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Tutorial on How to Lighten Up a Dark Video with Premiere Pro

written by: Avionne Akanbi•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 10/7/2010

Are you frustrated with how your original birthday party or wedding video was shot? Don't be, there is a solution. This tutorial will show you how to lighten up a dark video on Adobe Premiere Pro.

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    Using Adobe Premiere Pro to Lighten Up a Dark Video

    If you have a video that is too dark, all is not lost. This tutorial will show you how to lighten up key parts of any video footage using Adobe Premiere Pro.


    1. Start by importing your dark video clip into the timeline window.

    2. Choose the Video Effects command. Drag the Brightness and Contrast effect into the Clip layer in the Timeline. Then open the effects controls tab in the Preview window by double clicking on the clip. Experiment by playing with the Brightness and Contrast sliders.

    3. If you want to be specific with the effect that will brighten this video, you could use the Fast Color Corrector and apply that to your clip. What the Fast Color Corrector does is balance certain areas of your video clip with the proper lighting. Let's say you have a video of a smiling baby and you want to lighten her face, leaving the background a little darker. You would need color to check the split screen, in the Fast Color Corrector box. Once this is done, move the center arrow in the input levels bar to view the lighting on the face.

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    babygirl vid1 

    4. Drag the Brightness and Contrast plug from your video tab down unto your clip of the smiling girl. A blue line appears across the clip, and this prompts the effects dialogue box to open. Adjust the brightness and contrast sliders to your liking.

    5. Another plug-in that can help you to lighten your dark video is the Topaz plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro. This can be downloaded on Topaz's website.

    6. Let's make sure the clip is de interlaced before using the Topaz filter. To de interlace go to Video Effects>Topaz Enhance> Deinterlace option. Drag this effect on top of your video. Set it to Lower Field first, and now it's ready for the Topaz filter.

    7. On the dialogue box choose DV NTSC and then change the fields to Progressive. Make sure your frame rate is set to 29.9 fps for video or 24 fps for film. For this tutorial, we will have the set the dimensions to 320 by 240.

    8. Name the project select OK. Import the .avi clip by going to the File > Import command and selecting your clip. Now select it and go to Video Options. Set the Field Options to None and ensure that the frame blend is off. Select the quality button and choose the Highest quality. Now you are ready to apply the Topaz filter to lighten the video.babygirl vid2 

    9. Drag the .avi into your Timeline. Let's brighten up the clip, focusing on the baby's face in the foreground. Select Video Effects>Adjust>Levels and put this effect on your video layer. Brighten up the image with the image sliders, experiment until it fits your liking.

    So there you have it, you have successfully brightened up the baby's smile in this video with two key tools from Adobe Premiere Pro. Now you can breathe a sigh of relief, and use any of these tools to brighten up any video footage or scene.