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Old October 6th, 2014, 08:26 PM   #1
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Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

I am an amateur videographer who just shot a wedding for a cousin. I'm pretty pleased with most of my footage except they turned the lights down on me during the first dance and the footage of that section of the wedding came out kind of dark and grainy. I don't have much experience with color correction and such so I am coming here looking for help on how to make this footage look better. I was shooting with two Sony Handycams (XR500 and XR550). I have included an example from each camera. Any help with cleaning these up would be greatly appreciated.
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Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage-first-dance-2-xr500.png   Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage-first-dance-xr550.png  

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Old October 7th, 2014, 05:09 AM   #2
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

You can try Levels and/or Colour Curves but I wouldn't expect too much I'm afraid. On the other hand you may get a copy that is acceptable to those not taking too critical a view of the film. Good Luck.

Richard
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Old October 7th, 2014, 05:16 AM   #3
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

if you don't manage to get it right in Vegas and If you could make a short part available for download I could clean it up and lift the levels so you could see how it looks like, if you like it then I don't mind doing the same for the entire first dance
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Old October 7th, 2014, 05:49 AM   #4
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

Sony Color Curves + Neat Video noise reduction with some sharpening.
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Old October 7th, 2014, 07:02 AM   #5
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

Thanks for the input so far. I've managed to get this footage looking a little better in Vegas, but not as good as I would like it to be. I'm not familiar with all the Fx that can be used here and that's why I came here looking for advice from you who have much more experience than I.

Noa... thanks for the offer. If I can't get it better tonight, I'll make a short clip available for you.
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Old October 7th, 2014, 02:24 PM   #6
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

Hey Brad, I'm not familiar with Vegas at all, but I feel your pain. I'm pretty sure every wedding shooter has been caught out by "lights out" a few times. It's one of those wedding gotchas, like having your camera blocked if you're not expecting everyone to stand up when the bride enters, or not realising that there's multiple sound systems at the reception.

Anyway, here's some quick thoughts:

1. As an alternative to Neat Video: Magic Bullet Denoiser or Dark Energy ... or built-in noise reduction effects. Not sure what Vegas has... If you happen to have After Effects, there's noise reduction in that.

2. Think about black-and-whiting the sequence or otherwise making it styled and non-real somehow. It's dodgy, but might be better than the alternative, and might make any grain look intentional!
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Old October 7th, 2014, 02:55 PM   #7
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
2. Think about black-and-whiting the sequence or otherwise making it styled and non-real somehow. It's dodgy, but might be better than the alternative, and might make any grain look intentional!
This is an interesting idea! The first dance song was "Body and Soul" by Coleman Hawkins. I didn't really know that song or artist, but I did some research and found that it is a jazz piece that was recorded sometime between 1939 and 1956. How fitting that could be. Maybe I'll play with that a bit.

The only problem is that the father/bride dance follows suit (with the same lighting) to a Pink Floyd tune that one would think should be more colorful.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 06:20 PM   #8
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

Ok. Here is my stab at correction using Neat Video and Color Curves. Thoughts? Can I do better? The first is after correction and the second is before. Maybe still a little dark in my opinion.
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Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage-first-dance-xr500-correction-1.png   Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage-first-dance-2-xr500.png  

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Old October 8th, 2014, 11:57 PM   #9
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

IMHO more or less OK. Significantly lighter will become too noisy. Maybe the white part can be a little more contrast. My attempt:
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Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage-first-dance-other-dub.png  
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Old October 9th, 2014, 04:50 AM   #10
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

Two good attempts which probably take you as far as you are likely to go. If the viewer realizes that the lights have been lowered they may well accept these results without thought,

Richard
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Old October 9th, 2014, 04:54 AM   #11
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

I think the above 'tweaked' results are the best you can hope for. Fact is they dimmed the lights. Your cousin will understand this, trust me.

If anything they will be looking at content and the flow of the film over any eye candy. Leave the eye candy for the trailers / highlights.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 05:42 AM   #12
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

This is what I get to make from that one frame
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Old October 9th, 2014, 10:44 AM   #13
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

Thanks for the help folks. I think I am close enough. I'll stop worrying about this small portion of the overall footage and get on with the editing. My first stab at making a wedding video with "decent" equipment and I think I am being a little too picky after watching all the wonderful highlight films on here. I'm sure it will be great.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 11:39 AM   #14
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Re: Need Help With Dark Grainy Footage

I do have a sony xr500 and 520 here that belonged to my father, they are great little camera but a little noisy at high iso's, my cx730 is much cleaner at high iso's but in a situation you described you really need a dslr with a fast lens and even they have limits when it gets too dark where only full frame camera's such as a the 5dIII and especially the sony a7s can cope with almost darkness.
I"m sure the couple will like it regardless.
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