How To Use A Waveform Monitor

A waveform monitor is a special type of oscilloscope used to measure and display the level, or voltage, of the lines of a video signal over time. The light in a scene is translated to voltage with brighter light showing as higher voltage.

Many videographers shoot beautiful video without ever learning how to use a waveform monitor or vectorscope. Since many professional cameras now have these instruments built into the camera, it’s worth understanding how to use them. They can only improve your shooting. Think of your waveform monitor as a light meter whose job is to help you get the right exposure. It’s a step up from zebra bars.

Features of Waveform Monitors

Larger productions will often have a waveform monitor and vectorscope. Originally, these were separate devices. Today many waveform monitors include the function of a vectorscope. With the transition to digital video, waveform monitors offer additional features. Some waveform monitors include a picture mode. This places the video picture on the screen like a video monitor or television. Other waveform monitors support the audio portion of video. The audio is either embedded in the video or obtained from separate audio inputs. Video metadata such as timecode, closed captions and more can be displayed on some modern waveform monitors.

Editing software such as Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro offer their own built in scopes. There are also software-only waveform monitors which use a laptop or desktop computer such as:

Scopebox for Mac
4K Scope from Drastic TV
Multiscope Lite for PC from Rumble House.

Aside from managing video exposure, a waveform monitor is also very useful for matching multiple cameras at the same location.

The following 3 minute video shows you how to use a waveform monitor.

This is what Color Bars look like on a waveform monitor.
How To Use A Waveform Monitor

Now that you know the basics, practice using a waveform to make better video. For HD video, good exposure is very important.


Keep Reading...

Video Marketing

Digital Video Marketing Is $135 Billion In The US

The size of the video marketing industry may surprise you. It is larger than TV advertising.

Read More

A Brilliant Marketing Video For Young Girls

Barbie dolls have often been criticized as a poor role model for young girls. There were comments about Barbie’s unrealistic body standards and a Computer Engineer Barbie who required the help of her male counterparts to get rid of a virus. And there were many other accusations made against Mattel who produced the Barbie doll. […]

Read More
Last VCR

The Last VCR

The last VCR will be manufactured July 2016 by the Funai company. The VCR created a revolution in how we watch TV and video.

Read More
Cine Squid Car Mount

Drive-by Shooting: Car Shots with the CineSquid Car Mount

This video shows you how to make car shots without spending a fortune. These shots work in so many types of films.

Read More


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Forbes Magazine calls VideoUniversity one of the best business-to-business sites for digital video production.
  • WINNER
    Videography Magazine's
    "Website of the Month" Award
  • WINNER
    PC Magazine Online "Best Desktop Video Site" Award
  • WINNER
    CyberFilm School's "FOUR STAR" Award