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Cleaning up a washed out video (from bright back lighting)

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Justin Toney
Cleaning up a washed out video (from bright back lighting)
on Oct 16, 2017 at 8:08:37 pm

I was forced to film an interview over a bright backdrop, inside a building. The subject was in an office and his window was behind him. Of course we tried everything to get out of that area but there was nothing I could do except light as much as I could and hope for the best.

Well now I have to put this interview together and I need your help on what I can do to make this look better. In the image you can see there isn't contrast at all. I know I could probably do something in after effects or maybe keyframe a mask and make the adjustments but that takes too much time. Maybe a plugin exists or some other technique?





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Mark Suszko
Re: Cleaning up a washed out video (from bright back lighting)
on Oct 16, 2017 at 8:21:37 pm

The best thing would have been to get an HMI light in there at the shoot time, so your inside light and exterior were both at the same level and color temp. Or, You should have gelled the window, which can be hard to do on a tall building with big windows.... I have a trick for these situations that often helps, but you have to do this during the shoot: Lock down the camera on a wide shot and shoot with the talent lit well and let the window either blow out, or mask it with paper, green screen cloth, anything, really. Next, take out the talent and their chair, shoot the same locked-off shot but now exposing only for the window view. Stack these two or more tracks and adjust composite modes and/or mask/crop the window, layer, and you get what the eye is expecting: well-lit interior with visible exterior.


You can't go back time to do that now, but you CAN play with stacking multiple identical video tracks and adjusting the blending (composite) modes and the opacity of each layer, as you apply color correction independently. And you still may have to do a multi-point mask, or even a sky replacement on the window, using keying and/or motion tracking... depends on the shot. The bottom line is: this will look better if you can adjust the talent's color grade independent of the window view's grade.


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Justin Toney
Re: Cleaning up a washed out video (from bright back lighting)
on Oct 16, 2017 at 8:32:38 pm

I actually don't own enough lighting to do this properly. I managed to keyframe a mask, but that always looks horrible. The color correction made everything grainy, I guess I have to live with this.



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greg janza
Re: Cleaning up a washed out video (from bright back lighting)
on Oct 16, 2017 at 9:04:11 pm

another option is to make use of the secondary color correction tool. Your subject looks to be significantly different lighting than the window so it should be easy to isolate just the window light and manipulate color correction tools to bring it more into line with the rest of the image.

I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles


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Justin Toney
Re: Cleaning up a washed out video (from bright back lighting)
on Oct 17, 2017 at 5:59:30 am

Its the fact that the window lighting is so bad, and I knew this when I set up the shot. The blinds on the window don't work and I didn't know till it was time to film and by then it was too late. I got it in the ballpark, used lumetri color in after effects and masked everything in the area. Key framed most of it, now to do the rest in the morning. Oh and its due by 2pm central time.



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andy patterson
Re: Cleaning up a washed out video (from bright back lighting)
on Oct 17, 2017 at 6:36:57 am

[Mark Suszko] "
You can't go back time to do that now, but you CAN play with stacking multiple identical video tracks and adjusting the blending (composite) modes and the opacity of each layer, as you apply color correction independently."


I agree. I use the multiply option a lot but blend might also work. Sometimes I can create gradients with the titling tool that help darken a certain portions of the composition.


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