brackets to Aurora (export > Aurora > Copy with Lightroom Adjustments).

    I usually do my spot removal in LR (or PS)  after I've made the round trip from Aurora since HDR processing can sometimes bring out dust spots that I couldn't see in the individual brackets.

    That said, I can certainly see merit in your workflow as well. I'll share your feedback with our developers and hopefully in future versions they can allow for user to manually correct/offset the EV. 

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    Member

    One benefit of merging bracketed images in LR is that we can delete the 3-5 raw files and just keep the one HDR DNG.  This makes for much better organization of our LR catalog.  And, once an HDR DNG is made for the set, those HDR DNG's can be run through Aurora in a Batch operation (once the -4EV issue is fixed!).

    Sounds like part of our workflows are similar; editing the 0EV image and syncing to the other bracketed images.  Good point about spot removal being best done *after* a run through Aurora.  I may change my workflow if I notice any issues.

    I appreciate you sending the "-4 EV issue" to the developers.  I hope for a quick response as my workflow is disturbed until this is fixed.  I've sent the same post to support, but their response has been irrelevant to my issue.

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Sky,

    I can see how keeping only the DNG would free up some space. For client real estate work, the raws won't be needed after the job is delivered and accepted, so that makes sense.

    For my creative HDR work, I have a lot of fun going back to old brackets and re-processing them with new technology as software is updated and new tools area created so you wouldn't catch me deleting my raw files! :-) It is amazing what I can do with some of my old images, even those I shot in JPG before I knew any better!

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    Member

    Well once you've merged the bracked DNG's in LR into one image, doesn't the resulting HDR DNG hold all the tonal information of the bracketed images?

    If so, it seems like keeping one HDR DNG is better than keeping 3-5 bracketed images in a catalog.  For now I keep all the bracketed images, but in the future (now that LR allows batch HDR merging) I'd like to just save one HDR DNG.

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    Victoria Grace

    Hi Sky, yes it's more efficient to save one HDR image instead of keeping all the bracketed RAWs on your computer.

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Sky,

    Supposedly, yes - the HDR DNG *should* contain all of the tonal data. However, the process of converting the raws to a single DNG is still a form of processing, thus the possibility exists for Lightroom (or Aurora) to keep only the data it deems necessary.

    Perhaps my keeping all raws is an overabundance of caution, but hard drive space is relatively inexpensive and I'd rather be safe than sorry.

    At the end of the day it is absolutely your call :-) If you don't go back and occasionally re-edit your older images then it should not be an issue.

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    Member

    Hi, Angela.

    We won't know whether we can get good enough results from processing the HDR DNG file through Aurora until the -4 EV issue is resolved.  I'm hoping this issue is prioritized.

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    Member

    I've done a bit of research and believe I've found the issue.  The EXIF data for Lightroom's HDR DNG images have an Exposure Compensation value of -4.  This is the lowest EV value shot in automatic bracketing of 5 shots and somehow remains in the EXIF data of Lightroom's processed HDR DNG images.

    Aurora HDR must be reading the Exposure Compensation value in the EXIF of the HDR DNG, and applying a base exposure compensation while ingesting the image.

    Aurora HDR **should not** adjust the base EV at all when ingesting a single shot.  Only when applying the looks or using the customizable settings should exposure, saturation, or any other adjustment be made.  

    I'm hoping this will be corrected right away, as it is a glaring and detrimental bug.

    For now, a tedious workaround is processing the images through exiftool using the command: exposurecompensation=0

    This is quite tedious, and doesn't seem to fully work.  The images that I've tested show significant banding in Aurora HDR and it's exports.

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    Member

    I should note, the banding I see in Aurora HDR does not appear in Lightroom from the source HDR DNG, either before or after the exposure compensation value is reset to 0EV.  It's only in Aurora HDR that there is banding, and it's there with or without any adjustments or looks applied.

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    Member

    This topic was flagged as 'answered', however, the issue has NOT been resolved.

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    Austin Miller

    Hi Sky. Please reach us at skylum.com/support so we can investigate your issue.

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    Member

    Austin Miller, I've already contacted skylum.com/support about this issue as well and have not had a reply yet.  

    To say the least, I'm disappointed in the lack of customer service I'm experiencing from Skylum.  It seems as though Skylum employees are contracted to reply to forum posts, but nothing ever really gets fixed!

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