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How to Convert HDR to SDR: Common Methods Explained

How to Convert HDR to SDR

HDR allows viewers to experience a broader range of colors and contrast, providing a more immersive and realistic viewing experience. However, as this cutting-edge technology continues to shape our viewing experiences, the need to adapt HDR content for devices that support SDR – a staple of traditional displays arises. This article will introduce what HDR to SDR conversion is, why it's essential, and how to do it.

Basics of HDR and SDR

Both HDR and SDR are technologies used for imaging and display and they differ in these key aspects. HDR (High Dynamic Range), as the name implies, introduces a broader range of colors and brightness compared to SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) signals. HDR signals send metadata to the TV, a list of instructions for the TV to display content correctly. The signal source tells the TV which colors to indicate at which brightness levels, whereas SDR is limited to a specific range of brightnesses and colors.

SDR refers to the Standard Dynamic Range. It is the video standard in non-4K HDTVs or theaters. While some SDR displayers can represent excellent image quality, they can't match HDR's contrast. HDR promises a full range of colors and picture quality similar to the naked eye. Moving from SDR to HDR, you will get more overall image detail that SDR can't promise.

How to Convert HDR to SDR Video

Despite Handbrake, there are several tools that you can use to convert HDR to SDR video, such as Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, and Tone Mapping. Next, we will focus on these three significant examples.

Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro is a non-linear video editing software introduced by Macromedia and later taken over by Apple to develop and market. If you want to upload a video from your phone to YouTube, it can automatically convert the format. It also supports converting MXF or MOV files encoded directly with HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) or PQ (Perceptual Quantizer) standards to SDR standard mode.

Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro is a non-linear video editing software developed by Adobe. It is easy to operate on that software. Just select all the HDR clips in the bins, right-click on them, and select "interpret footage," then choose the option to convert them to Rec 709, and after minutes, you can get an SDR video. This software is recognized as one of the most popular in the market.

Tone Mapping

Tone mapping is one of the most popular HDR to SDR conversion techniques. It involves compressing the dynamic range of an HDR image or video to make it compatible with SDR monitors. The method works by mapping the brightest and darkest parts of the HDR content to the dynamic range of an SDR monitor. The result is that the SDR image or video retains most of the detail and looks as good as the original HDR content.

Converting HDR to SDR: Step-By-Step Guide

You can follow the steps below to convert HDR to SDR:

  1. Select a conversion tool: Choose a reliable HDR to SDR conversion tool. There are several software options available, both free and paid, that can assist in this process. Some popular choices include FFmpeg, MADVR, and HandBrake.
  2. Import the HDR content: Open the selected software and import the HDR content you wish to convert. This can be done by dragging and dropping the file into the software's interface.
  3. Choose SDR conversion settings: Within the software, navigate to the conversion settings. Here, you'll find options to adjust brightness, contrast, and color saturation parameters. These settings determine how the HDR content will be mapped to SDR.
  4. Preview and adjust: Many conversion tools offer a preview feature that lets you see how the content will look after conversion. Use this feature to fine-tune the settings and ensure that the SDR output retains as much visual fidelity as possible.
  5. Start the conversion process: Once satisfied with the settings, initiate the conversion process. The software will process the HDR content according to your chosen parameters and generate an SDR version.
  6. Save the SDR content: After the conversion is complete, save the SDR version of the content to your desired location on your device.

How to Change HDR Video to Normal SDR on iPhone?

If you need help with the conversion process, using your iPhone to transform HDR video into standard SDR is easy. Let's walk through the steps you need to follow.

First, you should find the iMovie, a versatile app on the Apple products' screen. In iMovie for iOS, you can add HDR videos recorded on your device to your iMovie projects. When you share a movie, you need to tap Options and then turn on HDR to output the film in HDR. Please turn off the HDR button to share a movie's standard dynamic range (SDR) version. And then you can get a brand new format video of SDR from HDR.

Top HDR Video Converter for Mac/Android

Selecting the appropriate conversion tool is crucial to completing the entire process. Below is a selection of top converters tailored for MAC and Android users.

EaseFab Video Converter

EaseFab Video Converter for Mac can convert and process 4K HDR videos of various types and formats. This Mac 4K video converter is also up-to-date to support the latest macOS and devices. With constantly updated conversion algorithms and advanced high-quality engines, it ensures you output high-quality video content in conversion.


HandBrake is a potent software for Mac users. It is an elementary program to convert 4K video files in HandBrake. It offers many ready-made profiles, including generic profiles for standard quality or high definition, profiles for online uploads, profiles optimized for different devices, and other options. Afterward, you will choose a location and add the conversion to the queue. The problem, however, is that the interface could be more complex and easier to operate for amateurs.

Any Video Converter

Any Mac Video Converter converts any video file, including 4K UHD video. It is highly compatible with hundreds of formats. However, this tool has its drawbacks, which are the speed of operation and the limitation of the computer to run the graphics cards. Its running time can be up to more than 20 minutes when converting one hour of video HDR to SDR. And it only supports running on devices installed on NVIDIA graphics cards.

HDR vs. SDR: What's the Difference?

The most significant difference between HDR and SDR is in the color gamut and luminance range. Remember that SDR allows for an sRGB color gamut and 0 to 100 units of brightness. On the other hand, HDR has a broader color gamut, up to DCI - P3, with a brighter upper brightness limit and a darker lower brightness limit. At the same time, it improves overall image quality in terms of contrast, grayscale resolution, and other dimensions for a more immersive experience.

SDR is limited by its ability to express only a fraction of the dynamic range. If you've ever been in the market for a monitor, you've probably noticed certain specifications such as sRGB, nits, cd/m2, and 10-bit color. These specs address color space, brightness, and color depth. HDR retains detail in a scene, which SDR lacks. HDR allows you to see more detail and color in high-dynamic-range scenes. This means that HDR is brighter than SDR and reveals more detail in the image.

Bonus Tips: How to Convert MOV to MP4

Adobe Express is recommended when converting MOV to MP4 because it is handy and efficient. You don't need to take complicated steps, but all you need to do is follow the guide inside the software and press the button, and then you'll get what you want.

Please make sure you have read the following steps:

  1. Go to Adobe Express in a web browser.
  2. Using Adobe Express.
  3. Upload your MOV.
  4. Click or tap the Download button.

Or you can also seek help from CloudConvert and other online services. Taking CloudConvert as an example, the engineers of this web tool have made it so easy and fast that you can get a file in MP4 format just by moving your fingers. Just follow the guide below:

  1. Open the CloudConvert website.
  2. Click the Select Files button.
  3. Select your MOV file.
  4. Click Open button.
  5. Click the drop-down box.
  6. Click MP4 button.
  7. Click convert button.
  8. Click download button.


Does HandBrake convert HDR to SDR?

Of course, it does. HandBrake is an open-source video converter for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It can convert 4K HDR videos to SDR videos in MP4 or MKV output format. Step 1: Import 4K HDR videos via "File" under "Source Selection" or drag and drop directly. Then, wait for scanning titles.

How can I convert HDR to SDR on Android?

Select the editor software on your phone. In the editor, click on the three-dot menu in the lower right corner and select the Size and Format option. Here, you can resize the video and choose whether it's HDR10+ or SDR.

Is there a need for more quality during the conversion process?

Converting the file format may be detrimental to the quality of the file or result in loss of information or degradation of data quality. This is due to the characteristics of HDR format files and SDR files.

Does YouTube convert HDR to SDR?

Once uploaded, YouTube supports all resolutions and automatically converts HDR to SDR video when necessary. YouTube detects HDR metadata and processes it, generating HDR transcoding for HDR devices and SDR downscaling for other devices.


Knowing how to convert between HDR and SDR can help you work with your content in various situations. Through the introduction of this article, you have gained a deep understanding of HDR and SDR conversion. Please share this article with your friends and family if you found it helpful. Please leave a comment under this article to see your thoughts.


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Editor from Reolink. Interested in new technology trends and willing to share tips about home security. Her goal is to make security cameras and smart home systems easy to understand for everyone.