How to fix overexposed footage?

Hi all,
I got an overexposed footage from a comedy show: shot
As you can see, because of the stage lights, the people turned out over exposed, with a lot of white on them and almost no details.

my camera is sony a7sii.
is there any way to save it? guide me through the steps please :)


  • If the detail isn't there, there's nothing you can do. Try a Curves or Exposure effect.

  • @theK ; I'm afraid I must agree with inScapeDigital's assessment. Those effects would be your only hope.  Fortunately, they are keyframable for when you zoom in.

      That is the live stage video problem I have mentioned in a couple of other threads.  I thought as video cameras got better since the 80s it would get better but alas no.  I think it's due to the auto iris opening wide because of the dark theater around the stage because I've noticed when I would zoom in so the lighted area filled the view it's looks proper.  So my wishlist when looking at cameras is a manual override on focus and iris.  Takes a lot more attention when filming though :(

  • Unfortunately there's nothing you can do. Curves/exposure will lower than blown out white with no details to dull grey with no details. The information is gone. 

    Unfortunately (and I've been a broadcast cameraman for ten years) DSLR and Mirrorless cameras aren't suitable for stage work. The controls aren't there for the fast and smooth real time aperture adjustment that work needs. For "filmic" work they're great, but concerts and stage events are still the domain of the video camera with manual dials. 

    For future reference you'll need to be in a manual mode and make friends with the light guys to see if they can show you the stage look with a person on stage to try to set levels first. Get as fast as you can on aperture changes. 

    Understand that exposing for clean highlights means you'll probably crush shadows. Even a wide exposure range camera like a Sony A-series pales compared to the human eye. Stage lighting is a pain... 

    You should invest in a true cine lens with clickless aperture for this kind of work. Unfortunately those are expensive as zooms. Rokinon makes great cheap primes, but those don't zoom.

    Wish I had better news for you. Future looking advice is the best I can do. 

  • Why not use two cameras, one with a low aperture setting and one with an auto, and merge the two using overlays.  Need to get them perfectly aligned and there'll be some adjustments to make in compositing, but you might get a better result without spending huge amounts of cash.

    Just a thought and feel free to criticise the idea if it's not feasible.

  • @Hitfilmer18240 the issue is, to have perfect alignment of cameras you'd need a rig to split a single lens to two cameras. These exist, but those I know of cost $10,000. Not counting the cameras. 

    But good idea! 

  •  @Hitfilmer18240 ; My workaround from years ago doing the high school and community theater shows of my daughters was to  use two separate cameras from totally different locations and have one with a manual iris set up to do the wide shots and the other doing medium close to extreme closeup shot.  Then using the equipment at the time which was basically 2 VCR decks edit it together.  Hitfilm came along about 30 years too late for me in those endeavors and would have been a miracle from Heaven just for the editing alone...  Of course, that set up required two people working cameras and if I didn't have them I set the manual Iris one up for a decent stage wide shot and walked away from it.  Any glitches of people standing in the way and whatnot were replaceable with the close camera if needed.  I sure couldn't and still can't afford the kind of equipment Triem23 mentioned and, I daresay, most of us are in that boat, but good info to have in the head.

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