Interview scene: underexposed subject and well-exposed background

theK
theK Posts: 53 Just Starting Out*

So I have this interview to edit, but the lighting conditions were bad.
The subject was in the shade while behind him a well lighted, even slightly overexposed scenery with ocean and trees.
What is the best way to balance it all, and make the foreground to pop up without blowing out the background?
Thanks!

Comments

  • triforcefx
    triforcefx United StatesPosts: 1,566 Moderator

    Perhaps you could show us a screen grab or some footage of the interview? This will most likely require masking parts of the video and adjusting different parts of it separately. Depending on your footage, it might not even be that bad.

  • theK
    theK Posts: 53 Just Starting Out*
    edited March 2020

    @triforcefx Sure! attaching a screenshot: 
    https://ibb.co/305Zg5c

    Regarding the mask - if so, will I have to mask on every movement he makes - meaning different mask on each and every frame?

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,201 Expert

     @theK You may be able to get away with duplicating the footage in a comp on the top layer draw a fairly close but rough mask around the talent. (Add more points than you think you'll need cause they are a pain to add in later) and click the key frame circle for PATH. scrub through the footage and move points as needed to keep the mask fairly tight but not 100%.  Then darken the footage on the bottom layer until the background looks like you want and lighten the talent top layer then use the mask feather tools to blend them to something better than you have and that's acceptable to you. It's the same process triforcefx mentions but not as exacting and probably won't have to be every frame to be acceptable.  Hope that helps you out.

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,995 Just Starting Out

    Your camera compensates for the bright background, that is why your subject is dark. You always want to expose for the subject not the background, you cannot expose for both at once without at least one more light source on your subject. To demonstrate this, point your camera set to auto exposure at a dark wall, it'll turn grey, white wall, it'll turn darker. This is how a digital sensor operates and are the fundamentals of light processing which goes hand in hand with the inverse square law of light.

    HitFilm is not a raw editor and as such even if you happen to have shot raw, you won't be able to recover any detail. By making it darker you'll make it look very unrealistic and a more stylized look which isn't ideal in any professional effort. Create a mask around your subject, feather and add a curve and adjust the brightness to make your subject less dark, and contrast as well if needed.

  • triforcefx
    triforcefx United StatesPosts: 1,566 Moderator

    I actually had a good amount of luck with using Hue, saturation, and lightness by cranking up the shadows and mid tones quite a bit, then adding a bit of contrast and saturation to make the subject appear much less washed out. It’s a bit grainy, but the image looks a lot more balanced. You could combine this with light masking to help it even more, but you could use it with just basic color adjustments if you like.

  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,259 Staff

    Brightening the face of the subject might be all that is needed, and is much quicker and simpler than carefully masking the whole person. Use a grade layer, and an elliptical mask with soft edges to isolate the face, then brighten up the face to draw the viewer's eyes there. Depending how much adjustment is needed, this might work.

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,995 Just Starting Out

     In retrospect, I agree with @AxelWilkinson There's no need to further complicate things when the goal is to just make it useable. The face alone will certainly be enough, because you'd be looking at a very strange shot which will catch the viewers attention if the surrounding objects don't quite match.

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Lord EarthPosts: 3,488 Ambassador

     Otherwise your looking at a mocha track on the subject.

  • theK
    theK Posts: 53 Just Starting Out*

    Thanks guys!
    @CNK well if the mask is tight enough wouldn't it be a well-looking shot? or what do you think?

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,995 Just Starting Out
    edited March 2020

     In theory absolutely. Getting it perfect is harder than it sounds and you may need to spend a lot of time, but honestly just try things. Post the result in screenshot form and we'll 'critique' and aid you in the process.

    But do brighten the entire image before adding the mask. Otherwise what youll see is the same effect you get when shining a flashlight on the subject face, like a shine on a specific part on a printed photo. It wont look good at all. 

    But if its possible to reshoot, then that would be best. If you are the cameraman, think about how light looks to your sensor. To have both the background and subject exposed for, youll want a reflector or a cone light shining on the subject. Right now the background is not exposed for, it looks like about halfway, meanwhile the subject not at all. It doesnt look professional and it looks like its intended to feel a bit professional?