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I’ve got a video and a photo shot in the same day and same place. But my camera (GoPro Hero 3, 720p) doesn’t allow to customise settings and video is very poor quality. I tried to fix this using curves but couldn’t achieve a good result. What approach should I use to make snow in the first picture to look like a snow in second one? I think if I will understand how to do this with one frame then I will be able to do it with a whole video. But take into account that it is considerably harder to make changes to a part of the video so it must be done with filters applied to a whole picture.

first

second

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What software do you have available? vimeo.com/49861799 or video.about.com/desktopvideo/Fix-White-Balance-in-Final-Cut.htm give clues... –  dav1dsm1th Feb 20 at 10:29
    
If you do not own a license for Adobe tools or final cut, since you are on Mac OS X you can use iMovie. In the newer versions of iMovie there are tools for correcting exposure and white balance. I think these two will tackle your problem. –  Pouya Feb 20 at 11:15

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Just perform regular post-processing.

For reference, here is your first picture with all the boarder fluff stripped off:

Simply making the darkest spot black and the lightest white fixes a lot:

The snow looks a little yellowish, so here I'm using one area of the snow that looks like it should be white as the white balance reference. I also brought the dark area up a bit, although that looses a bit of the snow texture:

It's really up to you how dark you want the snowboarder to appear releative to the white snow, and how much texture you want in the snow. I'd probably continue from here by playing with the curve at the high end to get some more snow texture. But anyway, I think this answers your question well enough. Note that what I've done are all very basic and normal post processing manipulations.

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Wow, that's what I need. Is the tool for making the darkest spot black and the lightest white called levels? I tried to achieve this result with curves but looks like I used wrong tool. Sorry I'm really a noob in photo editing. –  Poma Feb 20 at 15:59
    
@Poma: I used my own image editing tool for this, but I'm sure every tool has this capability somehow. I can't imagine any photograph post-processing software that wouldn't give you ways to set the black and white levels somehow. Check the manual. –  Olin Lathrop Feb 20 at 16:56
    
Levels in Photoshop or GIMP should be able to handle it. I don't know about video editing tools. Curves can do it too, but the options are more complicated and it doesn't have the auto buttons to pick a white or black point. Within levels, you might also want to adjust the gamma correction to try to increase contrast in the snow without making it darker overall. –  AmeliaBR Feb 20 at 20:13

For next time, you might want to take a closer look at your manual to figure out how to improve capture. Snow throws off most auto camera settings, and many cameras now have an automatic snow/beach mode to adjust (or at least an exposure adjustment setting), but if you understand what's going on even the basic adjustments available on your camera can be tweaked in your favour.

It looks like the relevant settings are in your "Capture Settings" menu (p.32 in the manual).

You probably want to turn on "Spot metering" (p33 in the manual). That will set the exposure (brightness) based on the specific object you're focusing on, not based on the overall brightness. So if you're focusing on someone in a dark snowsuit against a field of white, the bright background will have less of an impact on the exposure. How big a difference this makes will depend on how precise their "spot" is, and how much of that is taken up by dark objects versus snow and sky.

You might also want to turn on the "Protunes" mode (p36 in the manual) to access the white balance setting (p38). Set the white balance to Daylight/5500K for a sunny day, or cool white/6500K for a cloudy day.

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No! Spot metering is the worst thing to do in a situation like this. If the spot is on a subject, like the snowboarder, then the snow will be seriously blown out. You want wide metering so that the camera adjusts the exposure so that the brightest spot is just below clipping. Then you count on the dynamic range of your sensor to capture everything. Snow scenes have a wide dynamic range with significant areas of high brightness. Blowing out these highlights is NOT the way to deal with them. –  Olin Lathrop Feb 20 at 22:57
    
The original poster's problem was extreme underexposure, I was suggesting a way to reverse that. Of course, as you say, it could cause the opposite problem, extreme overexposure, depending on how much contrast there is between the dark subject and bright background, and how narrow the camera's "spot" is. I should have mentioned that as a caution. Both versions should be tested to see which result is preferred. –  AmeliaBR Feb 20 at 23:28

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