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Windows Movie Maker: Brightening and Darkening Images

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Misty Faucheux•updated: 5/24/2009

Here is a quick tutorial to brightening and darkening images in Windows Movie Maker.

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    Crafting a Product

    Image control is one of the most central parts of post-production. The ability to change the images from what you acquired through filming is an important part of making artistically centered choices about how you want your video to look. Oftentimes you have to restore images that were not up to par because of problems during live production.

    Natural light is almost impossible to get right, and it is often too dark or too bright to look natural. When editing in Windows Movie Maker you can use a simple video effect to fix this production issue.

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    Brightening and Darkening

    When you are working with your Windows Movie Maker project go through and select the video clip you want to alter. Put your clip into the sequence either in the Timeline or Storyboard view. Once here, you can right click on the clip, and select Video Effects. Once the Video Effects menu pops up you can then find the appropriate tool for your brightness issue. The effect second from the top is Brightness. Decrease for darkening the image.

    The third down from the top is Brightness. Increase if you want to brighten it up. Just select the image, press the Add button in the middle, and then the effect will move to the right hand column where the effects on that clip are listed. Once you have done this you can just press the OK button in the lower right hand corner and the clip will be brightened or darkened. You can also add the effect a different way.

    Go to the left hand Movie Tasks bar, and select View Video Effects from under the Edit Movie heading. This will bring up a bunch of icons for Video Effects in the Collections display in the center of the Windows Movie Maker interface. Here you can then just select either Brightness, Decrease or Brightness, Increase and drag and drop it onto the clip in the Timeline.

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    Special Care

    There is only one brightness setting that is added by either effect so make sure that it actually helps the clip before you add it. It is always easier to darken an image than brighten it because their will be a subtle white fog over the image when you try to brighten it.

    Windows Movie Maker does make this process relatively easy but you do not get the kind of control you would get in more advanced non-linear video editing software.