What Are Scopes in Video Editing?

Scopes in video editing are essential tools that help editors analyze and manipulate the visual elements of a video. They provide valuable information about the color, brightness, contrast, and other attributes of the footage. Understanding scopes is crucial for achieving professional-looking videos and ensuring accurate color grading.

Why Are Scopes Important?

Scopes act as a guide for video editors by providing objective measurements of the visual elements in a video. They help ensure consistency in color grading across different shots and scenes. Scopes also assist in identifying issues such as overexposure, underexposure, color casts, and saturation problems.

Scopes enable editors to make informed decisions about:

  • Color correction
  • Exposure adjustment
  • White balance
  • Saturation levels

The Different Types of Scopes


The vectorscope is a circular graph that displays the hue and saturation levels of the colors in your video. It helps identify color imbalances or shifts and allows you to make precise adjustments to achieve accurate skin tones or create specific moods.

Waveform Monitor:

The waveform monitor displays the luminance levels of your video from black (0%) to white (100%). It helps you ensure that your footage is correctly exposed by preventing underexposed or overexposed areas. The waveform monitor can also assist in controlling contrast levels within your video.


The histogram provides a graphical representation of the distribution of brightness levels in your video. It helps you analyze whether your footage has a balanced exposure or if it suffers from crushed shadows or blown-out highlights. The histogram is especially useful for identifying and correcting exposure issues quickly.

How to Use Scopes in Video Editing

Step 1: Import your video footage into your video editing software.

Step 2: Open the scopes panel or window in your editing software (usually located under the “View” or “Window” menu).

Step 3: Familiarize yourself with the different types of scopes available and their respective controls.

Step 4: Start by analyzing the waveform monitor to ensure proper exposure. Adjust the brightness levels of your footage until they fall within the acceptable range (avoiding clipping of shadows or highlights).

Step 5: Use the vectorscope to check for any color imbalances.

Adjust the hue and saturation of individual colors if necessary, aiming for natural-looking skin tones and a visually pleasing color palette.

Step 6: Refer to the histogram to identify any extreme brightness or darkness in your video. Make adjustments as needed to achieve a balanced distribution of brightness levels.

Tips for Using Scopes Effectively

  • Familiarize yourself with industry standards: Learn about broadcast-safe colors, legal video levels, and Target color spaces to ensure your videos meet professional standards.
  • Cross-reference different scopes: Use multiple scopes simultaneously to cross-check and validate any issues found in one scope against another. This helps ensure accuracy in your adjustments.
  • Save and export presets: Once you’ve achieved the desired look, save your scope settings as presets. This allows you to apply the same adjustments to other videos or maintain consistency throughout a series of shots.

In conclusion, scopes are indispensable tools in video editing that enable editors to analyze and manipulate various visual elements. By understanding and effectively utilizing scopes, you can achieve accurate color grading, proper exposure, and a visually pleasing final product.