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Video Tutorial: Maximizing Brightness and Contrast in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6

In this tutorial you'll learn how to maximize the brightness and contrast of your video in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 using the Brightness, Contrast, and Gamma Correction controls for effective and balanced adjustments.

Flickering and the Shadow/Highlight Effect

One other effect that's useful for brightness and contrast adjustments is called the Shadow/Highlight effect (Figure 14, below). I've used this effect for years, and only recently started noticing that with my high-definition footage it was causing flickering. 

Adobe Premiere Pro CS6
Figure 14. The Shadow/Highlight Effect controls

If you look at the Premiere Pro Help file, you'll see that temporal smoothing is supposed to cure flickering. Unfortunately, temporal smoothing is grayed out when you've deselected Auto Amounts, so if you want to customize the effect you can't enable Temporal Smoothing. With Auto Amounts selected, you can enable temporal smoothing, but even after applying temporal smoothing, I continue to notice flickering, which you can see in the tutorial clip at the 7:38 mark.

There's been a lot of discussion about flickering and the Shadow/Highlight effect on Adobe's online boards as well as on Creative COW and other video industry lists. And even knowing all the rules, and knowing that flickering is supposed to go away if you enable Temporal Smoothing, I was unable to make it go away. This is not a huge deal because Gamma does pretty much the same thing, but if you've been using Shadow/Highlight and noticing flickering, I would suggest using Gamma Correction instead.

Before and After

Let's gauge the results of our efforts. The top image in Figure 15 (below) shows the starting point of our video, which looks dingy and clearly lacks contrast in the waveform monitor. In just a couple of minutes, we corrected to the image (and waveform) you see in the bottom half of Figure 15. If you spend a few minutes learning how to use Premiere Pro's Waveform Monitor, you'll wonder how you ever worked without it.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS6
Figure 15. Before (top) and after (bottom)

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