Easy Two-Step Fix for Underexposed Footage

December 14, 2017 / dwadmin

Have you ever heard that it is better to shoot underexposed than to risk overexposing your footage and losing all the data in the shot?


It’s true. Overexposing can completely ruin all your hard work, and it is almost impossible to recover the lost data in the footage.


Let’s talk underexposure.


The idea of shooting the perfect exposure every time is great, but reality is that you will have to color correct your footage when editing and it is better to be safe than sorry.


I’m not saying that you should turn your exposure down all the way down to -4 when shooting, but by lowering it by at least 1 stop will prevent you from accidentally overexposing all of your hard work.


What about if your shooting in Auto?


Most DSLR’s are quite advanced and do a great job of getting the right exposure, but one of their biggest flaws is that they usually underexpose most skin types. People with light skin types usually are dark and muddy. To the naked eye of non-photographers or non-videographers, they probably still look ok, but we all know that with little adjustments, they can look 100% better.

Notice that the face is brighter and more lit up. It is almost like they are glowing without feeling unrealistic.


So how do you easily fix underexposure?


Everyone has their own way for color correcting their footage, and I’m not saying anyone’s way is better than another’s. But a few years ago, I came across an article by http://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/ that shared her way of fixing underexposure, and I’ve been using it ever since.


It basically comes down to 2 steps: Levels & Vibrancy


That is it!


It is the difference between this: Underexposed Footage

& this!

Underexposed Footage - Fixed




  • Meet the ends of both the black and white to where the graph shows the data starting on each side.
  • Then, bring the mids towards to blacks until the face is bright and some of the colors lose their saturation.
    • You might have to play with this a bit, after doing it a few times you get a feel for where the mids should stay.


  • Bring the vibrancy up until the color has been restored.
    • Note that bringing them up too much can make the image look oversaturated and fake.
    • This is a good time to go back to the levels and find a better mid-point if the photo still looks too washed out.


That is it!


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