PapaJohn's Newsletter #35 - Jan 8, 2005
Maker 2 and Photo Story
What can you do if your video footage is so dark it doesn't
seem to be usable?... it was the end of the wedding reception party and time for
'the last dance', and the lights were down to the
lowest of the low . I knew my Hi8 camcorder would take much
better video in low light than my digital, but
its batteries were drained... so I shot the dance with
the digital, which is really poor in low light.
I was thinking that bad footage might be better than no
footage... at least I'd be recording the audio which I could put
together with some snapshots in a Photo Story... and I
can toss the poor video to the editor. Maybe he can fix
it (yes, I'm the shooter and the editor)!!
I'd been rolling out the videos to the bride and grooms
website... after most were finished, the bride asked '...do you have
video of the last dance?...". Sure, I'm working on it :)
Take a look at the challenge. Here's a link to the first minute of the scene, the dark raw footage (almost raw - it's an unedited WMV file made
from the DV-AVI capture clip).
I remember how great it was to get Adobe PhotoShop with its
'Levels' adjustment feature to work on still pictures. Adobe Premiere also
includes a 'Levels' feature... and so does some other software.
The feature is kind of an all-in-one tool for
adjusting brightness, contrast and colors. My wife Bernadette
uses 'levels adjustments' all the time in her Photoshop work, but I rarely
go to it.
Being somewhat color impaired I tend to skirt
around color issues, and I don't trust my color judgment when I
Jumping ahead to the conclusion, here's a link to the happy
ending, the last dance scene on the couple's website... and the VCR tapes, and
It's a pretty dramatic before and after situation.
Movie Maker has brightness and contrast effects... but I
opted to take the footage over to Premiere 6.0 to make the adjustments with its
levels adjustment feature.
After importing the adjusted footage back into Movie Maker,
I added a sepia tone effect to the final edited video, giving it
a bit more of an old time, end of the party mood... and to hide any of the
off-colors I can't see very well.
For the newsletter, let's explore this footage and how to do the
adjustment. We'll see what we can do with brightness and contrast
effects in Movie Maker, step through the process of levels adjustment in Adobe
Premiere 6.0, and then look at a few other options in
our video utility toolboxes. There are adjustment features
Rad Video Tools
If you want to compare what you can do with the footage to
what I ended up with, you're welcome to download the online copy of
the dark file. If you make it better than the one on the website, send a
copy so I can upgrade it.
... before getting into the
adjustments, a couple notes about things
• This newsletter aligns a bit with the book chapter I'm
working on about
world of Virtual Dub... the Levels adjustment is one of its
standard video filters. If it works as well as Premiere and that's all you
need to fix in a video, its a much more cost-effective option. I have a feeling
it might even be easier to get better results using Virtual