Color Grading: Selective Vectorscope

Keep skin tones natural and improve project cohesion with the Selective Vectorscope

The Selective Vectorscope Color Grading tool allows you to view the color profile of the current frame in your clip. The Selective Vectorscope shows information about the current frame’s color. At any time, you can limit what is displayed on the vectorscope to an area of color in your clip by selecting it using the selection brush. This is particularly useful for checking skin tone accuracy or measuring other color consistencies across clips.

Correct color shifts between clips to keep skin tones looking natural, draw attention to objects, improve project cohesion, and ensure that your color saturation is optimized for TV broadcast, or online viewing. The Selective Vectorscope can also be used to ensure color consistency of other objects across your project. If a subject always wears a red coat or carries a blue umbrella, shifts in those colors caused by different cloud cover, lighting or color adjustments can be monitored and adjusted by comparing the positions of that color on the Selective Vectorscope.

Selective Vectorscope

The line between red and yellow on the Selective Vectorscope is the Skin Tone line, which allows you to quickly and effectively check for the accuracy of all skin tones in your footage. All skin types should fall along this line if you want them to look realistic. If you notice a shift away from this line, manipulate the colors in your footage until they draw back towards the Skin Tone Line, reducing the sense of detachment between clips caused by variations in warmth and lighting. You may not always want or need skin tones to fall on the skin tone line, as dramatic warm or cool lighting may call for a unique balance of colors that will shift your skin tones. While editing, decide on a case-by-case basis if the selective vectorscope should be taken into consideration when color-correcting clips.

A reference for 100% saturation for Red, Magenta, Blue, Cyan, Green and Yellow is shown at the centre of each color section with a small target. As you increase the saturation in your clip, the hues will increase towards these target points. Avoid boosting any of the colors beyond these 100% saturation limits, as you are likely to have inaccurate colors once you export your video project.

The outer targets show the limit for TV broadcast safe levels – usually 75% of total saturation. If you are editing for TV broadcast it is wise to check your footage doesn’t fall beyond these 75% limits, as your edit may be automatically rejected for broadcast, and you’ll need to re-edit your project.

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How to use the Selective Vectorscope

  1. Open the color grading control panel

    You can open the color grading controls for any clip by selecting clip, and then clicking ‘Editor’ on the timeline, or double clicking on the clip you’d like to make adjustments to, and select the ‘Color’ tab to open the color grading window. Any tab can be selected, as video scopes can be displayed at any time.

  2. Display the Selective Vectorscope

    Select ‘Vector - Color’ from the Video Scope dropdown menu near the top of the color grading control panel. Ensure that you’ve clicked the checkbox ‘Show Video Scope’, and the selective vectorscope should be displayed to the right of the active color grading control panel.

  3. Make desired adjustments

    The Selective Vectorscope will automatically display all the colors in the current frame, and can be used as-is to recognize a need to shift the color or tonal levels within your video using the color grading control panel of your choice. Correct skin tones by shifting the temperature or color in your video until they fall along the skin tone line!

    The Selective Vectorscope is also a great way to measure the consistency of your color grading adjustments across clips. Paint the areas you want to compare for color consistency on both clips using the selection brush, and any color difference between the clips will be reflected in the scope.

    It’s important to review your corrections to ensure that your color grading adjustments have not thrown off the balance of color in other areas of your footage, or taken the color saturation above optimal levels for your intended audience. Check this by comparing the Selective Vectorscope’s display of color against the saturation targets for online viewing or TV broadcast.

  4. Keyframe your changes (optional)

    Keyframing your color grading adjustments is not always necessary, but may help to ensure consistency through any natural variations in lighting and scenery that occur over the duration of your footage. Enable keyframing by clicking on the diamond beside the tone curve display, and add keyframes to fine tune the timing and strength of your adjustments over the duration of your clip.