The Lumetri Scopes in Premiere Pro are among the most important tools you can use while color correcting your footage. An incorrectly calibrated computer monitor, distracting ambient lighting in your room, and even the color of your walls can affect how you see color in your footage. By monitoring the Lumetri Scopes — which display color information about your image — while you color correct, you’re guaranteed more accurate results.
Sure, you can properly black out your room. You can paint your walls neutral grey and invest in a monitor calibrator. But these things take time and money that you may not have, or they may just be out of your control, so the best thing you can do is learn how to understand and use your scopes to get the best color results possible.
Setting Up Your Scopes
To open the Lumetri Scopes panel, you can go to Window > Lumetri Scopes, or you can choose the color workspace (either by selecting the color tab or by going to Window > Workspaces > Color), which will open the Lumetri Color panel and the Lumetri Scopes panel.
The wrench icon at the bottom of the Lumetri Scopes panel allows you to select which scopes you would like to monitor while making color adjustments. You can choose to view as many of the scopes as you prefer at once, up to all five. Some are read vertically, some horizontally, but all contain data that aids in your color correction or grading process, which we’ll go over next.
The wrench tool is where you customize your scopes to your desired settings. You can select which scope you want to view and/or remove unwanted scopes, as well as choose which type of parade or waveform you want to use (more on those below). There are presets for certain scope setups, and you also have the ability to create your own custom setup. The last settings are for your color space, and for the brightness of your scopes on the screen.
The vectorscopes display the hue and the amount of color in an image. This scope looks a lot like a color wheel, with red, magenta, blue, cyan, green, and yellow indicators around the outside. When you adjust the color hue and intensity, the pixels will expand outward as the image becomes more saturated, and contract inward toward the center if the image is closer to black and white (aka “grayscale”). The color indicator boxes are there to tell you if your colors are within the legal broadcast limits.
The HLS vectorscope displays hue, lightness, and signal information in a circular display, and the YUV also displays a circular graph, similar to a color wheel, that shows the chrominance information of your video.
The histogram reads the brightness and tonal values of the image, specifically the highlights, midtones, and shadows. It’s a visual representation of the image’s tonal information turned 90 degrees counterclockwise, essentially (in Photoshop it’s not turned). The scale starts at 0 (pure black) and goes to 255 (pure white). The histogram gives you the global or overall tone levels, as well as the individual red, green, and blue channels. You typically want to keep everything between the two ends of the spectrum.
Best time to use it: When using your RGB curves or your basic color correction tool to make adjustments to your levels (highlights, midtones, and shadows).
Just like the waveform monitor, the RGB parade shows you the color’s intensity levels, but with an isolated view of each color channel — red, green, and blue — read from bottom to top. You can set the parade type with the wrench and choose from RGB, YUV, RGB-White, and YUV-White parade types, but for most jobs, you’ll be fine using RGB.
Keep the color information within the upper and lower limits, just as you would with the histogram.
Best time to use it: When using your basic color correction tool to change your white balance/color temperature, and/or when using the RGB curves tool when matching colors between several shots.
Like the histogram, the waveform shows the intensity of both the luminance (brightness) and chrominance (color) levels of an image, depending on the waveform you choose. Unlike the histogram, however, the waveform displays the levels of each pixel in its location on the image. It also displays the IRE units (the scale to the left). The range starts at 0 (black) and goes to 100 (white).
You can choose which type of waveform you’d like to see: the RGB waveform, which shows the RGB signals overlaid for their respective signal levels; the luma waveform, which displays the brightness of shots and the contrast ratio; and the YC and YC with no chroma, which display the luminance and chrominance in the former, or just the luminance in the latter.
The chrominance shows you all three red, green, and blue channel levels as a composite.
Best time to use it: Any time you’re adjusting the brightness of the image, and/or when using the RGB curves tool for grading.
Your understanding of what’s possible with your footage from a color standpoint will grow exponentially once you learn how to use the scopes on your projects, leading the way to more experimental and creative coloring in the future. Don’t underestimate your scopes!
Have questions about using Lumetri Scopes? Let us know in the comments!