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Old April 26th, 2007, 04:24 PM   #1
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Scopes Hardware based or Software based?

I've been trying to teach myself more about color correction and have been reading a couple books on the subject (if anyone can reccomend books on the subject, please do).

The one I'm reading now talks about how Software based scopes can't match up to hardware based ones but are improving all the time.

Since it was written a couple years ago I was just wondering how far software based scopes have come along. Are they adequate or do they still have a long way to go?
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Old April 26th, 2007, 05:10 PM   #2
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I'm sort of in the same boat as you, being pretty new to color correction. But what a time to start, eh, with Apple's new Color coming bundled in FCS2? For teh most basic on digital color correction, and I do mean basic, I would recommend the Peachpit Press Advanced Color Correction book in the Final Cut training series. I've been dealing with the hardware and software based issue myself, but sticking to the software because of the price tag of HDSDI scopes.

It all comes down to the IRE level. Software is emulating what scopes do from digital information. They are not officially reading NTSC 7.5 IRE levels, they are creating their own version of color info from the digital footage, and then translating that onto a digital scale, that goes from 0-100, then up to 119 in the superwhite depending on what scope you're looking at. To make a long and confusing story short, you're correcting the same thing but using distinctly different tools. For broadcast, officially, you absolutely should be using an external waveform because it is properly calibrated. However, if you train yourself well enough, you can do the same basic job digitally.

In my opinion, save your money, get a nice big CRT, and practice practice practice. Scopes are just tools, but a nice CRT, grab a sony PVM***L2 before they're all gone, is the closest you get to a perfect viewing space. I'm all LCDs right now, saving up for a sony BVM HD-CRT, and it's awful. LCDs just aren't there when it comes to color. Hope that helps.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 10:47 PM   #3
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the sequel to the "Advanced Color Correction" book is the "Ecylopedia of Color Correction" ... might be worth a look
http://www.amazon.com/Apple-Pro-Trai.../dp/0321432312
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Old April 26th, 2007, 11:24 PM   #4
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Oh, and for those really lonely nights, you can get the deets on pixels inside and out from Poynton's Digital Video and HDTV Algorithms and Interfaces:

http://www.amazon.com/Algorithms-Int...647649&sr=11-1

This text is definitive, but truthfully it is not really meant for humans to read. But when you're in a real bind, the techy answers lie inside it's hard orange binding.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 12:20 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Poritsky View Post
In my opinion, save your money, get a nice big CRT, and practice practice practice. Scopes are just tools, but a nice CRT, grab a sony PVM***L2 before they're all gone, is the closest you get to a perfect viewing space. I'm all LCDs right now, saving up for a sony BVM HD-CRT, and it's awful. LCDs just aren't there when it comes to color. Hope that helps.
Well, they weren't there. I saw the Sony demo of the new Luma Series 2 LCD. They had a clever set up. You step into a blackened area and look at 3 screens. Only one of the three was a CRT, the others were the new LCD. I finally picked out the CRT, but it took about 5 minutes of watching the demo stuff and even then I wasn't 100 percent sure.

CRTs are going away and it's time to get used to working without them. Fortunately, LCD technology is getting very, very close these days. The Sony rep told me they were awarded something like 37 patents on the new monitors.

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Old April 27th, 2007, 01:03 PM   #6
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Unfortunately it looks like you can't get the Sony PVM....L2 CRT monitor new, and it's difficult to find one in good shape used.

Can anyone recommends an LCD monitor?
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Old April 27th, 2007, 10:17 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by John Travis View Post
I've been trying to teach myself more about color correction and have been reading a couple books on the subject (if anyone can reccomend books on the subject, please do).

The one I'm reading now talks about how Software based scopes can't match up to hardware based ones but are improving all the time.

Since it was written a couple years ago I was just wondering how far software based scopes have come along. Are they adequate or do they still have a long way to go?
By "hardware based" I assume you are referring to an external waveform or vectorscope that needs to be connected by cables.

The hardware scopes are still for the most part better then any software scope I've had the chance to work with. But that's a difference that might not be a factor in your editing needs. For most editing, the scopes that come with FCP should be enough to do basic to moderately advanced color correction. A live capture scope program like "Scopebox" has better scopes but the response time and image detail is still lower then a hardware scope device.

While nearly everything in the video world has gotten better (and usually more features for less money), waveform monitors and vectorscopes have remained in the same price range with only small advances in features. I'm still using the waveform I bought 18 years ago for $1500, it works great. A similar replacement is still around $1500.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 11:13 PM   #8
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CRTs are going away and it's time to get used to working without them. Fortunately, LCD technology is getting very, very close these days.
-gb-
Sadly you're right Greg. Not that I'm against moving with the technology, but many companies are phasing out the CRTs without there being a real replacement for them LCDs are getting closer, but they just aren't there for advanced color correction. To make matters worse, our industry is in a bit of a delivery mess, between HD DVD, Blu Ray, EDTV, SD, Tube TVs, Plasmas, Projectors, iPods, AppleTV, etc. ad infinitum! The burden of the colorist is now how to emulate all of those viewing experiences at once.

The general rule of thumb has been to go with the most detail and accurate colors, which is where CRTs come in. But most viewers televisions aren't even properly calibrated, and the blacks come out differently in plasmas, so you have to be careful to ensure viewers receive optimal experiences. Anyway, I have a Luma, and it's pretty sexy looking when I move it around on it's mount arm, but can I do colors on it? I have an 8" JVC I pull out every once in a while for critical color stuff. (I'm saving up for a BVM)
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