Using Scopes Versus Looking at an External Monitor

There are two pieces of information that you have available to work with while performing color correction: the readouts displayed in the Video Scopes tab, and the visual image as displayed on your NTSC or PAL broadcast video monitor. Each has advantages and disadvantages; you’ll want to use both equally to determine what needs to be done.

The Final Cut Pro video scopes are very good for showing you quantitative information about the relative distribution of luma, the balance of different colors, the amount of saturation, and the range of color that exists in your clip. This information can help you decide how to adjust the controls of the color correction filter being used and spot details that you may not have noticed in the picture.

The Importance of Using a Properly Calibrated Broadcast Monitor

When using Final Cut Pro color correction filters to adjust the color, blacks, and whites of clips in your sequence, it is essential to always use a properly calibrated broadcast video monitor to view your adjustments as you’re making them. Only an NTSC or PAL broadcast monitor allows you to see the color and brightness of your video as it truly looks. The image on your computer display, in comparison, does not show the color, blacks, or whites of your video clips as they will appear during broadcast. For this reason, the color of video on your computer display should never be used as a reference when performing color correction.

The video monitor you use should be a professional broadcast monitor rather than a consumer television set. Television sets have special filters that are meant to make video coming in off the airwaves look more attractive. These filters can cause your video to look more vivid than it really is, fooling you into making incorrect color correction adjustments.

Important: Make sure to always calibrate your broadcast video monitor to color bars, as described in Using Color Bars for Video Calibration. Otherwise, you may be incorrectly modifying the color, blacks, and whites of your clips to compensate for an incorrectly adjusted monitor.