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Old July 10th, 2009, 08:02 PM   #1
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Fixing low exposure in FCP

I recently shot an opera with a Canon XH A1, along with an HV20 and an HV30. The HV cameras were on auto exposure (I don't think there is a manual mode), but the XHA1 I was using was in full manual. Due largely to my inexperience, my shots are a little dark, especially when I cut it into the HV 20 & 30 material.

What are my options after the fact? I've tried applying the "brightness" filter, but a small bit of brightness adds an unacceptable amount of noise.

I suppose I could darken the HV footage, but then my whole shoot is going to look too dark.

Help me if you can.

Thank you.

--Nathan Lawrence
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Old July 10th, 2009, 08:10 PM   #2
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Try raising the midtones without pulling the blacks up too much, might want to use the 3-way color filter, it offers much more control than the brightness filter, which imho does more harm that good. Another good filter is a freebie which has been offered here...search Dominiks Contrast filter, which has a great gamma control. Please do a search as I don't have the url at my fingertips but it is on this board and works a treat. / hth / Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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Old July 11th, 2009, 06:45 AM   #3
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usually when I need to increase the exposure I use Neat Video to clean up the noise, it does a fantastic job and then apply Magic bullet looks, or Color from apple to increase the right amount of exposure while still maintaining my blacks.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 01:18 PM   #4
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Learn to use the 3-Way Color Corrector; it's one of the most powerful color and exposure tools in FCP. Also, the referenced tool from Dominik is also very easy to use:

http://www.dominik.ws/dc.dmg
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Old July 11th, 2009, 08:35 PM   #5
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Thanks for all your help with this. Just a few minutes of this and things looked a whole lot better. I can still tweak, but there's a lot of tweak I can do with the 3-way. Dominik's works very nicely also. Thanks for pointing it out (and thanks Dominik for writing this for everyone!)

--Nathan
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Old July 13th, 2009, 07:14 PM   #6
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Take a look at this:

Neat Video - best noise reduction for digital video

It's a quite remarkable noise remover. There are demos on the site.

Harry
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Old July 14th, 2009, 04:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
Learn to use the 3-Way Color Corrector; it's one of the most powerful color and exposure tools in FCP.
I'll second that. I've been shooting all our opera videos here in Philadelphia for the past 8 years, so I "feel your pain"... opera can often be really dark (and, putting on my lighting designer hat, I'm as guilty as the next guy).

But all I ever use is the 3-way corrector. It can work wonders after you get used to it. You are lucky that the footage is underexposed and not overexposed, because at least you can do something with it. Often the only way to prevent the faces from getting totally blown out is to stop down to the point where most of the stage is just black. I have a little trick I use with footage like that. Using the color wheel on the left, drag it into the blue area. This has the effect of turning the black areas into a sort of misty blue, like a backlight in haze. This has really saved some of my footage (and as a lighting designer I also use a lot of blue backlight in haze too). But don't apply too much of this effect... just a bit to lessen the contrast of a pitch black scene.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 04:45 AM   #8
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Thanks so much everyone for this suggestion - the 3 way colour corrector is great. I have a load of footage shot in very sunny and high contrast conditions, some of which I overcompensated for by underexposing. Reducing the blacks and / or raising the mid-tones improved and enhanced the footage no-end without either adding any noise (that I could notice) or making it look artificial in any way. A great tool!
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