Vimeo announces support for HDR video, up to 8K resolutions & HEVC/H.265 codec

Vimeo today announced it’s rolling out support for high dynamic range video (HDR), playable on compatible devices like the new iPhone X, iPad Pro and Apple TV 4K.

“We’re proud to be the only video-hosting platform available in HDR on these platforms right now,” the company commented.

HDR video with ten bits per channel and the BT.2020 color space (or Rec.2020) has a dynamic range greater than that of standard dynamic range video (SDR) which uses a conventional gamma curve (Rec. 601 or Rec. 709) and a bit depth of 8-bits per sample.

Now Vimeo can bring over one billion colors to your screen versus sixteen million colors for SDR video, representing over 75% of the color that the human eye can see. No longer will scenes like the gradient of a sunset or the subtlety of an ocean suffer from color banding.

“Videos available in HDR will include an HDR badge on the video page and player,” Vimeo notes. “We automatically detect and display HDR whenever it is supported.” If the user doesn’t have an HDR-supported device, Vimeo will serve up a separate SDR-optimized version of the clip because HDR content doesn’t look great on a non-HDR screen.

As an example, here’s an HDR video hosted on Vimeo.

All Vimeo members can upload their HDR videos (be sure to follow Vimeo’s compression guidelines with details for your HEVC or ProRes video sources). Additionally, Vimeo now supports 5K, 6K and 8K videos that users can stream or download for file sharing.

The service leverages the HEVC/H.265 codec that Apple supports across iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, which lets you watch a higher quality video with the same bandwidth like with the H.264 codec that Vimeo continues to support as well.

Vimeo commented on the codec situation:

While new codecs continue to come out, we’re incredibly picky at Vimeo about what we use, and how we use them. As leaders in quality, we want to ensure that the growing pains typically associated with new codecs—like lingering artifacts or unsightly banding—don’t impact the videos coming through our pipeline.

Because of that, we’ve focused our efforts on optimizing the HEVC for Vimeo, and meticulously testing and iterating on our technology over the past year to ensure it’s crystal clear.

They’re planning on rolling out additional codec support for HDR video, like VP9, in 2018.

Vimeo for iOS is a free download from App Store.