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Using scopes

From: Up and Running with SpeedGrade

Video: Using scopes

In this movie, I want to show you how to access and use video scopes here inside of Adobe SpeedGrade. If you're new to using video scopes, video scopes allow you to analytically look at the video signal in different ways. Now why would you want to do that? Well put simply, your eyes lie and your eyes lie to you all the time about what's really going on in a shot. Sure, you might think a shot is warm or you may think it's cool, but if you stare at it at a long time, you can become convinced that it looks perfectly neutral. Video scopes on the other hand don't lie about what's going on with your images; instead they give you an accurate snapshot of what's going on with the video signal.

Using scopes

In this movie, I want to show you how to access and use video scopes here inside of Adobe SpeedGrade. If you're new to using video scopes, video scopes allow you to analytically look at the video signal in different ways. Now why would you want to do that? Well put simply, your eyes lie and your eyes lie to you all the time about what's really going on in a shot. Sure, you might think a shot is warm or you may think it's cool, but if you stare at it at a long time, you can become convinced that it looks perfectly neutral. Video scopes on the other hand don't lie about what's going on with your images; instead they give you an accurate snapshot of what's going on with the video signal.

So how do you actually access the various scope options that are available inside of Adobes SpeedGrade? Well that's easy, simply come to the bottom on the monitor, this area right here, and then click on one of these three buttons to access the various scope options available inside of SpeedGrade. The first button, this guy right here, allows you to access the Vectorscope. The middle button allows you to access the Waveform and then the last button allows you to access the Histogram. But there are three very easy to learn keyboard shortcuts for each scope option. If you go ahead and press V on the keyboard, you can toggle open or close the Vectorscope. If you press W you can toggle open or close the Waveform, and then if you press H you can toggle open or close the Histogram.

So again, that's V for Vectorscope, W for Waveform and H for Histogram. With all the scopes on screen at the same time, you might want to adjust the size of each scope and you can do that by grabbing this little handle right here to adjust the size of an individual scope. You can change which side of the screen that scope appears on up here on the monitor by clicking on this little icon right here that's present on each one of the scopes. And when you click on one of these, it'll go to the opposite side of the screen from where it's docked currently. If you don't want a scope to be docked to the monitor simply click on this little lock icon right here, and then the actual scope will be in a floating window.

From there you can go ahead and resize the scope and position it anywhere that you want on screen. Let me go ahead and close the Vectorscope and then go ahead and close the Histogram, and then what I want to do is make the Waveform into a floating window. The Waveform is a principal tool that you'll use to do two different things. First the Waveform will allow you to analyze the overall brightness levels that you have in a shot. Next, the waveform will also allow you to analyze the relative color balance that you have in a shot. Now how does it do this? Well the Waveform uses a scale that goes from 0-100%, where 0 is black and 100 is white.

This scale represents the entire tonal range, going from black to white. All this stuff right here in the middle of the screen is actual video signal itself. Now one thing I should point out is that SpeedGrade doesn't actually have a dedicated Luma only or Y only Waveform. Instead what it has is this guy right here which is commonly referred to as an RGB parade. But don't worry, an RGB parade can also measure luma values in your shots. So let me go ahead and move the waveform over here to this side just a little bit. And the first thing I want to show you is how we can measure brightness in a shot.

This first shot looks dark, doesn't it? Well if I scrub through it I don't think it gets any brighter, it's still dark. And the Waveform in fact verifies this, because most of the signal goes from about 3%, 4% or so up to about 30%, indicating that this shot is pretty dark. Remember that the scale that the Waveform uses mimics the tonal range. So dark or black is down here on this part of the scale, midtones right about here and then highlights up here. And with the trace bunched up towards the bottom of the scale, I can once again verify that this shot is indeed dark.

If I go down to the second shot on this Timeline I have the opposite problem. This shot looks really, really bright and once again the waveform shows me that. Most of the trace is bunched up towards the top of the scope, indicating that I have a pretty bright, or pretty over exposed shot in this case. Finally let me go down to this third shot on the Timeline. Another way that the Waveform works is that it actually mimics a picture from left to right. So in other words this part of the trace right here, this red trace is this part of the screen right here.

So by looking at the Waveform I can see where various objects are on screen. So this area right in here, well that's this statue and it's present on each one of the traces, again because the Waveform breaks the signal down into the red, green and blue components. This area up here of the sky, well that's these bunches of trace right here towards the top of the waveform. Next let me navigate down to this fourth clip. I mentioned before that the Waveform also allows you to measure the relative color balance that you have in a shot. Now looking at this shot it looks, well pretty blue, and the Waveform actually shows me that as well.

Notice that the blue trace is elevated over the red and green traces, indicating that I have a blue color cast. But because the Waveform mimics the tonal range, again from black to white or from 0 to 100 here, I can also tell where in the tonal range that blue color cast is happening. Notice that the blue trace is elevated over the green and red traces but particularly here at the top of the scale, indicating that I have a blue color cast that's mainly in the highlights. And this is a really important thing when it comes time to actually color correct. Instead of dragging and moving controls willy-nilly, you want to attack the problem where it exists.

And in this case because I know that the color cast mainly exists in the highlights, that's where I'll start neutralizing the color cast. Okay let me go ahead and hide the Waveform by pressing W on the keyboard. Then let me go ahead and press V to bring up the Vectorscope and I'll undock the Vectorscope so it's a floating window as well. The way that the Vectorscope works is that hues are measured as the angle around the Vectorscope and then saturation is measured as the distance out from the center of the Vectorscope. And in this case, the trace, this stuff right here, is pointed out towards sort of the blue cyan area, and it's pretty saturated as the trace extends all the way out to the edges of the scope.

Now the Vectorscope allows you to measure overall hues and saturation in the image, but when doing detailed work I often depend on the Waveform because I can see the relative color balance between the three different image channels; red, green blue. I can also see in the tonal range where a particular color cast exists. Finally, the last scope that we have to use to analyze the signal is the Histogram. Some people really like the Histogram. I've never really been a huge Histogram user myself. But what the Histogram allows you to do is that it sort of works like the Waveform in the sense that it mimics the tonal range from black to white, and in the case of the Histogram inside of Adobe SpeedGrade, is it actually layers the different color channels over one another, so you can see where in the tonal range different colors are happening.

Finally, the last thing I want to show you about analyzing the shot is that if you actually come over to the image here in the monitor and then click and drag, you'll get this little floating pop-up. And what this allows you to do is sample the part of the image that you're dragging over to get precise color read outs, which is really nice if you need to be super detailed about matching particular parts of the image or matching shots from one shot to another. Okay, so that's a little bit more about using the scopes here inside of Adobe SpeedGrade. In your own projects the scopes can be your best friend to allow you to make intelligent decisions when making color and contrast corrections to your footage.

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Up and Running with SpeedGrade

29 video lessons · 7672 viewers

Robbie Carman
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