How to Fix Exposure While Editing Video in Premiere Pro, iMovie & Final Cut Pro X

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## Full Transcript

If you sit down to edit your video and it looks too dark or too bright, you can usually fix it in post. In this video I’ll describe how to fix your video’s exposure while editing in Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro and iMovie.

In last week’s video I covered how to fix exposure while shooting videos, but if it still isn’t quite right when you’re editing it, I’m going to show you how. And if you’re using different video editing software than the ones I’m showing, the fundamentals are the same, so just keep watching and apply them to your app of choice.

Let’s say you’ve shot some footage and while editing you realize it is over or underexposed. Not to worry, it can still be fixed. Yes, ideally you would properly expose your image while recording and you’ll get the best looking results from doing so, but it can be fixed in post.

First, let’s look at how to do it in iMovie.

With your clip down in the timeline, click the color correction button that looks like Bob Ross’s painter pallet. This opens up three sliders. The one on the left controls exposure and contrast, the middle one controls saturation and the far right controls white balance. For now we’ll just focus on the left one.

From left to right, the dots control shadows, contrast, brightness, contrast again, and the highlights. Adjust them as needed to properly exposed your image.

In Final Cut Pro X you get more control because you can use a waveform monitor to finetune your corrections.

With your clip selected, open the inspector by pressing command 4. Then under the video tab, click the arrow to the right of “correction 1” and click over to the exposure tab. Next go to the window dropdown menu, select show video scopes, make sure the display shows waveforms, and the channels are RGB parade.

Now you can adjust the exposure controls on the right to get your waveform properly balanced between 0 and 100. I would usually adjust the global control up until my highlights are close to 100 and then adjust the shadows down until they are close to zero.

In Adobe Premiere Pro, you get even better controls, though not as simplified.

With the video clip in the timeline selected or the original video file in the media browser opened in the source monitor, open the effects tab. Under Video Effects & Color Correction select Brightness & Contrast. You’ll also want open the reference monitor which can be done by selecting window, then reference monitor. Once that is open, right click it and under display mode select RGB parade.

Now, adjust the brightness up or down until the top of the parade is close to 100. Then, adjust the contrast up a little until the parade reaches close to 10 or so at the bottom. Go back and forth until your parade is centered throughout most of the graph AND you have a visually pleasing image in your source or program monitor (meaning, don’t go too far on the contrast side of things).

Now, there are more complicated and precise ways of fixing exposure while editing a video, but that will get you 90% of the way to a more pleasing and better balanced image.

If you’re still shooting in automatic mode or a trying to get the hang off how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all work together to properly expose an image, you can get my free ebook called Understanding the Exposure Triangle, that walks through exactly how to start using your camera in manual mode.

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