need a free utility that can add brightness to an avi file, any suggestions or links?
Video > Filters > Add > Brightness/Contrast (double click it to bring up slider) > Ok > OK
Check preview on right pane and adjust more/less if need by using the slider.
You’ll have to re-encode the video (Video > Full Processing Mode then Video > Compression > select same codec and bitrate as current .avi). Set audio to direct stream copy.
Or if you eventually want to convert the avi to dvd, you can use VirtualDUB(MOD) and the filter NRS. Its saves its data to your Registry files and can then be read via Avisynth, so Brightness/Contrast/Gamma can be set and only one conversion done maintaining best quality. NRS filter is from http://neuron2.net/ hosted section.
I use DVD2SVCD for my avi to dvd conversions as it allows easy Avisynth editing to allow for the above.