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Old April 26th, 2003, 07:38 PM   #1
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Video looks so dark

Hello,

I would like to know why my video looks so dark. Here is an example:

http://207.44.160.90/~admin8/images/example1.jpg
http://207.44.160.90/~admin8/images/example2.jpg

Maybe those picture won't help because I cannot show you what the video looks like on my LCD screen. On the LCD screen it has more blight color and picture looks sharper. When I import the footage into VV4, picture looks dimmed, and weired. Maybe PC isn't interpetating DV footage correctly (I forgot, but there is this number thinggy that goes from 0 to 255?)

Thank you
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Old April 26th, 2003, 08:00 PM   #2
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That doesn't look dark to me. That looks quiet good, actually. Maybe your monitor isn't properly adjusted, it's probably too dark. Look at some black and make it brighter just until the black starts to turn grey...

But, that is shot in a concert setting, so of course it's going to be darker. Unless you add more light or boost up the gain, then it's going to be dark.
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Old April 26th, 2003, 08:33 PM   #3
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You really have to beware of LCD's, especially the tiny one on the camera. Depending on the brightness setting and the angle of view you can get a really inaccurate picture. If you are using the LCD when you shoot in a dark room, be sure to turn the brightness down to somewhere around 70%.

But LCD's are tricky. The brightness and contrast changes a lot depending on the angle. While filming, be sure to tip the screen until it appears to show the maximum amount of contrast, and NOT the brightest image.
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Old April 29th, 2003, 08:41 PM   #4
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Another thing you can do, Anne: Look on the side of the lcd screen and you will see these little slash marks. Make sure when you review footage you line your eyeballs up with the middle slash marks which will put you head-on to the screen which will give you the most honest look at your footage. But like Boyd alluded to: everything looks great on the lcd's.

Good to see you are still shooting. The second pic of the soloist is a great screen grab. When can we see some long-form footage?
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Old April 29th, 2003, 09:47 PM   #5
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Hi Anne,

It sounds to me like perhaps the brightness on your LCD monitor is up too high and not properly representing your true exposure? What camera are you using? If you are using a GL2, refer to page 44 of the users manual to see how to adjust the brightness of the LCD monitor. One way to do this is to activate the internal color bars and hook up the analog video output of the camera to a decent NTSC video monitor. Once you have proerly adjusted and calibrated that NTSC video monitors levels so that it is accurately displaying the color bars
http://www.videouniversity.com/tvbars2.htm, then compare the output of that monitor to the LCD monitor on your camera and adjust the brightness on the LCD monitor as needed so that they match as much as possible. Now, you will have a more "WYSIWYG" image displayed on your LCD monitor on your camera. Once you get over this learning curve adjustment, you should be able to produce more accurate and consistent images with your camera. I know that some Sony handycams have a setting for the LCD panel which makes it extra bright, not a good idea if you want "WYSIWYG". For instance, when I used to shoot with the VX2000/ PD-150, I would back down on the LCD brightness control down to one or two notches, again comparing it to a properly calibrated external NTSC monitor to make sure it was set to the correct brightness level. Once you have set both monitors with color bars, it's a good idea to compare them with some properly lit and exposed footage as well, just to make sure.

Please do write back and let us know how it is working for you,

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Old April 29th, 2003, 10:04 PM   #6
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I noticed the same thing with my Vegas captures also, a lot of them seem darker than they should be. The last was a wedding dance with no light. Aperture open, +15db gain, looks fine in the camera, and when I play to tape, just dark in Vegas. I just lightened it up in post, however, I haven't done any output with it yet. Maybe I'll check my brightness setting on my monitor as well.
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Old April 29th, 2003, 10:16 PM   #7
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I've never seen a camera LCD or a computer monitor give TRUE exposure info. I know that on my 150's the image in the LCD will be brighter than real because I have the LCD set up bright, I know when I capture in V4 OR Scenalyzer it will be dark so when I capture I watch it thru a production monitor. I edit with it also so I don't go and do stupid things thinking my exposure is off and it's not.
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Old April 30th, 2003, 11:40 AM   #8
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It's not the camera giving us false pictures on the lcd, I can play my camera over the tv, and I get pretty much the same quality picture on it. Capture to Vegas, and everything is darker. Yes, I did try upping my monitor brightness, no difference.

Right now, I'm wondering, if I brighten my captured video, in Vegas, will it be too bright on my output? Could there be a setting in Vegas for capture that we are overlooking?
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Old April 30th, 2003, 12:32 PM   #9
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Harry,
Since I've been using Vegas I have noticed that the video seems to be darker in the computer monitor BUT in output while watching my production monitor it looks fine. Actually, there were a few things I might have been able to tone down. One thing I almost always do is the day after an event I rewind the tapes, use a small palmcorder hooked up to my big screen TV and FF thru watching for obvious stuff. The image is fine but on my 150 it always looks a little brighter since I keep the brightness level up on the LCD. Just easier for me to see in the dark. What I'm saying is if it looks good on the TV leave it - a computer monitor is terrible for judging exposure. If I use a different NLE it looks less dark than Vegas but it still prints to tape fine.
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Old April 30th, 2003, 04:43 PM   #10
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Thanks. I think what I'll do, just for peace of mind, is to print one clip to tape from Vegas and see how it looks.
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Old April 30th, 2003, 09:05 PM   #11
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Harry,

I don't use VV4 but I'd guess it has both a software waveform monitor and vectorscope. Use those to set your levels and then confirm your settings on a properly setup video monitor that you know displays SMPTE color bars correctly.

If you don't know how to use a waveform monitor, I think the Tektronix web site still has a decent tutorial on video measurements. I think Video University has an explanation on how to set up a monitor with color bars.

Fundamentally, you won't have control over DV input like you would over analog video. You have to manipulate it in software.
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Old April 30th, 2003, 10:03 PM   #12
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this is quite a common problem and very irritating as it affects stills created in say photoshop and brought into nle, when looked on tv they are brighter!

seems like tv's and computer monitors use different gamma settings

try reducing the gamma on your computer monitor to a setting which compares to what you see on the tv
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Old April 30th, 2003, 10:24 PM   #13
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Yes they do. That's why I was so pleased when Canopus provided an output driver for Photoshop with the last upgrade. Just press a function key and the active window is displayed.

Not faultless but it was a throw-away.

Still, one can automate the conversion of photos for your editing needs and photoshop will run through them very rapidly.

I'm going to move this thread to the PC editing forum as the information is useful to everyone using a PC (or Mac)
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 11:04 AM   #14
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I knew that I could adjust the brightness/contrast in post, no problem there. However, without having tried it yet, if I capture a scene that is not too dark, shows dark in Vegas, lighten it up in Vegas, will it bee too bright in my output back to tape or DVD?
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 05:51 PM   #15
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When I switched to V4 one of the 1st things I did was to capture a clip of a known quality. Something I had captured before in another NLE, run back to tape and was clean, meaning no adjustments to it at all. When I captured it in V4, or by using ScenalyzerLive and put into V4 it appeared dark. I looked at it on my TV monitor and it appeared fine. I ran it back to tape untouched and played it on a 42" tv and the exposure and color appeared fine to me. I take it that V4 gives clips a slightly darker look at least on my equipment, so knowing that I now know what it is I may or may not have to do. I would suggest to anyone who has any doubts about the quality of the output of any NLE to run a small test clip before tackling a big job, you might just save yourself some grief and pain.
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