How to Brighten a Video: Best Ways

Edited by Ben Stockton

September 14, 2021

If the lighting on a video is poor, it doesn’t matter how good the camera resolution is. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to get the right settings on your video camera or smartphone to improve this – there are plenty to choose from, after all. If you’re struggling, you can use a video editor to brighten dark videos quickly afterwards.

If you’re wondering how to brighten a video, and you don’t know which tool to use, this guide will explain how and what tools to use. Here’s a quick shortlist of some video lightening editors you can use to get you started.

Program

OS

Movavi ClipsiOS, Android
InShotiOS, Android
Movavi Video Editor PlusWindows, macOS
iMoviemacOS
VLCWindows, macOS, Linux
Adobe® Premiere® ProWindows, macOS

How to brighten a video on iPhone and Android

Rather than upload your photos to a PC or Mac, you can brighten dark videos on the go using your iPhone or Android smartphone using an app. There are no software with free download options, such as online video editors, that will work as well as tools like Movavi Clips and InShot do on your smartphone.

Movavi Clips

Movavi Clips is an advanced, powerful, but easy-to-use video editor for your smartphone. It brings the power of Movavi’s desktop editor to mobile devices, allowing you to crop and rotate videos, as well as brighten videos, add text or image filters, insert music tracks, and more.

You can save your video or export it directly to social media, allowing your friends and family to quickly view your changes. Movavi Clips is free to use (with some limitations), but you can try all paid features with a built-in free, three-day trial.

If you want to fix the video brightness using Movavi Clips and brighten videos on iPhone and Android devices, here’s what you’ll need to do.

Step 1. Download and install Movavi Clips

Before you begin, download and install the Movavi Clips app from the Google Play or Apple App Store using the links below.

Download Movavi Clips for iOS

Download Movavi Clips for Android

Step 2. Select the video file for editing

After installing Movavi Clips, launch the app and tap the Plus icon at the bottom to select your video clip. If necessary, grant the app the necessary permissions to access your local video files.

Step 3. Adjust the video brightness

In the main video editing menu, swipe right through the various tools, then tap Filter. From there, select Adjustments from the options, then choose Brightness.

Using your finger, move the Brightness slider right to increase the brightness or left to decrease it. If you’re happy with the video preview above, tap the tick icon to save your choice.

Step 4. Save your video

Adjust your video further using Movavi Clips’ extensive video editing tools, if you need to. If you’re happy with the video brightening, you can save the video by pressing the Save button in the top right.

You can preview your video one last time in the Saving your video menu before tapping the Save button at the bottom. If you don’t have a premium subscription, you may see a watermark applied to your video in the bottom-right corner of the video file.

InShot

InShot is an alternative video editing app for iPhone, iPad, and Android users. It has a number of professional-grade features that allow you to cut up, trim, merge, and alter your video clips. You can also apply custom transitions, filters, audio tracks, text, and more.

InShot is made for social media lovers. It allows you to quickly pick up your video snaps, edit them, and then post them to your TikTok or Instagram accounts. It’s free to use, although some transitions and effects require an in-app subscription.

If you want to use InShot to brighten a video on iPhone and Android devices, here’s what you’ll need to do.

1. Download and install InShot

You’ll need to start by downloading and installing InShot on your Android, iPhone, or iPad device using the links below.

Download InShot for iOS

Download InShot for Android

2. Select the video clip for editing

Once the InShot app is installed, open it on your device and press Video to select a video clip to edit. Using the on-screen menu, choose a video file (or files) to edit, then press the green tick icon in the bottom-right.

3. Adjust the video brightness

The video clip (or clips) you selected will appear in the edit menu. To brighten the video using InShot, tap Filter, then Adjust using the carousel options at the bottom.

Make sure the Lightness slider is selected by tapping the icon. Using your finger, move the Lightness slider to the right to increase the video brightness. If you need to decrease the brightness, move the slider left instead.

When you’re ready to save your changes, tap the tick icon directly above the slider twice to return to the main editing menu.

4. Adjust the video brightness

In the main editing menu, you can make further changes to your video clip (such as trim the video, apply text or music, etc). If you’re happy to save the brightened video clip, press Save in the top-right.

You’ll need to choose the resolution and frame rate you’d like to use for your video clip, with the estimated file size listed beneath. Make any additional changes (or leave the settings intact), then tap Save again to save the edited video clip.

How to lighten a video with Movavi Video Editor Plus

One of the best ways to lighten a video on a Mac or Windows PC is to use Movavi Video Editor Plus. Professional-grade features in a beginner-friendly interface, Movavi Video Editor Plus can help you create the videos you need with ease – no difficult-to-understand features or user interfaces to decipher here.

Movavi Video Editor Plus will let you brighten your video clips in just a few clicks. It can crop, rotate, and trim your video files, or you can apply transition and filter effects, custom music tracks, Instagram-friendly stickers, and more. Whether you’re a beginner or pro, Movavi Video Editor Plus is the perfect tool for video editors, and you can try it free with a 7-day trial.

If you’re unsure how to lighten a video, Movavi Video Editor Plus will get the job done quickly on Windows or Mac. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Step 1. Download and install Movavi Video Editor Plus

Start by downloading the Movavi Video Editor Plus installation file on your Windows PC or Mac.

Once you’ve downloaded the installation file, open the file and follow any on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

Step 2. Add a video clip to brighten up

Open Movavi Video Editor Plus once the installation is complete. Drag your video file into the File import section to open it, or press Add Files to select it manually.

The video file will appear in the Media Bin – drag and drop the file into the Timeline section at the bottom of the window to open it for editing.

Step 3. Adjust the video brightness

To adjust the brightness, press the Color Adjustments icon above the Timeline section. Press Magic Enhance to automatically improve the video’s brightness and contrast levels or select the Advanced tab to change these settings manually.

In the Advanced tab, move the Brightness and Contrast sliders towards the right to increase those settings, or left to decrease them. Make any additional changes to your video’s color settings (such as saturation and tint levels) as required.

Step 4. Save the edited video

When you’re ready to save the video, press the Export button. Confirm your file output settings, including the video title, resolution, quality, and file type, then press Start to save the video.

How to make a video clearer on a Mac

While Movavi Video Editor Plus is one of the best tools available to brighten a video on a Mac, you can also use the built-in iMovie app to do this. iMovie is Apple’s free video editing tool and although it’s limited in features, it does allow you to improve the brightness on darker video clips.

iMovie should come with your Mac but, if it isn’t installed, you can download the software for free using the link below.

Download iMovie

If you want to know how to make a video clearer and brighter using iMovie on a Mac, here’s what you’ll need to do.

1. Open a video clip in iMovie

To start, open iMovie on your Mac and press Create New > Movie to create a new video editing project. Press Import Media to insert a video clip into your iMovie project.

Make sure to drag and drop the inserted video clip into the Timeline section at the bottom afterwards.

2. Adjust the video brightness

With the video clip selected, you can automatically adjust your video’s brightness and other color settings by pressing the Color Balance button above the video preview, then pressing the Auto button.

Otherwise, press the Color Correction button next to it to change your brightness and contrast settings manually, then move the various sliders in the multi-slider panel on the right to increase the brightness and contrast. If you want to decrease these values, move the sliders to the left instead.

3. Save the video

Once you’ve edited the video, you’ll need to save it. To do this, press Share > Export File in the top right.

In the File window that appears, confirm your file resolution, format, quality, and compression settings, then press Next to continue. You’ll need to choose a file name and save location for your clip, then press Save to save the edited file.

How to brighten dark videos for free in VLC

If you’re struggling to use a video editor, you may be able to brighten dark videos quickly using the popular VLC video player. Freely available for Windows 10 and Mac users, VLC is the go-to player for playing almost every type of video file imaginable.

Lesser known, however, is VLC’s tools for tweaking videos during playback. If you’re struggling to see a dark video in VLC, you can increase the brightness and contrast levels in the settings menu. You can download VLC by following one of the links below.

Download VLC for Windows

Download VLC for Mac

Download VLC for other operating systems

If you want to brighten dark videos for free in VLC, here’s what you’ll need to do.

1. Open a video file in VLC

To start, open your video file in VLC by pressing File > Open File.

2. Adjust the brightness settings

Once you’ve opened the video, you’ll need to open VLC’s settings menu to change the brightness and contrast.

On a Windows PC, press Tools from the menu bar, then press Effects and Filters. In the Preferences window, select Video Effects > Essentials, make sure that the Image adjust checkbox is selected, then move the Brightness and Contrast sliders to the right to increase their values (or left to decrease them).

On a Mac, press VLC > Preferences in the menu bar. In the Preferences menu, press Video > Show All to view all of the video settings. From the side-menu, select Video > Filters > Image adjust, then increase the Image contrast and Image brightness values to increase those settings (or decrease them, if you prefer).

3. Save the settings

Once you’ve applied the brightness changes to your VLC settings, press Close (on Windows) or Save (on Mac).

If the change is successful, VLC should make a dark video more visible with increased brightness and contrast settings as your video plays.

How to use Adobe® Premiere® Pro – a professional video brightener

If you’re a Hollywood filmmaker, TV producer, YouTube content creator, or another type of video creating professional, you’ll probably have Adobe® Premiere® Pro in your video editing arsenal.

This powerful video editor supports almost any feature you can imagine needing, from basic crops and trims to complex 3D transitions and effects, with support for up to 8K video and VR support included. It’s complex, it’s powerful, and if you need it to enhance a video to make it lighter, Adobe® Premiere® Pro can do that, too.

If you want to brighten a video using Adobe® Premiere® Pro, here’s what you’ll need to do.

Download Adobe® Premiere® Pro

1. Open your video in Adobe® Premiere® Pro

To begin, open your video clip and make sure it’s visible in the Timeline section at the bottom of Adobe® Premiere® Pro’s interface.

Once you’ve inserted the clip, make sure to select it in the Timeline section to make changes.

2. Adjust the brightness settings

With the clip selected, press Effects in the menu to the right of the Timeline section. From there, press Video Effects > Color Correction > Brightness and Contrast. Drag the Brightness and Contrast effect and drop it onto the selected video track in the Timeline section.

This will allow you to make changes to the brightness and contrast levels in your video clip, using Adobe® Premiere® Pro as a video brightener and video lighting editor. In the top right, use the Effects Controls menu panel to customize the brightness and contrast levels to allow you to lighten up your video without losing quality.

In the Brightness & Contrast section, increase the Brightness and Contrast values to do this. The video preview to the left will allow you to see the changes immediately.

3. Save your video

Once you’ve made your changes, you’ll need to save your video. To do this, press File > Export > Media.

In the Export Settings window, determine the video format and codec settings you wish to use, as well as any other additional settings. Press the Output Name value to choose a new filename and save location for your video.

When you’re ready to proceed, press Export to begin saving your video.

Summary

A dark video means losing the details in your video, making for a poorer video clip overall. If you want to enhance your videos, you’ll need to brighten them using one of the tools at your disposal. You could brighten videos using Movavi Clips on your smartphone, a professional editor like Adobe® Premiere® Pro, or a good all-rounder like Movavi Video Editor Plus. You can even adjust a video’s brightness using VLC during playback.

Most video editors will allow you to brighten up videos, although some tools are harder than others to use. If simplicity is what you’re looking for, Movavi Video Editor Plus will get the job done in a few clicks. It comes with a 7-day trial, so don’t take our word for it – give it a go before you buy.

* The free version of Movavi Video Editor Plus has the following restrictions: 7-day trial period, watermark on the output videos, and, if you’re saving a project as an audio file, an ability to save only half the audio length. Learn more

Frequently asked questions

How do you brighten a video?

The easiest way to brighten a video on a PC or Mac is to use Movavi Video Editor Plus. To do this:

  1. Press Add Files to add your video to your Media Bin area.
  2. Drag the video into the Timeline section below.
  3. Select the video, then press Color Adjustments.
  4. In the Advanced tab, move the Brightness and Contrast sliders to the right.
  5. Press Export to save your video.

How can I lighten dark video footage?

The best way to brighten dark videos is to increase the video brightness and contrast levels using a video brightness editor. This basic feature is supported in most free and paid video software tools on your PC, Mac, or smartphone, including tools like Adobe® Premiere® Pro and Movavi Video Editor Plus.

Why is my video so dark?

There are a number of factors why a video might appear dark after recording. If you’re filming in a dark environment, a lack of lighting will be reflected in the videos you record. Other factors, including dark clothing, a low-resolution camera, or misconfigured camera settings could also play a part.

If you don’t want to boost the video brightness in post production, you’ll need to take some steps to improve the recording environment. Add lighting, change your clothes, and ensure the white balance and camera exposure settings on your camera are suitable for your recording area before you begin.

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