This tutorial is about using your Vectorscope and Waveform monitor to balance a shot with a cast, like this image which comes from a Viper camera.
In order to see each color channel (R, G and B) set your waveform monitor to PARADE.
The waveform monitor displays the luminance of the picture from left to right. It tells you the amount of brightness. Since we set the waveform monitor in PARADE mode it shows us for each separate color channel next to each other.
As you can see the blue channel is very low in the highlights and the green channel is to high. The idea is to have all channels at about the same level for the white background.
The first thing to do is to adjust the highlight balance. By removing green/yellow in the highlights we can level the R, G and B channel.
In the vectorscope you see that the vector gets closer to the “skin tone” line
A vectorscope represents a color circle and shows you how saturated your image is and what colors it contains. The line with the arrow represents approximately skin tone and is often used to check if the skin tone is correct. The amount of saturation should never exceed the middle of the boxes for R, Mg, B, Cy, G and Yl, since this could create artifacts and problems on other devices like transmitters.
Next we adjust the highlight luminance level of the whole image. In the waveform monitor we try to stay close, but under the 100% level. If we go above 100% we will introduce clipping and loose detail in our image.
As you can see the blue channel is lower again and we need to adjust this. This happens usually, since it’s hard to get the highlight balance exactly correct when the luminance is lower.
A small adjustment to the highlight balance and white area’s R, G and B is level again.
Now let’s adjust the black level by lowering the luminance in the shadows. Again we don’t want to loose detail, so we need to stop when we reach 0%. As you can see there is a slight green cast in the shadows. If we look at the waveforms under 20% the blue channel is a bit low again and the green channel is the brightest.
A slight adjustment to the shadow balance removes the green cast and we have a pretty clean image. This is a good starting point for adding a look to your image.
© 2011 Nikolai Waldman