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Help fixing video with dark subject in front of light background...

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Brandon Martin
Help fixing video with dark subject in front of light background...
on May 27, 2014 at 11:00:16 pm

Let me begin by saying "thank you" in advance. I understand that it would be easy to simply day, "shoot the photog," but I need a quick fix badly, so I'm looking for solutions.

Here's my description of the video: Man sitting at his desk. His face is underexposed, and by that I mean that he appears to be sitting in the dark. In the background, there are windows, which are bright. The room had fluorescent lights, which have caused a burn mark or too on the subject's face/scalp. Additionally, the lens appears to have been a little dirty or dusty and there's a little bit of blur that occurs on the subject's cheek and/or scalp, but it's barely noticeable.

My question (or plea) is:

Can anyone share with me the name of plug-ins or techniques to use to help repair (a) the dark subject in front of the bright windows, (b) the dust on lens, (c) the burn marks from lighting on face/scalp. Finally, does anyone have a good preset plugin suggestion for color correction when there's natural light coming in from windows, but fluorescent light overhead. I tried to white balance on the camera, but the shot still looks odd.

I'd share a link to the footage, but I can't for confidentiality purposes and I'd be quick to reshoot if I had the opportunity, but that will be impossible.

Any help will be much appreciated -- especially in regards to the dark subject in front of the bright Window problem. If there is a better forum for me to post this request in, please let me know. To make matters worse, they're a deadline involved.

Thanks, again...


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Bret Williams
Re: fixing video with dark subject in front of light background...
on May 28, 2014 at 3:46:11 am

The color board should work pretty well for most of this. I'd mask out the person with a combination of square and oval shaped masks. If they move, you can keyframe the masks. You can make exposure adjustments to the inside and outside of the masks, bringing down the windows, and bringing up the face.

You can use additional corrections to correct for white balance.

You might look at slice x from core melt. That gives you the ability to draw more precise masks and track the subject.


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Craig Alan
Re: fixing video with dark subject in front of light background...
on Jun 1, 2014 at 6:00:19 pm

It would be easier to help if you posted a screenshot. I find reframing the shot (transform tool) so you blow up the subject and minimize the overexposed b.g. helps. (But blowing up an underexposed subject often calls attention to the lack of detail in an underexposed image). Then increase the exposure levels while keeping highlights under 100 on the scopes. Then bring back some life using the mid tones puck. Try some of the visual effects built into FC. There might be a look there you like. But there is only so much you can do with bad images. Depending on how critical this is you might want to give it to a pro colorist. FC does have a masking tool but it takes practice to get natural looking results. Keep changes subtle and apply feathering.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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