Screenshot of a horror scene

SO I am editing this horror scene and I want to change the brightness of the left side of the wall to something similar to the dark right side. I want to light to be mostly on the actor's faces. I tried doing "change to color" and "color change" effect in after effect but didn't get good results. Now I am thinking about masking that bright wall area and changing the brightness. But that process seems long since this is a long clip. Is there any faster way to do this in after effects or premiere pro?

  • I guess for future reference would it have made more sense to get the lighting right while recording? Sep 12, 2020 at 18:01

2 Answers 2


If I may, I would recommend using Davinci Resolve for this. It's free and does what you want way better than premiere. Since your question was raised for premiere though, let me propose two different solutions for this.

  1. Use a Luma-Matte for an adjustment layer. To to this:
  • Duplicate your footage
  • Apply curves on the footage to maximise the contrast. (the wall should be completely white, your talent should be completely black.
  • Apply a curves effect on the adjustment layer and place it below your duplicated, contrasted footage and above your original footage-layer.
  • For the adjustment-layer, under "track mattes" select the luma matte from your contrasted footage-layer.
  • Now dial down the curve on the adjustment layer and see that it only affects the wall.
  1. Use a Roto. If the Luma-Matte isn't working well because you can't really separate the talent from the background, this would be your last resort.
  • Draw a mask around your talent's face on the footage-layer and do that for every 2nd to 3rd frame, so that the mask moves with the face.
  • Apply curves to your footage-layer.
  • Press "e" to bring up the effects on your footage-layer and open up the curves.
  • Under "Compositing Options" click the small "+" and select the mask you just drew.
  • Make sure the mask is set to subtractive if you masked out the face, or additive if you masked out the portion of the wall.
  • Now dial down the curve in the Effect Controls and see that the effect only applies inside the mask.
  • You might want to feather the mask to not have a hard edge that might be distracting.

I hope this helped, have a good day! :)

Edit: You might want to use a mix of the two methods: The Luma-Matte for the hair, which is hard to rotoscope, and using masks for the simpler areas of the head.


If you have Premiere, chances are you have After Effects, which would be the best option for this job. But Premiere is still capable of doing it, without any roundtripping to other aps.

Here's my results, I just used a screenshot of your screenshot, so you'll probably get a better result using your original footage. enter image description here

To get this I duplicated the layer, and on the bottom layer added Lumetri color and pulled the rgb curve down to make the background dark.

enter image description here

I added Lumetri colour to the top layer, balanced the overall colour temperature until the BG was white, then pulled up the midtones to get a bit more separation between the wall and the face. Then I used the basic color Key effect and got the wall colour using the eyedropper, and fiddled with the tolerance, edge thin, and edge feather options until it was as good as it could be.

enter image description here

The highlight spot on the actor's nose is a problem, you may have to duplicate the layer, and mask out just the area around that spot without the color key effect applied. You don't have to be precise with this mask, but you have to track it to follow the movement.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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