The key to many great films and videos is the talent and skill that lies behind the editing effort. Oftentimes, post production editing can actually make or break a video. There are two crucial and essential tools that every video editor needs in their tool box and that is a vectorscope and a waveform monitor.
When you have learned, and fine tuned, your basic editing skills, it is time to put these tools to work for a polished and professional looking video production. Basic grasp tools are often forgotten in favor of filters and other effects in an attempt to bring some immediate bang to the video. Both the vectorscope and the waveform monitor are no easy tools to understand and deploy but an experienced professional editor will tell you that you can’t ignore these essential tools.
The main focus of these tools is color saturation, contrast and brightness. As an experienced editor knows, what your audience will see isn’t necessarily what you are seeing on your post production screen. Quite often it can be much more complex than the simple calibration of your monitor. You need these tools to calibrate the correct brightness and saturation because your immediate editing environment can greatly affect how you see the images and colors. Your colors will look different being in a dark room as opposed to a studio with plenty of natural light coming in from the surrounding windows.
The vectorscope will tell you where all of your pixels are on the spectrum and how saturated the image really is. Looking at your overlay, inside the circle you will see some boxes representing colors in the spectrum that are marked; R (red), Mg(magenta), B(blue), G(green), Cy(cyan) and YI(yellow). The saturation of a pixel will fall withing the circle with the highest color saturation located near the edge of the circle. This is how you can begin to truly distinguish what your true colors are. Where your pixel is lying within the boxes will give you the proper color reading. From the initial readings you are, then, ready to make any adjustments.
The waveform monitor will focus on luminance of images. Running the side of the monitor will be a series of numbers indicating color, as well as the signal’s intensity, or IRE, with 100 being pure white down to 0 which is pure black. The brightness on the right side of an image will correspond to the readings on the right side of the waveform monitor.
Using both of these tools can allow you to get the brightness and the color saturation perfect in every image to enhance the overall appearance of any video presentation. Sometimes, it’s the small details that can make the difference between a good video and a great video.
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