07 Sep 2019

How to understand waveform and vector displays

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How to Understand Waveform and Vector Displays How to Understand Waveform and Vector Displays Shutterstock


RedShark Replay: One from the archives. Gone are the days when a light meter and a trained eye was enough; to do better, we need technological measures and test & measurement equipment.

Weekends at RedShark are brought to you to you in association with Adorama, our worldwide retail partner. Adorama is always a great place to go for video, audio and photography products. It always has a massive range in stock, and is always competitive.

Traditionally, digital stills cameras provide a Histogram display which indicates what proportion of the image is at various levels of brightness. While useful, a histogram is a very different – and arguably less comprehensive – way of analysing an image than the more traditional Waveform Monitor, which has its roots as a piece of test equipment used in video facilities and television studios. It provides not only a guide to brightness, but also information on the position of the subject which is at that brightness, as well as other features. Finally, the Vectorscope is a colour analysis tool which was originally intended to allow engineers to fine-tune the performance of analogue tape decks with reference to colour bars, but which may still find application both on set and in the grading suite as a means of assessing whether colours are oversaturated or poorly matched from shot to shot.

We'll use this image of a city street at night (from our NEX-EA50 review) as an example, as it has high contrast and saturated colours:

demo still 

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Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes is a Cinematographer, Technologist, Writer and above all Communicator. Never afraid to speak his mind, and always worth listening to, he's a frequent contributor to RedShark.

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