Hi, Creative Cow. When I go to the 'Capture Video' option and record clips from my video camera, the clips come across as much darker than they really are when I see them as clips in Vegas. Then, when I try to lighten them up with an effect, it doesn't look natural. First of all, I am just wondering WHY the clips look darker when imported into Vegas, and what is the BEST way to fix this problem. Thanks.
How are you capturing? If you are capturing from any sort of digital video camera (via FireWire, USB or just copying files off of an HDD or SSD), then what you see is what you get and the apparent darkness is just that: apparent. With digital, you can pull the exact pixels off the camera as-is, so the apparent darkness would then just be a part of the playback device (or your computer monitor). If you are capturing analog video (via RCA, S-Video, component through some sort of capture card/external box), then there may very well be brightness/contrast/color controls that you can adjust on import.
Color correcting and fixing brightness/contrast/dynamic range issues is one of those things that is really easy to do, but very hard to get right. I assume you've found the Brightness/Contrast tool? That's a good start, because it is easy and obvious what those two items do. While the primary Color Corrector seems like overkill (and looks bafflingly confusing at first), start with the Gamma slider: that might be all you need. Bump it up a little at a time and watch the black areas (make sure they don't turn too gray) and the white areas (make sure they don't lose too much detail - although in many situations, you can "sacrifice" the brightest areas (lights, windows, sky) in order to get your subjects looking good)). Very deep topic, but easy to get started.
Also, I know some here love a good challenge: post a screen grab of your source and the real experts here might have some more specific advice on your particular situation.
Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music.
-- Frank Capra -- http://videopia.org
you say the video is dark, but what are you looking at? If you are looking at the computer monitor, maybe your monitor is not properly calibrated. Have you tried rendering out your video and checking it on a tv? You really shouldn't preview or try to do color correction based on what you see in the computer monitor, but you should preview on a tv or production monitor that has been properly calibrated. Chances are that your video is just fine as shot.
There is also a possibility that the clips are that dark because the LCD on your camcorder is too bright. I would connect the camcorder to a TV and play the footage back right from the camera to see what the footage looks like on TV. If it's too dark on TV you need to lower the brightness on your camcorder LCD so that you can trust what it's showing you. If the picture looks fine on your TV then most likely your computer monitors need to be calibrated because they are too dark as others have said.