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Brighten your video for better quality

When you try to record a video clip on an unfamiliar camera, it can be hard to determine the video quality, up until you see it on a bigger screen. Going crazy on video filters and video effects can also affect the video quality. That's because the video filters can affect the color balance and even automatically adjust brightness. Thanks to video editing, you can boost your video's visibility with ease. Upload your video to Runway and employ the use of state-of-the-art editing software tools and use our video brightness editor. With our user-friendly, streamlined software, you can feel confident enhancing the visual effects of multiple types of media—all from one web-based application.

Enhance visibility and create your vision

The ability to easily brighten media in post-production can keep you from fretting over reshoots, and racing against the setting sun on set—Runway makes that a very real possibility. Correct harsh lighting to look more natural, remove shadows obstructing the actors’ expressions, or add brightness, contrast, and other visual effects to achieve a specific cinematic aesthetic. No matter what you envision, you can make it come to life on screen.

How To Use

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Upload your video file directly to the cloud and don’t worry about computer storage ever again. From ProRes to MOV, we've got you covered.
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Look for our “Brightness & Contrast” option under effects. Once applied to your desired clip, you can utilize the adjustment sliders to refine the look of your video.
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Once you’re satisfied with the brightness of your video, you can continue editing or export your finished creation in a variety of resolution and formatting options.


Understanding how to brighten dark video effectively can help the editing process run more smoothly. With Runway, you can remedy darkened visuals in a snap, so you can focus on the larger picture and take your story into your own hands.

Boost video visibility

With the click of a button, you can eliminate unnecessary shadows or soften harsh contrasts. Make your image appear clearer and sharper for your audience’s viewing pleasure.

Add dramatic effects

Amplifying or tempering brightness can drastically change the thematic impression of your video. Try using sharp overexposure to signify extraterrestrial beings, heavenly bodies, or palpable dramatic tension—it’s easy to play around until you find an effect that works with your story.

Simulate natural light

Brightening your video can help give the impression of natural rather than studio light. No matter the location or time of day of your shoot, enhancing brightness can help you establish the intended setting.

Why Runway?

For every unique vision, Runway can help you enhance your project and prepare it for the world to see. Runway won’t just brighten your video—its easy, intuitive interface will brighten your whole day.

Enjoy web-based editing

Fulfill your artistic vision without sacrificing precious storage space. Runway operates entirely online and keeps your videos in the cloud. Without extra hard drives and gear to pack around, you can feel free to edit from anywhere at any time.

Do it quickly, but do it right

Runway is an intuitive, easy-to-learn platform that makes editing a breeze. Navigate our full suite of post-production tools such as Inpaint and Green Screen removal and apply them directly to your video. With streamlined video templates and software on your side, your video will be ready to export in no time.

Collaborate with others

Bring your friends along on your editing journey with Runway's collaborative creator functionality. Share your progress with friends around the world by inviting them via email to follow along or even create alongside you. Collaborate with other artists and get your creative juices flowing.
Will brightening my video decrease its quality?
When done correctly, brightening your video will not reduce the quality of the image. In many cases, brightening your video can substantially improve the clip by increasing visibility and leveling out any harsh lighting. When you’re editing digitally, brightening effectively takes the darkest values and makes them, quite simply, less dark. If you adjust the brightness of an entire clip, which has varied light levels within it, you may find that you’ve now overcorrected in some places and undercorrected in others. So, how do you account for that? With Runway, you can edit the brightness levels (as well as other important values) with complete control over the look of your final product. Or, you can save time by creating and adjusting keyframes to make big-picture edits and ensure seamless transitions. Regardless of the quality of the raw video you start with, Runway can help you enhance it to the highest degree possible. Experiment with our functional tools and discover all the different ways you can boost brightness and embrace creativity.
Is brightening my video the only way to improve visibility?
Not at all. Brightening a video typically involves adjusting the exposure levels, but exposure is just one of the many primary qualities of an image.
Boosting brightness level is a quick fix that works for many clips, but it isn't always the answer. If you wonder how to brighten a video more effectively, you can always edit other values in tandem to help correct or adjust the overall look of your footage.
Some of these values include:
  • Contrast – The contrast of a video is the disparity between the lightest whites and the darkest blacks of your clip. Essentially, increasing contrast makes white whiter and black blacker. You can use this tool to your advantage while brightening a video. If you’re trying to illuminate a very dark image or background when using a green screen, it can help to decrease contrast at the same time. Reducing contrast also reduces shadows and helps highlight the point of interest within the shot. Alternatively, you can increase contrast if you're looking for a sharper image with harsh bright light; just know that doing this will further emphasize any dark shadows, as well.
  • Highlights and shadows – Though you should use highlights and shadows in conjunction, these tools can help you fine-tune light balance by focusing on one aspect at a time. Instead of—or as well as—brightening the whole video, try reducing shadows and boosting highlights. By assigning specific values to each quality individually, you can avoid counterproductive floods of darkness and light and focus on the granular details.
  • Saturation – The saturation of the video speaks to the intensity and purity of the colors. Similar to contrast, your colors will become more vibrant and distinctive when increasing saturation levels. You can utilize saturation when brightening a video in a few different ways. By increasing saturation, the hues within your video will brighten, which may also help lighten your whole video. If you find the color within your video too overwhelming or even muddy after increasing exposure, decreasing saturation can reduce noise and focus on the point of interest.
As you play around with all sorts of image qualities, try and take a step back every once in a while to see how the video looks from start to finish, rather than focusing in on just one frame or sequence.
How can I tell if my video needs brightening?
If it’s hard to make out individual people, objects, or landscapes in a dark video, it probably needs to be lightened.
If we think about it through the lens of black and white film, in particular, you want to see the distinct values of pure black and crisp white, with varying shades of gray coloring everything in between. If your black and white footage is primarily dark with a smattering of gray values and very few white values, you’ll want to increase the exposure to find a better balance between black and white—and to ensure every aspect is easily visible to your future audience.
The same applies to colored footage. If you can hardly make out the whites, light blues, soft pinks, and other light hues, you likely need to brighten your footage to see the full spectrum of color.
When considering when and how to brighten video clips, try running through a quick mental checklist to see where your footage may be falling short:
  • Can I make out my visual point of interest?
  • Is the background clear enough to establish the setting?
  • Is important detail clear/readable to the viewer?
  • Are movements clear to the viewer?
  • Do visible shadows work with or against the image I'm trying to portray?
Visual clarity is crucial when conveying images and motion on film. Luckily, with Runway's intuitive tools, you can feel confident in your editing capabilities and make the most of your footage.
What’s the difference between brightness and contrast?
Changing both exposure and contrast levels can significantly improve visual clarity, though in different ways:
  • Brightening – Brightening video is when you take light values and make them lighter. This allows an image's brightness to come forward and draw the eye. Though brightening can make a point of interest quickly identifiable, implementing contrast can help round out the bigger picture.
  • Contrast – Contrast is the difference in light values. A highly contrasted image or video will feature the full range of white to black. Meanwhile, a low-contrast video clip will have little to no black or white values—mostly middle-of-the-road gray values. If you want images that really pop, you can bump up the contrast. If you want a more muted or subtle approach, that's when lower contrast can come in handy. Adjusting contrast makes it possible to see hard lines of value changes, thus making it easier to understand the shapes appearing on screen.
Knowing the difference between brightness and contrast can also help you quickly identify and weigh the values needed to improve your edited video. And while adjusting both qualities can improve visibility on their own, using them together often yields the best results for your music video, YouTube video, social media video, short film, documentary, or commercial. Thankfully, it’s easy to adjust both contrast and exposure—and much more—when editing using video templates and software with Runway.
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