Join Robbie Carman for an in-depth discussion in this video Reading the Vectorscope, part of DaVinci Resolve Guru: Mastering Scopes.
- When it comes to actually reading a vectorscope, it's pretty simple once you know what to look at. I'll admit though, if you don't know what you're looking at, the vectorscope, like many other scopes available in Resolve can be a little confusing. Now, the vectorscope is the principle tool that you'll use to measure overall hue and overall saturation in shots. In other words, it helps you evaluate color in a shot. So in this movie, I want to get you comfortable with reading the vectorscope as you'll be using it quite a bit.
Here at Resolve project, I have this timeline open 03_02_ReadingVectorscope and there are three shots on this timeline. I want to make sure I'm starting out with shot number one. Remember, you can use the up and down arrows on your keyboard to quickly navigate between shots. I'll press option or alt + f again to get back into my enhanced viewer and then I'll load my scopes up by using the keyboard shortcut, ctrl + shift + w or cmd + shift + w if you're on the Mac. Now, I'm on this first shot which is a set of color bars.
You're probably used to seeing color bars before, but what really are color bars? Well, color bars show us all the primary colors, red, green, and blue, and then they show us the secondary colors. Here's magenta, cyan, yellow, and so on. We also can see white patches and black patches, and if I actually look at the vectorscope, all that information is being mimicked here on the scope. Let's first start out with the outside area, sort of these little squares right here around the vectorscope.
These are color targets and each one has a little letter next to it. So, here's the red target, the magenta target, the blue target, cyan, green, and yellow. So, we have the primary colors, red, green, and blue. And then the secondary colors of magenta, cyan, and yellow. And you can see that right inside the center of each one of those targets I have a little dot, and that dot is representing each one of the colors that I can see up here in the actual color bars image.
Now, on the color bars because of the way that they're designed, I'm also passing through the center of the scope and the center of the vectorscope represents white or no color. So let me say this in a slightly different way, the angle around the vectorscope actually represents hue that's availabe or seen in any given shot. Let me go down to the next shot by pressing the down arrow. What am I looking at here? Well, if I look at the image itself, I'm looking at the color spectrum going from red to red, Going through magenta, blue, cyan, green, and yellow.
And what that's done, is it's kind of created this line that goes through all of these targets. Now, why am I showing you this? Well, I'm showing you this for two reasons. One, saturation on a vectorscope is shown as the distance out from the center of the scope to the outside edge. So if I came to my saturation control and increase my saturation, notice how the trace gets pushed out to the outside edge. If I decrease my saturation, notice how the trace comes into the center of the scope.
So from the center to the outside edge of the scope, that's saturation. And of course, we already know that the angle around the vectorscope represents the hues that are present in the image. Let me press the down arrow one more time and this is what a real world image looks like on the vectorscope. Let's see what we're looking at. We're looking at a wide shot here of the band and you can see that I have some reds, I have some yellows, I have some greens and if I look at the actual vectorscope, I can see all of those things.
Here's some yellow trace over here, here's some red trace over here. I have a whole clump towards the center of the vectorscope. So on the vecotrscope you can see not only the hues that are present in a shot, but also how saturated they are. So it's pretty easy to read a vectorscope. Again, I'll say this one more time for clarity. The angle around the scope represents hue and the distance out from the center of the scope represents saturation, with the middle of the scope representing white or no color.
Now, let's put the vectorscope into practice using it to evaluate color, saturation, and even skin tone on a few shots.
- Opening and configuring scopes
- Evaluating color, contrast, and balance with a waveform
- Evaluating skin tone and saturation with a vectorscope
- Using RGB Parade or the Histogram
- Matching shots using scopes
- Guiding look development with scopes