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Using the Vectorscope in Final Cut Pro

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/30/2010

Learn the basics of Final Cut Pro's vectorscope and how it is used in color correction.

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    Getting Into Editing

    Many home video editors and digital video producers overlook the importance of image control in their post-production projects. It is important to really go through and take a look at image clarity, contrast, and quality when putting together the final project. Color correction and brightness are essential parts of the video editing process and should never be overlooked. This is why Final Cut Pro, as professional editing software, has included in depth tools to be able to see numerically what exactly is happening with the color of your image. Once of these tools is the Vector Scope.

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    The Final Cut Pro Vector Scope

    The Vector Scope is essentially used to measure color. It is a circular measuring device the breaks up the color spectrum into six areas: Red, Magenta, Blue, Green, Cyan, and Yellow. When your image is being measured on the vector scope you will have a complex machine of indicated lines and points that will inevitably migrate slightly into the direction that your color is in. For example, if there is a large amount of green in your image or the entire image has a green tint it will be much close to the Green section of the vectorscope.

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    Employing the Vectorscope for Color

    To get the vectorscope to show up in Final Cut Pro you start by going to Tools. From here you select Video Scopes, which will bring up a four-panel window of different readouts. Each of these Video Scopes will come in handy for color and contrast correction, which includes Vectorscope, Histogram, RGB Parade, and a Waveform Monitor. There will be a pull down menu next to Layout that currently reads All. Select this and choose Vectorscope, which will isolate the vectorscope and allow it to take up the whole window.

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    Final Cut Pro Color Correction

    The vectorscope may be one of the most important tools in Final Cut Pro for color correction. Select the clip you want to work on and bring in the 3 Way Color Corrector onto it. You will see the reading that your clip has on the vector scope so you know where the prominence in its color scale is. Once you read that a color is dominant in the vectorscope and you wish to counterbalance this you are going to want to increase the amount of the opposite color. This opposite color in this additive system is the one that is directly across from it on the vectorscope. So, for example, if you want to reduce a dominant yellow you may want to add some more blue. From here you will have to decide if you want to focus more on the blacks, the whites, or the mids. The likelihood is that you may want to try to define a pure black and white using the dropper tool and then adjust the actual color of the mids so that they repair what is in the vectorscope. This is all dependent on your purpose in color correction, and there really is no wrong answer.