VLC HowTo/Adjust image settings

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This page describes how to adjust image settings including brightness and contrast. Other "how to" pages


Graphical approaches are the easiest but also the most variable because you have to look in different places depending on your interface. What this approach will do is globally change the hue, brightness, contrast, saturation or gamma for every video you play in VLC, perhaps for color-correction purposes. If you want to play a single video with different image settings, you should look at the command-line approach.

Older versions of VLC required different steps (VLC versions <= 0.9.0 used wxWidgets Interface). Modern VLC installations for Windows and Linux use Qt, Mac installations use the OS X interface.

Qt Interface

  1. In the menu bar, select "Tools" and then "Effects and Filters".
  2. Select the "Video Effects" tab and then "Essential" subtab.
  3. Tick the "Image adjust" checkbox and move the slider for the setting you want to change.
  4. Hue, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and Gamma may be adjusted.

Changes take effect immediately for every video.

OS X Interface

  1. Go to the "Extended controls" panel.
  2. Select the "Video" section and then "Adjust Image" subtab.
  3. Tick the "Enable" checkbox and move the slider for the setting you want to change.
  4. Hue, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, Gamma, Opaqueness may be adjusted.


A command-line approach will run VLC with adjusted hue, brightness, contrast, saturation or gamma for one session (the adjustments will not be preserved later). To learn how to get a command-line, see command-line interface.

The module you will be working with is adjust. As given by vlc --module adjust:

      --contrast <float [0.000000 .. 2.000000]> 
                                 Image contrast (0-2)
      --brightness <float [0.000000 .. 2.000000]> 
                                 Image brightness (0-2)
      --hue <float [-180.000000 .. 180.000000]> 
                                 Image hue (-180..180)
      --saturation <float [0.000000 .. 3.000000]> 
                                 Image saturation (0-3)
      --gamma <float [0.010000 .. 10.000000]> 
                                 Image gamma (0-10)
      --brightness-threshold, --no-brightness-threshold 
                                 Brightness threshold
                                 (default disabled)

The defaults are 1.0 for contrast and brightness, 0 for hue, 1.5 for saturation, 1 for gamma.

You can make a video (or still image) 10% brighter with:

vlc --video-filter adjust --brightness 1.1 <file>

and make a video (or still image) black-and-white with:

vlc --video-filter adjust --saturation 0 <file>

And this works too:

vlc --brightness 1.1 <file>
vlc --saturation 0 <file>

Permanent changes

You cannot save your preference for adjusted image settings with VLC (VLC doesn't seem to have any field that "remembers" your preferences).

You can, potentially, stream the video through a filter using the above method to an output file, and overwrite the original.

In other words, to make foo.ogv 10% brighter you adjust foo.ogv:

vlc --video-filter adjust --brightness 1.1 foo.ogv

And then save the result into foo.ogv.tmp (sorry, I don't have a command line for this), saving over foo.ogv.

Now when you play foo.ogv the video will be brighter.

This page is part of the informal VLC Support Guide.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.