Using video scopes in color grading is a personal passion of mine and I am going to tell you why you want to use them too. Before we dive in, I am working in Premiere Pro CC, so I will be referring to the Lumetri scopes. If you use another program, you might have slightly different terminology, however I ensure you that you’ll be able to translate the information found here and follow along in your respective software.
Being a photographer is a great advantage. When it comes to evaluating a shot, we can tell pretty much by just looking at the image. We can figure out how it was shot, define the light characteristics, as well as quickly understand what needs to be done to fix the shot, - if it’s too dark, or too bright, if the color balance is off. And we also see the possibilities within that shot. We imagine different looks we can give to that image, don’t we? And this is practically the very first thing that we do to color correct our footage. We need to evaluate what’s going wrong with that shot so we can properly do all the corrections. If it’s too yellow, we neutralize that yellow. This seems like an easy task, isn’t it? We can use our eyes to do that. But the trick is that there are so many things that can have a direct influence on how our eyes SEE the color. Our eyes are pretty good at recognizing the color and it’s brightness, but they are very sensitive and our brain tend to adapt very quickly to what our eyes see and “read” color differently. And and not calibrated monitor can deceive your eyes, they will trick you into believing something that you are seeing is true when in fact it is not.
This is why I like to use video scopes and I find them very helpful at all stages of the color grading process. I can trust scopes, the scopes never lie. You might be working late on your film, or earlier in the morning, you might look at the shot and think it looks a bit greenish, but if the scope does not say it has a green cast, then you can be absolutely sure that your eyes are tricking you. The scopes can be quite intimidating, though, and there is a lot of overlap between these scopes. Oftentimes, I look at a combination of scopes to get a more cohesive technical view about what’s going on with my image. When I have doubts and not really sure what my eyes see I refer to the scopes. They help me to form my color correction decisions.
I use scopes at all stages of the color correction process, - from identifying the issues, to correcting those issues, to matching shots, all the way to adjusting final details after applying the looks. There are different kinds of video scopes. I primarily use, - (1) Waveform Scope, helps me to set an accurate black and white values; (2) RGB Parade, helps me to set a proper white balance and remove color cast; and (3) Vectorscope, helps me to enhance color that are my hue and saturation values.
If you want to access the video scopes you come up to "Window" and then select "Lumetri Scopes":
You can access different scope types using the wrench icon for Settings:
I'd really would like to hear your feedback. Do you use video scopes during your grading process?
If you are new to it, in the next few weeks I am going to break down each of these scopes in video tutorials. Thank you for making it to the end :)