One thing that I’ve never quite understood about Adobe After Effects is why it doesn’t come straight from Adobe with a full mix of built-in video scopes. The application does so much and is sometimes used as a finishing tool, yet Adobe has never added scopes. Software scopes are a reality, included in everything from Final Cut Pro to Premiere Pro. After Effects even comes with Synthetic Aperture’s Color Finesse LE but that color correction tool has to be opened in its own interface before you can gain access to its scopes.

Enter Scopo Gigio from Meta/DMA. This $125 tool adds a floating video scope window to After Effects that includes both a waveform and a vectorscope (there’s also a version for Photoshop).

It’s not an effect that you apply to a clip but rather a floating palette that you open via the Window menu. Scopo Gigio will change to reflect the clip or composition that is selected in the Project pane. And, of course, the scope reflects the playhead in the After Effects timeline. It doesn’t seem to update in real time when you’re in playback mode; you have to release the mouse button when working with grading tools to see it update. But it’s easy to overlook those shortcomings for the simple pleasure and benefits of using scopes while working in AE.

The company says it’s full featured and it really does have a lot of options. Here are a few (from the Scopo Gigio product page):

  • Full-featured waveform monitor and vectorscope
  • For Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects
  • NTSC and PAL color systems
  • SDTV and HDTV color spaces
  • RGB adn D1 video levels
  • IRE, Volt and RGB displays

Scopo Gigio is available for both Mac and Windows platforms with versions for After Effects and Photoshop CS3 – CS5. And like all good useful tools a demo is available. So until Adobe builds some scopes into After Effects, Scopo Gigio looks like a nice, affordable alternative.