Determining if the area of a shot is properly exposed, during the color correction process can be tricky while looking at the color image. Inverting the colors in a video reveals the parts of the shot that are too bright or too dark, which enables you to adjust the Brightness, Contrast, Highlights or Shadow settings accurately. Moreover, finding a creative way to incorporate the negative image effect into the narrative of your video can produce stunning results. The process of inverting the colors in a video isn’t complicated at all, so in this article, we are going to take you through some of the best free and paid media players and video editing software products that enable you to invert colors with ease.
Best Free and Paid Ways of Inverting Colors in Videos
Despite the fact that you can easily see how the negative of a video clip looks like in almost all video editing computer programs, finding the right context in which you’re going to use this effect is a bit more difficult task. Let's have a look at media players and video editors you can use to invert colors in your videos.
This iconic cross-platform media player lets you do much more than just watch videos. Clicking on the Show Extended Settings icon located next to the playback controls in the VCL’s toolbar will grant you the access to the Adjustments and Effects window. Open the Video Effects tab, and then click on the Colors or Color Fun tab, depending on the version of VLC you have. Make sure that the Invert Colors or Negate Colors checkbox is marked and the video will automatically be inverted. Afterward, you need to go to the File menu and select the Convert/Save option in order to save the changes you made. The only downside is that you have to invert colors in the entire video you open with VLC, so you need to make sure to use a short clip that is well suited for the negative image effect.
Adobe Premiere Pro enables its users to perform even the most complex video editing tasks, so it is hardly surprising that inverting the colors in a video is a quick and simple process in Premiere Pro. Head over to the Effects tab, and type in Invert in the search bar. If you can’t see this tab, go to the Window menu and make sure that the Effects option is selected. The Invert effect is located in the Channel folder, and you can just drag it and drop it onto the clip on the timeline you’d like to invert. After applying the effect you can go to the Effect Controls panel and change the selected color channel or fine-tune the Blend With Original setting that lets you combine the negative image with the original footage. Using the Razor Tool to remove all parts of the footage you don’t want to invert can help you apply this effect to a specific part of the original video clip.
Like all powerful video editors, Sony Vegas Pro lets its users invert colors in their videos in just a few quick steps. Place a video clip you’d like to invert on the timeline and then click on the Video FX tab. Locate the Color Corrector (Secondary) option and then click on the Invert Color Effect. When the Video Event FX window pops up on the screen you can adjust the Rotation Hue, Saturation, Gamma, Gain, Offset or Alpha settings. Additionally, you can check or uncheck the Limit Hue, Limit Saturation or Limit Luminance boxes and use the sliders below each of these options to tweak the settings. Sony Vegas Pro is equipped with a lot of different effects you can use to invert or enhance videos, but learning how to use them efficiently takes practice.
The Infrared effect, that can be found within the Color Grading folder which is located in the HitFilm’s Effects tab will enable you to invert colors in a video. Simply drag the Infrared effect over a video clip on the timeline and drop it. However, there are no settings for the Invert setting, which means that you have to adjust the hue and saturation in a different way. Within the Color Grading folder, you can find the Hue Colorize effect, apply the effect to the footage and then proceed to adjust its setting in the Controls tab. Use the Hue, Hue Strenght, Saturation and Lightness sliders to enhance the image with inverted colors. The fact that you have to combine two effects in order to invert the colors in a video makes FitFilm Express a relatively poor option for creating the negative of the footage.
There are a lot of different ways to invert the colors in a video you’re processing with Final Cut Pro, but probably the easiest one is to go to the Video Filters menu, then click on the Channel submenu and select Invert. Alternatively, you can try searching for the Invert effect from the Final Cut’s Effects Browser. What’s more, you can invert all masks you add over the footage you’re processing, so you can also use masks to fake the look of a particular type of a film, such as 35mm or 16mm negatives. Which method of inverting the colors in Final Cut Pro you are going to use depends on the type of the effect you’re trying to create, since simulating night vision is a bit different than faking the visual style of film negatives.
Negative images are not often included in full feature movies or online videos because they are only used in certain contexts. For instance, if a character in a scene wears night vision goggles then you can add a few shots that have inverted colors to the video, but using this effect outside of a well-defined context won’t produce impressive results. Which video editing software do you use to invert your videos? Leave a comment and let us know.
Benjamin Arango is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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