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Old Oct 31, 2011, 12:25 AM   #1
Gator24765
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Video in dark room: How to brighten up picture and not lose quality

I have video of a wedding reception and I am putting together a bit of a video for the bride and groom. The reception hall was a bit dark and the lighting was poor. What can I do in FCP to brighten up the picture without losing quality and getting grainy

Thanks.
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 02:20 AM   #2
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I've had to tackle this very same problem before and unfortunately there's not a whole lot you can do; Depending on the codec and just how far underexposed you are will dictate how far you can push your blacks; In doing so, you will introduce noise, however, I've had varying degrees of success using Magic Bullet's Denoiser, which applies a subtle blur over the entire image. Out of the box it does a decent job, however, you run the risk of blurring out people's facial features on close ups, like eyebrows, if you aren't careful.

In the future this is something you really need to speak with the couple beforehand, as well as with the wedding coordinator in so that they understand that while turning down the lights adds to more of an intimate setting, they run the risk of a dark image during the reception portion of their DVD/Blu-Ray. This is all predicated that you're being paid for the work, of course

Were you using any gain when shooting?
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 02:38 AM   #3
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Everything else looks great. It was once the lights were turned off when the dancing started.. First dance, speeches, cake cutting etc all look great.

The lights were almost completely off in the reception hall for the last hour or two when it was all dancing and drinks flowing. So on my camera, there are a few clips that are dark.. just need to brighten them up.
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 07:34 AM   #4
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If you are running into trouble with noise, give Neat Video a try.
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 09:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Gator24765 View Post
I have video of a wedding reception and I am putting together a bit of a video for the bride and groom. The reception hall was a bit dark and the lighting was poor. What can I do in FCP to brighten up the picture without losing quality and getting grainy

Thanks.
Make sure you have you have an external calibrated television monitor attached to FCP before doing any adjustments. You may over brighten the video and make it look washed out. Use a firewire device or HD-SDI capture card if you have one to connect the television. Your computer monitor will not reflect what the finished video will look like.
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 11:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Gator24765 View Post
I have video of a wedding reception and I am putting together a bit of a video for the bride and groom. The reception hall was a bit dark and the lighting was poor. What can I do in FCP to brighten up the picture without losing quality and getting grainy

Thanks.
you can't, you can only mitigate the noise to a degree, some plugins were already mentioned. You can increase the overall exposure or play with the dark, mid and high's independently to get a brighter picture but you can't recover information that isn't there.

you could convert to b/w for the dark portion of the video. people tend to accept grain more in b/w and a lot of color is lost in low-light anyways.
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 11:33 AM   #7
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In 3 way color correction filter, bring up your midtones and highlights - experiment with what will work. Maybe bring the blacks down to keep them from getting noisy. Sometimes doubling the video - putting same clip on V1 & V2, putting V2 at 50% opacity and playing with 3 way CC can bring out some detail. Noise reduction mentioned in other responses may help as well.
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 06:05 PM   #8
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In 3 way color correction filter, bring up your midtones and highlights - experiment with what will work. Maybe bring the blacks down to keep them from getting noisy. Sometimes doubling the video - putting same clip on V1 & V2, putting V2 at 50% opacity and playing with 3 way CC can bring out some detail. Noise reduction mentioned in other responses may help as well.
^^That. In FCP X when I go over to color correction > exposure, I find blatantly jacking up the brightness to be pretty nasty, I mean that is just my experience with H.264 which is pretty crappy compared to RAW photo stuff...though DSLR's (if thats what you used) or anything with a large sensor seam to assist with low light. If you play with things like getting rid of contrast, highlight, etc. you can really lighten up some dark pictures but at the same time you might loose that "film" look or whatever look you might be going for...I'd give a kidney if Canon would make some RAW video format even if I had to pay $50 to install it then transcode some god awful file size to an even more god awful ProRes file size...lol
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