Join Nick Harauz for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding video scopes, part of Final Cut Pro X Guru: Color Correction.
- You can see a lot with your eyes, but when it comes to trying to objectively analyze color, they will never give you a straight answer. Your eyes are constantly observing and recording color information, and sometimes the color information you store previously may have an impact on how you look at, or interpret, another shots color. There are some great examples online that highlight this. Let's say you stare at an image long enough that has color, and then look at a grayscale image immediately after, your eyes can convince you that there is color in this image, when in fact, there's none.
And this is why in color correction it's important to use video scopes. Video scopes will assist us in the color correction process by allowing us to objectively analyze the luminence and color information in a clip. Let's analyze the clip in our timeline with a few of the scopes available to us in Final Cut. So where I bring up my video scopes is from the View menu, and I'm going to choose to Show Video Scopes. And we can see that we can actually bring that up by pressing the command seven key.
Once I do, I get a Luma Waveform that appears here on the left hand side, and what this is is my shot broken down into luminence values, or, if we picture that this was a grayscale image. Your scale, as you can see, is in IRE, it goes to negative 20 and up to 120. But for a broadcast safe image you essentially want your darkest shadows to fall around the zero mark. and your brightest highlights or whites, to be around the 100 mark.
Now notice what happens when I move my playhead across. We can actually see that the scopes here are moving, and I can get an idea that this is actually my subject here, in the viewer here to the left. So this is actually displaying my image from left to right. If I were to break down an image into luminence, I would break it into this scale. Your shadows exist from zero to ten. Your midtones exist from ten to 90. And your highlights exist from 90 to a hundred.
Essentially, everything affects everything else, but this is just the general guidance for how the luminence works in your image. You may also see that there is some color information here, it's revealing you the R, G, and B, or the red, green, and blues, but primarily you're going to use this waveform to measure luminence and change the contrast in your image. Let me now go to the Gear icon, and we're gonna take a look at one more waveform.
But notice there are actually a couple different scopes that you can go to, as well as different channels that you can look at. I'm curious at looking at this as an RGB Parade, which is gonna show me the red, green, and blue channels seperately, as well as the luminence values existing from negative 20 to 120. So here we can see my image divided into red, green, and blue. We get a sense and if I move my playhead across, where my image is lying in the subjects.
And a great reason to read these scopes is to find out if your image is white balanced, or not. If you had a color cast that was in this image, let's just say that you were shooting outside and there was a blue tint to the image, or you were shooting inside and there was a red tint, you could try to line up your R, G, and B, in the RGB Parade, to balance the shot. In fact, it's this RGB Waveform Parade that Final Cut Pro uses to automatically check for balance for color.
So we can see those shots and then our, again, our luminence levels from zero to 100, that's what we're trying to do to aim for broadcast safe. And let me now just show you a few more of the video scopes. I'm gonna go back to the Gear icon, but this time I'm gonna choose Vectorscope. Have you ever seen a color wheel in Final Cut Pro, when making a change to text? Well, it's similar here, and the Vectorscope is great for measuring saturation in an image.
You can see here you've got your red, your green, and your blue, as well as three other colors that are around the color wheel. The more further out I go on the color wheel, this little white blob here, the more saturated the image is. So the more it actually extends, also on this arm, people commonly refer to this as the skin tone line. So we can use this as a guide to see if the subjects has healthy skin tones in our shots.
Another thing that we can use this for, again, is finding out how much saturation is in our shot, in order to grade and color correct it. But here, this Vectorscope is great for checking how much saturation is in the shot and how close, down here, it would be considered white. Let's look at our final video scope. So I'm gonna go back to the Gear icon, let's check out the histogram. And this can be used to reveal statistical information about our shot. that is, how many red colors lie at a particular midtone, so to speak.
So I can see here, I'm at 25, and how many reds exist at 25 in the midtones? Closer to zero we're looking at shadows, so it would show me how many red, green, and blues are in the shadows. As well as here, at 100, I'm looking at the highlights in the image, how much red, green, and blue is in the highlights. So it gives me an overall statistical view of my shot. I can look at this as an RGB parade, but also, the alternative is to look at it as an overlay.
So seeing those red, green, and blue channels stacked on top of each other, to get a sense for the color information in a clip. In a little while we're gonna use all of these video scopes to balance the color in our shot, as well, as to increase the contrast. But you, in 10.2, is your ability to take some of these video scopes and show them at the same time. So if I go to the View menu, you'll see right now I'm just looking at one video scope.
If I wanted to, I could change my layout to see two, horizontally or vertically, I could choose to see three, and even more. Let's just choose to see two right now, so that our interface doesn't get so clogged up. Now I have the ability to see the Vectorscope, as well as my Luma Waveform, giving me that luminence information about my shot, the Vectorscope showing me saturation information in my shot. If I wanted to, I could also change the way this layout is working between my video scopes and my image.
If I wanted to, I could change this horizontal layout into a vertical layout. I'll just go back to the View menu and choose to display this as a Vertical Layout, And you can see now that my two video scopes are down here, underneath the image. While it might not be so handy to have two, especially on a laptop, you can always go back to the View menu and choose to just display one. Now I'm back at my RGB overlay. Now on top of this, another new feature under the View menu is your ability to change the Brightness value of your video scopes.
I'm gonna just drag this slider over here to the left to show you that you can have them either faint, or a lot more bright, depending on where you are color grading your images. Now, in the next few videos, we'll see how all of these video scopes come together.
- Evaluating the shot with video scopes
- Automatically fixing white balance
- Adjusting contrast
- Adjusting color
- Working with compositing modes and masks
- Applying filmic looks and effects