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How to Enhance CCTV Footage Using Photoshop

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

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In this blog post, we will be discussing how to enhance CCTV footage using Photoshop, focusing on various methods that can be used to improve the quality of CCTV footage, including camera resolution.


Photoshop is a powerful and versatile photo-editing software program available from Adobe Systems. It is often used for out-of-the-box editing and manipulation of photos and can also be used to enhance CCTV footage. With Photoshop, you can up your game in terms of security monitoring and capture clear and high quality footage using only a few simple steps. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to know on how to enhace CCTV footage using Photoshop.

The first step when it comes to enhancing your CCTV footage is obtaining still frames from the video. As such, it is important to have a reliable video recording device as well as strong signal reception in order to get the best possible footage of your CCTV recording. Once you have obtained a still frame, you can then go ahead and start enhancing its quality using Photoshop’s image manipulation tools such as brightness/contrast adjustment, color balancing, sharpening/blurring filters etc. Doing so ensures that the image looks professional and more realistic than before editing.

By following these simple guidelines, you’ll be able to effectively enhance your CCTV footage into something that looks professionally filtered with only minimal effort on your part! Nevertheless, to get the most out of photo editing programs such as Photoshop it’s always best for one to have an in depth understanding about their capabilities as well be well versed in their usage prior attempting any edits on images or videos taken from surveillance systems!

Setting Up Your Workspace

Enhancing CCTV footage can be a complex and time-consuming task. To make the editing process as easy and efficient as possible, it’s essential to have the right workspace setup in Photoshop. This includes setting up your layers, workspace layouts, and color settings properly. Being prepared before you start editing will make the editing process much smoother and ensure that you get the best results.

Setting up your workspace

Setting up your workspace in Photoshop is the best way to maximize your efficiency. To get started, open a new document in Photoshop and adjust the settings to ensure you have a large enough canvas size for editing CCTV footage. While the exact resolution may vary depending on the footage you’re working with, we recommend having a canvas size of at least 2000px by 2000px. If the footage is much larger than this, you can adjust the canvas size accordingly to better accommodate it. Make sure to leave some space around your footage as well to allow for easier adjusting and coloring effects-you can always crop it down later if needed.

Once you’ve adjusted the document settings, take some time to customize your workspace by organizing panels and tools in a way that will be most effective for enhancing CCTV footage. To this end, you may find it useful to create customized “workspace” presets specific for editing CCTV footage from one aspect which you can then recall whenever needed.

Next, make sure that you have all the tools and filters necessary for enhancing CCTV footage available on your workspace. These tools should include but not be limited to: Levels; Curves; Brightness & Contrast; Hue/Saturation; Selective Color; Layers with Blending Modes; Brushes with various textures; Light Effects such as Glow and Adjustment Layers like Unsharp Mask or Clarity. With everything laid out properly in front of you, enhance your CCTV footage in Photoshop will be as easy as can be!

Adjusting the image size

To get started with adjusting the image size of your CCTV footage in Photoshop, you must first open up the program and create a new document. To do this, go to the File menu on the top toolbar and select “Create a New Document”. You will then be prompted to select a size for your document. It’s important to consider the resolution of your footage when selecting an image size-higher resolution footage will require larger dimensions for successful enlargement. Depending on your particular project, choose between small, medium, or large dimensions and make sure all relevant settings are set accordingly. Once your new document is created, you can start editing the image size of your CCTV footage directly within Photoshop.

Adjusting the contrast

The most important step in enhancing CCTV footage using Photoshop is to adjust the contrast of the image. This will allow you to bring out the details and texture in the image. It is also important to ensure that the brightness is adjusted correctly so that the overall appearance of the image is improved.

When adjusting contrast, it is important to keep an eye on how quickly detail starts to degrade when making adjustments. Too much contrast can lead to a “washed out” or grainy looking image, while too little contrast will make an image look drab and dull. Carefully turning up brightness and carefully turning down contrast until good results are achieved should be done for best results.

It’s also important to pay attention to color saturation when making adjustments, as this can greatly enhance an image’s detail and make it more visually appealing. Generally, you should try and find a good balance between both (color saturation and contrast). Too much of either can leave your CCTV footage looking flat or unnatural, while just enough of both will dramatically improve its overall quality.

Enhancing the Image

Enhancing CCTV footage using Photoshop can help to improve the clarity of the image, make objects stand out more, and highlight crucial details. Photoshop is ideal for a number of tasks that involve CCTV footage, including adjusting the brightness and contrast, selectively fading parts of the footage, reducing noise and more. By taking the time to enhance CCTV footage, you can improve the clarity of the image and make it easier to identify crucial details.

Applying a filter

In the brief tutorial below, we will look at how to enhance CCTV footage using Adobe Photoshop. The following steps should be performed on each frame of the CCTV footage you would like to enhance:

1. Open the image in Photoshop and select the “Image” tab from the top menu bar.
2. Click on “Adjustments” and select “Hue/Saturation”, then check the box beside “Colorize”
3. Select a filter by adjusting the three sliders until you get the desired result
4. Select “Filter” from the top menu and then choose either Gaussian Blur or Unsharp Mask for further sharpening of your image
5. Adjust individual color channels to bring out any remaining details (optional)
6. Save your image as a JPG, GIF or PNG depending on your intended use
7. Repeat these steps with each frame of footage you are trying to enhance
By using these simple steps, you can dramatically improve your CCTV footage while preserving important details that can be used in an investigation or security application.

Adjusting the brightness and contrast

Improving the brightness and contrast of your CCTV footage can be achieved by adjusting the levels in Photoshop. To do this, begin by opening up an image and selecting “Image – Adjustment – levels”. This will bring up a window containing 3 sliding bars or uni-directional arrows that represent the highlights, midtones and shadows in your image. Dragging these arrows left and right will allow you to adjust the overall brightness and contrast of your image.

If you want to focus on adjusting specific sections of the photo such as more prominent elements like facial features or other objects, you can use Photoshop’s Curves tool. This tool is found in the same section as Levels but instead creates a curved graph with which you can select specific points on it and drag them down or up to alter those areas separately without affecting others. You can also experiment with different combinations here to get the desired effect or look for certain bright spots that may need dimming down if it’s a day shot.

Additionally, using hue/saturation (“Image – Adjustment – hue/saturation”) gives you access to sliders that let you isolate individual colors in an image, shift them across a range of values, as well as lighten or darken each color. This kind of adjustment is particularly useful when working with low-quality footage due to its high level of control over how certain aspects are displayed.

Sharpening the image

Sharpening images is an important step in successfully enhancing CCTV footage. Sharpening helps to bring out details of the image which may have otherwise been lost or blurred due to any distortion caused by noise. The goal is to remove any noise and make the image appear clearer and more focused. When sharpening an image, it’s best to enlarge it so that you can better determine the areas that need attention. This will help you locate the details you want to emphasize and accurately sharpen the image without overdoing it or introducing grainy pixels into your picture.

When using Photoshop, there are generally two types of sharpening tools – Unsharp Mask or High Pass Filter Sharpeners. Unsharp Mask is used to enhance pixel detail while softening noise and grain that may be present in an image. Its adjustments include Amount (the overall degree of sharpening), Radius (the area affected by sharpening) and Threshold (the degree of variation between tones). On the other hand, High Pass Filter Sharpeners can give an image clarity without affecting edge detail or introducing color artifacts into your picture. Its adjustments include Radius (the range of tones that get sharpened as a group) and Maximum Sharpness Magnitude (amount of local contrast). Whichever type you decide to use, make sure that it compliments the style of your footage before saving your changes.

Adding Effects

Enhancing CCTV footage with Photoshop can be a useful way to make footage more useful and visible. By adding effects to the footage, you can improve its overall quality and make it easier to identify the details in the images. In this article, we will discuss the different ways you can add effects to the CCTV footage using Photoshop. These effects include color correction, sharpening, and blurring.

Adding a vignette

Vignetting is a popular effect used to draw attention to the main subject of an image or video. In Photoshop, vignettes are easy to achieve and can instantly add dimension and focus to your footage.

To add a vignette in Photoshop, start by duplicating the layer you want to edit and adding a “vibrance” adjustment layer above it. Set the vibrance so that it adds more saturation and contrast. To create the vignette, use the Selection Tool (M) and draw out a semi-circle around your image. Now go to Image > Adjustments > Lens Correction and set the Vignette Amount slider to 0%. This will darken any area outside of your selection mask. Then bear in mind that you can adjust both the size of your selection mask and Vignette Amount slider until you get the desired effect.

Finally, reduce overall saturation with an adjustment layer on top of everything else, or try experiment by changing contrast, brightness or even adding a color overlay if you feel like jazzing up your footage even further!

Adding a blur effect

Adding a blur effect to CCTV footage is one of the most effective ways to enhance the visibility and quality of the image. Lighting conditions, objects in motion, and poor-quality cameras can all contribute to a less-than-satisfactory video output. Photoshop provides a variety of different blur methods that can be employed to improve your CCTV footage.

For lighter blurs, an average or gaussian blur provides an all-around soft focus to your images, providing a subtle yet noticeable result. These options allow you to adjust the radius of the blur effect as well as change its shape, allowing you more creative control over the final outcome.

For more intense blurs or special effects, radial and zoom blurs offer more dramatic results while still staying within the realm of Photoshop’s features. Radial blurs provide an outward spiral motion which is perfect for simulating motion or creating unique atmospheres in still images or videos. Zoom blurs offer great results when used to emphasize isolated points within an image such as faces and objects for improved recognition by facial recognition systems like those used with Face ID on iPhones.

Using Photoshop’s blur effects is easy by following these simple steps:
1) Open your CCTV video clip in Photoshop
2) Select Filter from the menu bar
3) Choose from one of four Blur Effects: Average, Gaussian, Radial or Zoom
4) Adjust various parameters until you get desired look
5) Save your edited video clip for viewing

Adding a noise filter

The noise filter effect is used to soften and obscure grainy images. This is particularly useful for CCTV recordings which often have very rough surfaces, high contrasts and harsh shadows. Adding a noise filter can help to improve image clarity, making the overall image look much cleaner and smoother.

To enhance your CCTV footage using a noise filter in Photoshop:
1. Start by opening the video or still image you want to modify in Photoshop.
2. Select the effects tab on the left-hand side of the window, then select Noise or Add Noise from the main menu depending on your version of Photoshop.
3. Adjust how much noise you want to reduce and how rough or soft it should appear in the image preview window.
4. Set an overall blur amount if needed under Blur options based on the desired level of detail for your changes – more blur will give more uniformity but may also obscure important details; less blur will keep most details intact but may also emphasize any compositional flaws that may exist in the original recording (like moving objects with jerky motion).
5. Use High Pass Sharpening or other sharpening tools if needed – these can be found under Sharpen Options in Photoshop’s Effects menu – to fine-tune how soft/velvety any areas should appear in comparison to others after applying noise filtering (optional).
6. Finally, click OK and save/export your file when finished!


In conclusion, using Photoshop to enhance CCTV footage can be extremely beneficial for surveillance purposes. Enhancing the images can help make it easier to identify suspects and other important elements in the images. Additionally, it is possible to use Photoshop to adjust the brightness, contrast, color saturation and sharpness of CCTV footage.

It is important to remember that while Photoshop can be used to enhance CCTV footage with minimal effort, it is also important to take care when adjusting photographs as too much enhancement could lead to distortion in the visual information. This can reduce the effectiveness of any investigations relying on the enhanced images. As such, taking a measured and conservative approach when enhancing CCTV footage is highly advised for optimal results.

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