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Old October 2nd, 2007, 01:44 PM   #1
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Best Way To Brighten An Underexposed Clip

i'm sorry if this has been discussed in the past (i couldn't find it). but...in your opinion, what is the best way to brighten up an underexposed piece of video (in my case, HDV in FCP5). i just read about using composite modes in a duplicate layer (which i haven't tried yet), or pushing mids/whites with color corrector, and a couple other methods...but i haven't found one i love.
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 01:54 PM   #2
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Best is probably using levels and/or curves.
(Brightness and contrast aren't really the way to go, by the way.)
Layering would be possible but I don't see much of an advantage. At best, it would change the look of it (such as using overlay for more contrast, but not for just bringing up the levels).
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 01:55 PM   #3
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daniel, do you mean pushing white levels or mid levels (using Color Corrector plugin)?
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 02:04 PM   #4
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The advantage of levels and curves is that they stretch the gamma curve. You won't be just bringing up the blacks or pulling down the whites, but actually adjusting the middle.
So, yes, midpoint.

Bringing the white point in will severely damage the colors. You will have it darker, but it will also just have no white. It'll be gray at the lightest parts.

A very important thing to keep in mind is being sure you don't crush the blacks or the whites. That will look really bad. Even stretching from the middle, it can be a problem, so try to minimize this.

Bringing up levels will also bring up the noise.

In short, if you can fix it in camera, always do that. If not, good luck fixing it!

Curves may be a better option because it stretches the curve expontentially rather than just doing a linear (approx.) change.
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 06:19 PM   #5
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Try selecting the clip that is dark and hold the "option" and "shift" key to duplicate the clip above the clip you want to lighten. Select the top clip and right click to give you a menu. Select composite and then screen.

John
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 08:27 PM   #6
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Good Idea John, never thought of using Final Cut to do a CC screen.

-C
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 09:38 PM   #7
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Not very controllable-- I guess you can change the opacity.
Interesting, but I don't see why curves wouldn't be better.
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Old October 8th, 2007, 02:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Ross View Post
The advantage of levels and curves is that they stretch the gamma curve. You won't be just bringing up the blacks or pulling down the whites, but actually adjusting the middle.
So, yes, midpoint.

Bringing the white point in will severely damage the colors. You will have it darker, but it will also just have no white. It'll be gray at the lightest parts.

A very important thing to keep in mind is being sure you don't crush the blacks or the whites. That will look really bad. Even stretching from the middle, it can be a problem, so try to minimize this.

Bringing up levels will also bring up the noise.

In short, if you can fix it in camera, always do that. If not, good luck fixing it!

Curves may be a better option because it stretches the curve expontentially rather than just doing a linear (approx.) change.
Hi,

What plugin are you using for levels and curves? Third party plugin? No curves that I see as part of FCS...

EDIT: Nattress, Levels & Curves...

Thanks,
Scott

Last edited by Scott Shama; October 8th, 2007 at 12:41 PM.
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Old October 8th, 2007, 12:15 PM   #9
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Hi,

Can anyone recommend any good plugins to expose an underexposed clip?

Thanks in advance,

Simon
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Old October 8th, 2007, 05:52 PM   #10
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Scott, good catch, there.

The filter is just that, Levels, in Image Control.

However, curves does not appear to exist.

I'm very used to working in After Effects and Photoshop, and I guess never needed to use Curves in FCP, so I assumed it was there. (I'd rather do it in AE, with higher than 8 bit color processing.)

The Gamma corrector is also a very basic filter that would help some. It's basically a stripped down version of levels.
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Old October 8th, 2007, 05:58 PM   #11
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The best tool by far to rescue underexposure is Shadow/Highlight in PS and AE. Does FCP have something equivalent?
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Old October 8th, 2007, 06:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Ross View Post
Scott, good catch, there.

The filter is just that, Levels, in Image Control.

However, curves does not appear to exist.
The nattress plug is a very simple curve but works quite well. I had forgotten about it but I think I might start using it first now instead of CC 3 way as it doesn't seem to destroy the image as bad when you really stretch it..

The best trick for under exposed footage for me is still the duplicate clip on top set to screen. Learned that in a photoshop mag and decided to try it in fcp on a whim. I was very please to see it works like a charm.

Cheers,
Scott
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