[Tig] why vectorscopes aren't that useful for color matching

Marc Wielage mfw
Sun May 21 04:25:52 BST 2006

Thanks to oktobor for supporting the TIG
On 5/20/06 1:24 PM, "glenn chan" <glennchan at gmail.com> wrote on the TIG

> To my
> eyes, the trace on the vectorscope is ambiguous as to which part corresponds
> to a neutral color.

No, it's not ambiguous at all, if you know what to look for, based on
experience.  Again, it's a question of knowing what to make purely white,
black and gray in the image, and then when to let the overall color shift in
one or more directions.  Both the vector and RGB waveforms are very helpful,
first to set up a starting point for the initial color correction, and then
to keep things in the same direction, scene to scene.

Keep in mind we're trying to interpret what's actually on the negative (or
whatever image source we're dealing with), but also attempting to give the
client what they want to see.  The latter is by far the most important thing
we do.  Again, the results are what matter -- not how we get there.

> Because I work with software-based color correctors (mainly on the NLE
> side), that spoils me.  You don't need a vectorscope for color balance when
> you can eyedropper everything.  Matching colors is best done by eye.  That's
> my experience anyways.

I've worked in three different kinds of color-correction environments:
real-time HD/SD (using daVinci 2K and Pogle), non-linear Lustre/Colossus,
and non-linear Avid & FCP.  I found the NLE's far less productive and more
frustrating to use than the other two, but I readily admit that each system
has its own advantages and disadvantages.  I have the same criticism about
people who attempt to mix sound on Avid or FCP systems; to me, you're better
off using a dedicated tool for this job, like Pro Tools.  Sure, you can do
some limited sound mixing and color-correction inside a program designed
mainly for editing, but in my opinion, it's not the fastest or most precise
way to go.

Before you judge our working methods, I suggest you sit in a daVinci bay and
try using a Vetorscope and Waveform monitor for a day (assuming you've never
done it before).  I bet you'd find the experience very interesting and

--Marc Wielage/Senior Colorist
Technicolor Creative Services
Hollywood, USA

NOTE:  The comments above are strictly mine, and may not necessarily
represent those of my employers.

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