I want to dim the blown out windows in the background without changing the whole picture. Not sure how to isolate the background from the foreground in terms of exposure and adjustments. I'm working in Premiere Pro CS6.
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Michael_ThatcherHave you already shot the video? If you haven't, shoot it so that the windows are exposed properly. If you look at your histogram you want to make sure you aren't underexposing or overexposing anything.
Then in post production you can pull the whites down while you bring the mids and the blacks up.
If you have already shot it then you can do the same thing of whites down while you bring the mids and the blacks up but you are going to lose detail in the windows (since it was already overexposed)
j-calIf you have not shot it.... dont simply expose for the windows. then your key subject will be underexposed.... unless you want that look. If you have not shot it add light to your scene to effectively shoot the way you want. If you dont have access to lights try a reflector and bounce the light from the window to your subject. You can find cheap reflective foam at home depot and a cheap shower curtain for diffusion.
Michael_ThatcherI don't think he is trying to take a photo though. If you were taking a photo your advice would work excellent for him. He wants to have a video. What makes you think there is something wrong with underexposing the interior and then bringing the levels up in post?
KellyKThe way he described is the better way to do it. Shoot it right, edit less.
If it's a still shot this will be way easier to do. You can create a matte over the blown out area and adjust the exposure specifically for that region. Google it, you'll find some tutorials.
Michael_ThatcherThe way he described isn't the best way to do it. The best way to do it would be to buy a window film or gel that goes over the window to reduce the light that passes through. That way both the outdoors and indoors can be properly exposed.
Also, creating a matte over the window isn't going to be very effective. Assuming he is using some sort of DSLR (I'm not sure what he is using) then his camera is gonna capture approximately 10% higher than 100 IRE (broadcast safe white). A properly exposed room will have a window with a white value much higher than 110 IRE. This means he will lose almost all detail of what is coming through the window.
By balancing the exposure between the window and the room, a simple adjustment of levels in post can create a usable shot (obviously not as good as using a window film, but likely good enough in this case).
ForcilloWhen you say "fix it in post" in film production, you're doing it wrong.
What j-cal said is the correct way to compensate for overexposed backgrounds. You need to be able to use artificial lights to get the environment you want on set. Putting a silk over a window is effective when the window isn't in the shot, and I'm gonna categorize whatever "window film" is with a standard silk. Never diffuse light that's in frame when it can be avoided, such as in this situation. And about all that nonsense about IRE, you're just saying that the windows will be blown out. We already knew that.
OP, either bounce light onto the foreground or use a fill light to balance it. Don't EVER say "I'll fix it in post".
Michael_ThatcherWell first of all it seems as though OP has already filmed it. Hence I guess he has to fix it in post. I never said fixing it in post is always the best option, as you seem to think. There's nothing wrong with fixing things in post. What makes you think something is wrong with that? Sometimes you can't film it right when you are in the field so you have to make corrections in post (could be because of time, money, location, etc.).
Sorry I wasn't clear from before on what I meant by putting a film over the window. I was referring to a neutral density gel that you can get/ Here is an excerpt from a colorist:
One of the biggest challenges facing colorists is what to do about a blown-out window. If the exterior image detail was really important to the scene, the cinematographer should have arranged to fit a neutral density gel in front of it to cut down the amount of light to match the overall exposure of the scene. If that wasn't done, you'll have to decide whether to lighten the subject and let the window become overexposed, or try to correct the window separately using an HSL qualification or shape mask.
He then offers a way to fix the situation if it wasn't properly exposed to begin with:
You can legalize overexposed highlights by lowering the Highlights/Gain contrast control. We need to bring the highlights well under 100 percent/IRE (700 mV) so that we can put some saturation in without running into the "no saturation at 100 percent." Lowering the highlights to 90–95 percent/IRE should do the trick. If necessary, raise the midtones using the Midtones/Gamma control to compensate for any darkening of the image caused by reducing highlight brightness.
As far as the stuff I was saying about IRE, the person posting that may not know it so I thought I would include it. You clearly disregard the fact that a camera can capture up to 110 IRE, leaving some detail in the highlights if you just barely expose the windows. You're missing my whole point about explaining IRE.
pussyfooterEverything you're talking about would be great if you shot RAW. But I'm assuming OP has h264 files or AVCHD files where the best solution is to shoot it right and edit less.
Michael_ThatcherWhile shooting RAW would be advantageous, Van Hurkman's book which I quoted from splits the situation into 2 different ones. One for using RAW, the other for using something like AVCHD/h264. I quoted the part about using compressed formats:
If you don't have the advantage of working with a RAW color space format, the following is an easy fix that you might be able to get away with if the overexposed area isn't too large...
He then goes on to talk about what I quoted above.
For using RAW he talks about adjusting ISO and using a power mask to properly expose the interior and exterior.
pussyfooterSure it's a solution, it doesn't mean it's a good one. Doing any significant corrections to a compressed format never turns out well.
Michael_ThatcherAnd I already offered the best solution of using a ND filter on the window. It's the best way to control the scene because you can light the room how you want and not have to worry about the exposure of the window.
gordie.Sorry to be nitpicky but I see this is being posted a lot in here, throwing ND up on a blown out window is not the best option, unless it's all you've got. Best option is to properly control a light going in through the window. Main reason is you no longer have the risk of cloud cover changing and ruining your exposure inside. Important thing to consider when lighting a room with natural light coming in- the sun will rarely be your friend on set