Set Up Scopebox for Color Correction

How I Set Up Scopebox for Color Correction

December 14, 2013

In this video learn how a professional colorist configures the affordable software scopes, ScopeBox, for image evaluation to speed up color correcting.

Day 14: 20 Insights in 20 Days Holiday Marathon

How I Set Up ScopeBox for Color Correction

This Insight is a follow up to ML0048 – where Robbie Carman demo’ed the ScopeLink feature in Scopebox… which gives you on-board scopes for Premiere Pro, After Effects and Final Cut Pro 10.

What Is ScopeBox?

ScopeBox is a software product from Divergent Media that, among other things, provides a fully featured set of Waveforms, Vectorscopes, Surround Sound decoding and more. Each of these features is contained in a Pallete – and it’s possible to have several of the same Pallete exposed but configured slightly differently.

At the low low price of $99, all of this adds up to a set of software scopes that is more configurable and more customizable than competitors 50 times it’s price.

I’ve been using ScopeBox as my primary scopes for several months now. It’s interface has been set up to several different configurations, but I’ve finally tweaked my ‘pallet configuration’ in a manner I like.

Setting Up ScopeBox
I this Insight, watch to learn how I set up Scopebox for Color Correction. We’ll go on a tour from my initial set-up, plus several different configurations to my current configuration – which I’m real happy with.

About ScopeBox 3.3.4
I want to point out two new features in the latest update to Scopebox:

  • Auto-detecting and auto-switching to the incoming frame-rate and frame size of the source signal. It’s only available on specific Decklink hardware – and since my ScopeBox setup is based around the Kona 3, I can’t demo this feature. But for those of you who might run ScopeBox on Decklink, this is a HUGE  feature you’d normally have to spend $2,000+ to gain.
  • 4K input support: On the Decklink 4K capture card.

Member’s-Only ScopeBox Discount

Divergent Media is offering a 20% discount for paid Mixing Light members.

If you have an active Mixing Light subscription then log in to see that discount on this page. Non-members can sign-up for our free 7-Day Test Drive.

Questions? Comments? Tips?

Do you have a favorite set of Scopes? Have you taken ScopeBox for a spin or are thinking about it? Is there another set of Scopes you’d like us to tackle? Use the comments below the video to ask questions, share your thoughts or offer a tip. Team MixingLight enjoys interacting with our members and we want you to share your thoughts.



37 thoughts on “How I Set Up Scopebox for Color Correction”

  1. That was great Patrick. For Resolve you’ll still need a separate Mac to run scopebox, is that right? Can you also touch on the difference between ‘internal’ scopes (Like Resolve’s scopes) Vs. External scopes (Have I used the correct terminology to explain this?)

    1. Vincent,

      Correct. On Resolve you need Video I/O to feed the image out of Resolve into ScopeBox. In my case, a Decklink card is going out from my MacPro via SDI, into an SDI Distribution Amplifier that has one input and four outputs. One output goes to my reference monitor, another goes into the SDI input of a 2nd computer (MacPro with Kona 3). But this is all possible using Thunderbolt or HDMI – if you’ve got the right combination of hardware. For instance, a Decklink Ultrastudio.

      RE: Difference between Internal vs External Scopes – Internal takes some real-time functionality away since the CPU has to generate and draw the scopes. External verifies that the signal out of the CPU being fed into the display is accurate… since both are getting the same signal.

      1. Hey Patrick,
        I wanted to ask you advise about my set up.

        I have a Decklink 4k extreme on my computer. Two SDI goes into the FSI and from there other two sdi goes (through the Box I/O and the aja Hi5 4k sdi to hdmi converter) into an UHD LG oled.
        The Decklink also has an hdmi output and I was thinking to use it for feeding a BMD mini monitor hdmi to thunderbolt, into my mini mac to run Scope box.
        My question: does the mini recorder will have issue with an incoming 4k signal?

        Do you have any advise about my set up?

        Thanks in advance.

  2. I want the HML! I was thinking of getting a Mac Mini and running the SDI out from my Flanders into it (via the BMD Ultrastudio) to use Scopebox. Does this seem like a good setup? The one thing I’m worried about is lag, as even the built-in scopes on the Flanders are a little annoying to use because of the delay. (I work in Resolve and use a Decklink SDI to get the signal to my Flanders.)

    1. The setup you describe is very common and should work very well. Any lag you’re seeing now in your external monitor will likely be replicated in Scopebox. I’d investigate the various tick-boxes that may help reduce lag from within Resolve’s Project settings.

      BTW – unless you need and Ultrastudio – you can take the output from your Flanders and feed that into the MacMini using the less expensive BM MiniMonitor which takes SDI and turns it into an input for your MacMini (just like the Ultrastudio, but only one way).

      1. MiniMonitor takes 4:2:2 SDI. Would that cause some issues when the reference monitor is meant to be fed with 4:4:4 signal? Are there any benefits of feeding 4:4:4 signal into the scopebox?

        1. I use an SDI Distribution Amplifier to take a single SDI output and feed the reference display and the Mini-Monitor separately, without looping one through the other. That’s my recommendation. But you could loop out your reference display into the MiniMonitor and you won’t have to worry about downsampling the 444 signal on the other side of the MiniMonitor.

          I’m not sure that Scopebox itself reads a full 444 signal? If so, you’ll get some more detail compared to the subsampled signal – but I’ve never had this be a problem. If I legalize based on the 422 signal I’m almost certain to catch those elements being down sampled.

  3. Hey Patrick, is it possible to run scopebox on the same machine as Resolve? Let’s say the configuration is a Blackmagic ultrastudio, a thunderbolt display and a Flanders display. Is it possible or I need something else? Many Thanks

    1. Hi Christopher – At this time the only apps that ScopeBox can get a live feed out of and run on the same CPU is PremierePro, After Effects and Final Cut Pro 10. Outside of those apps, it has to run on a separate computer and you’d either loop out the Flanders to feed Scopebox or pull one of the additional outputs from the Ultrastudio to that second computer.

  4. I am about to make the change to scope box and I want to make sure I have my hardware right.

    I have a new Mac Pro which I am using the Decklink Studio 4K which I send one HDMI signal to my client TV. I took one of the SDI and used a blackmagic SDI to HDMI converter and that goes into my HP Dreamcolor. I have an old 2009 Mac Pro tower that is updated just sitting around. Can I add a decklink mini recorder to that old computer to use Scopebox or do I need a different piece of hardware?

    1. Chris – The mini-Recorder should work just fine. You’re talking the little box, right? Dan has a point about being sure ScopeBox can see the HDMI input for your graphics card. An email to the ScopeBox team should clear up any sticking points. But basically, this sounds correct.

      I will say – I decided to splurge on a new Mac Mini to save on power consumption… and save it does! Running just my base rig, my Power Conditioner and Battery Backup runs at 50% capacity with Resolve running. With my 2008 MacPro running ScopeBox, it’s running at 102% capacity. With the new Mac Mini, using the Mini Recorder and Scopebox? 54% capacity.

      That’s a lot of power savings and leaves headroom for something like an GPU expansion box for Resolve.

  5. Hey Chris,

    I’m not a scopebox expert but I think the Mini Recorder will work but make sure you buy the PCI express based version not the thunderbolt version! I actually didn’t know that the PCI express version existed until right now when I looked it up so hopefully it’s shipping!

    Robbie or Pat may be able to offer more on this area but I can’t wait to start using Scopebox myself.


  6. BTW, just a word of caution: you need to jump through a few hoops to make sure you’re running Scopebox in 10-bit mode. There is almost nothing in the manual on this, but Divergent Media support can talk you through the setup. Suffice it to say that not all Macs can handle 10-bit material, since it depends on graphics processing; 8-bit is not enough to do reasonable color-correction work (at least to me). The newer Mac Minis have no problems. Note also that the BMD MiniRecorder tends to run very hot. There are some quirks to Scopebox’s software, but given that the alternatives from Leader, Tektronix, and Videotek cost about $20,000 more, I’ll put up with them.

    1. ScopeBox also has its use for DIT on-set, specially for those unable to invest in a $6,000 hardware scope.

      Myself and several colleagues I know use ScopeBox on-set with Pomfort – LiveGrade for color management, defining the look of the film and monitoring during the preproduction and production stages of the film.

      The interesting fact about this set up is the simplicity of running ScopeBox in a second monitor from a laptop computer that has an HDMI out. I use the Mac Pro Mid 2015 just for that, and a desktop computer for data management and dailies. For this to work the internal Mac monitor configuration preferences need to be set up to “Use as Separate Display, instead of Mirror. The user only has to drag ScopeBox window into the second monitor. There is no need to use a second computer to run ScopeBox under this configuration. Any computer monitor or inexpensive reference monitor can be used for this task.

      The current video I/0 configuration I’m using is Blackmagic UltraStudio 4K. Previously, I used the BMD thunderbolt UltraStudio Mini Recorder in combination with the Mini Monitor. ScopeBox panels are set up for 10-bit. I never have had a temperature issue with the thunderbolt UltraStudio Mini Recorder.

      The downside of the UltraStudio Mini configuration is that it uses both thunderbolt ports, while the UltraStudio 4K only uses one port for the I/0. However, the difference in prices makes the Mini configuration desirable, specially if the computer is only used for color management.

      The downside of the Ultra 4K is the terrible noise level, up to 77dB SPL the internal turbine makes while dissipating the heat.

  7. I am just getting setup with Scopebox right now. Wow! It’s amazing and super fast on the 2.6ghz mac mini! I can already see how useful it will be. How are you able to get Resolve to output SDI embedded timecode? Premiere does it just fine, but I am unable to get it working in Resolve even after scouring the manual, menus and boards.

  8. I just purchased Scopebox and I am excited to see it in action. Problem is that it isn’t working. I have included a couple pictures to help me explain and hopefully someone has a solution. I have two mac trash cans that are maxed out. My main trashcan is my main computer and is where I have all my main applications including DaVinci. My left and center monitors are hooked up to the main trash can via firewire. My reference monitor (Flanders CM250) is also hooked up to my main Trash can via SDI to my Decklink 4k extreme 12G. My second trashcan has scope box on it. My right monitor is connected to the 2nd trash can via firewire. I had hooked up the 2nd trash can to the DeckLink via HDMI. I don’t have an SDI to Thunderbolt mini converter. I will purchase one if needed but I would rather save the $195 . HAHA Anyways Scopebox isn’t seeing the Decklink. Any suggestions would be amazing. See you at the Colorist Mixer in Vegas in a few days.

    1. I’m pretty sure for the 2nd computer to see the input as a video source you’re going to need a decklink product that’ll do that for you. But I’ve emailed Mike at Divergent to see if that’s true in your case. I’ll get back to you as soon as I hear back.

    2. Hey Sean,

      This is mike from divergent media. If I’m understanding correctly, you’ve connected the HDMI out of your resolve decklink into the HDMI port on the back of the ScopeBox mac? If so, that’s not going to work unfortunately. The HDMI connection on the trashcan is output only. You’ll need some kind of capture device – the cheapest option would be the blackmagic mini recorder connected to the ScopeBox mac via thunderbolt.

      Let me know if that doesn’t answer your question. Feel free to email us directly at [email protected] – we really do answer (and quickly).


  9. I have been using ScopeBox on-set for while with Live Grade Pro. However, I’m going to be using it for Davinci Resolve as my main scope. What is the Mac Mini minimum requirement specifications to run ScopeBox with this configuration?

      1. Hi Patrick – Thanks.
        I did that. The recommendation I have from Colin McFadden at Divergent Media is that although an old 2014 MacPro can do it, a Mac Mini 2.6 GHz with 8 GB minimum is recommended

Leave a Reply

Hundreds of Free Tutorials

Get full access to our entire library of 900+ color tutorials for an entire week!

Start Your Free Trial