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Old June 28th, 2010, 05:09 PM   #1
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It's toooooo Dark.

I have some footage that is too dark. Is there ANY way to brighten it up?

Help save my project!!!! Please!
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Old June 28th, 2010, 05:17 PM   #2
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Almost every NLE has "brightness" and "contrast"controls that affect how the exposure levels captured to tape are mapped to the pixels in your final.

The issue, however, is that if not enough light was allowed to hit the sensor in the first place, then nothing one can do electronically can get picture information from a pixel that was recorded as solid black (having no luminance or chroma information present).

The best you can do is try it and see if there's enough underlying information so that those controls can help.

Good luck.
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Old June 29th, 2010, 12:24 AM   #3
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Lightrays in FCP can boost a shot from darkness to light - although it always creates noise.

Set the rays i think it is to 0.1 to get rid of the "ray" factor then adjust the glow to the amount of light you need.

Only use it as a last resort.
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Old June 29th, 2010, 06:19 AM   #4
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Obviously the reshoot filter is the best answer but that probably isn't available so the next best answer is "it depends on the software you are using" As stated most NLEs have a brightness-contrast FX but I would hate to use it. Try lifting the Gamma a bit, it could be in the Color Corrector FX or the Levels FX depending on the NLE you use but keep in mind there will be very little you can do to fix it without causing other challenges to the images. When I am given footage like that, I seek the middle ground do what I can and move on. That's about all you can do.
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Old June 29th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #5
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When you raise the gain (luminance level) of a video signal underexposed the underlying noise is also increased so there is not perfect solution for your problem.
Your best bet (depending if your system color correction can do it) is to work on gammas and levels to the low and middle tones isolated.
If the concept allows for visual effects to those images you can try to mask some noise created for your manipulations applying a small amount of glow. Then also experiment with some overlays and further color corrections, but not solution for this will be perfect.
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Old June 29th, 2010, 08:34 PM   #6
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The other posters are right, Kat. You can play around with some filters, but ultimately, the only way to fully fix the image would be to re-shoot with either better lighting, a wider aperture, a slower shutter speed, or a combination of all three.
Usually I avoid using filters for brightening the image unless it's only to make it just a LITTLE brighter (like to match the lighting of another shot for example). The reason I'm always so hesitant to use filters to brighten the image is because it has a tendency of making the image kind of murky. Although this can usually be fixed by adjusting the contrast, you often end up loosing what little detail you had in the blacks and whites to begin with (if there was any at all). I think your best bet would be to adjust the contrast using a "levels" filter, which would allow you to control the amount of contrast on different areas of the tonal scale.
With a lot of time and care, you may end up with something decent (if the camera captured enough information in the first place), but keep in mind that you will probably need to make adjustments for every shot in the scene which can be very time consuming.
If you see that the image isn't going to come out too good, it might be more worthwhile to spend time reshooting to get a perfect image, rather than spend time to get crappy one.
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