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Color Grading Footage in After Effects with Lumetri

Joshua Noel

Learn how to color correct your video with the new Lumetri Scopes in After Effects.

Cover image via Shutterstock.

With the addition of Lumetri Scopes in After Effects, color correcting and grading footage is easier than ever for AE users. The update provides the four essential scopes: histogram, vectorscope, parade, and waveform. After Effects users can now accurately match light levels and color information in their shots. While DaVinci Resolve and even Adobe Premiere Pro are still the go-to options for correcting and grading, video producers who do compositing work can now keep a larger portion of their workflow in After Effects.

Here’s what you’ll take away from our video tutorial:

  • How to use Lumetri Scopes
  • What multiple color correction filters can do for your footage
  • Understanding how to color correct for skin tones

Let’s get started.


Understanding Lumetri Scopes

If you have never used scopes before, here is a quick breakdown of each scope.

The Waveform Monitor

Color Correcting Video with Lumetri Scopes — Waveform Monitor

With a typical display of 0-100, the waveform measures your shot’s data and lays it out across the display. Information at 0 IRE (Institute of Radio Engineers) is black pixels, or clipped information. Data that peaks at 100 IRE is white, or blown-out information. Essentially, the waveform displays the exposure across your shot.

A good rule of thumb when correcting for lighter skin tones is to keep the highlights around 70 IRE.

The Vectorscope

Color Correcting Video with Lumetri Scopes — Vectorscope

The vectorscope measures chroma in the shot. It displays the red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, and magenta values. Depending on your shot, you’ll see the data favoring certain areas of the vector. For example, if your shot includes a grassy field, the data in the vectorscope will lean heavily toward the greens. When you saturate your image, the data will pull outwards to the edges of the scope.

The Parade

Color Correcting Video with Lumetri Scopes — Parade

The parade is best for correcting multiple shots in the same sequence. The parade usually displays in RGB, which shows the dominance of each color. With the parade, you can easily balance the color in your shot and monitor how it matches up with the other shots in your scene.

The Histogram

Color Correcting Video with Lumetri Scopes — Histogram

Similar to the waveform scope, the histogram displays your luma and RGB from 0 IRE to 100 IRE.


Tips for Great Color Correction

Even though you may be a motion graphics artist or a compositor, when you are color correcting and grading footage, you are a colorist. Your job as a colorist is to put the final touches on the story. Your grade needs to set the final mood and ensure that there are no distractions from shot to shot. Scopes make sure your video is good across all displays and that the end result is broadcast legal. There aren’t many wrong answers when it comes to grading. It’s important to create your style and make sure you deliver what the client wants.


What’s your opinion on color correcting and grading footage in After Effects? Let us know in the comments.

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