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VECTORSCOPE THE MAGIC OF SKIN TONES The Vectorscope has a magical property that still amazes me to this day. It’s the line that goes up to the left. That’s called the “skin tone line” and it is essential for color correction and skin tone matching. Let’s compare these same two scenes on the Vectorscope. Unlike the Waveform Monitor, which allows us to say things like: “the left side of the image is darker than the center,” the Vectorscope has no ability to display where colors are located, simply that the colors exist. Here’s the secret: skin doesn’t have a color! As you know from getting cleaned up in the morning, dead skin is gray. What gives us color is not our skin, but the red blood under our skin. Skin determines our gray-scale, but blood determines our color. And that line represents the color of “red-blood-under-skin.” The Vectorscope displays two values for each color: • Hue is displayed by the angle of the color, where red is near the top and other hues rotate clockwise around the circle from red to magenta to blue to cyan to green to yellow and back to red. • Saturation is indicated by the distance a color is displayed from the center. The farther away from the center, the more saturated the color. Look at this example. Her skin color is parked right on the skin tone line. In this example, colors are medium-saturated, with all the colors contained in a range from brown through yellow and leaning toward green. There’s no blue or magenta anywhere in the image. In this example, her skin color is also parked right on the skin tone line. Their color is identical, but the gray-scale values are not. The skin tone line enables easily spotting skin color problems as well as matching skin tones between actors. Compare the waterfall picture with this mountain picture. Look at how saturated and blue the image is. So much so that there’s virtually no other color in the image. SUMMARY Video scopes enable us to analyze our images, fix problems, match colors and enhance our scenes. The key is to know the strengths of each scope, then use them to help you figure out what’s wrong with your images so you can make them look great. NOTE: A cool tip that helps with color correction is Now compare both those pictures with our cold winter forest. There is the barest hint of leaning toward blue. But, essentially, there is no color in the image at all. that every shade of gray (including black and white ) forms a single dot in the center of the Vectorscope. By definition, gray is totally unsaturated, while a color in the middle of one of the small boxes next to a letter is defined as totally saturated. KITPLUS - TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 98 FEBRUARY 2015 | 49