To access the dynamics and internal degrees of freedom in a spin-1 system we present experimental implementation schemes for initial conditions and read-out methods to access the spin projections. For probing non-equilibrium dynamics in spatially extended systems these are essential to identify the underlying processes and relevant degrees of freedom. In our experimental system we employ a quasi-one-dimensional Bose-Einstein condensate of 87Rb in the F = 1 hyperfine manifold to tackle these questions. While the only transformations of a spin-1/2 systems are rotations around the three spatial directions, spin-1 particles possess more degrees of freedom. To control their internal state this work provides a set of methods to manipulate both the spinor amplitudes and phases. Furthermore, to access all eight orthogonal spin-1 projections by Stern-Gerlach imaging along a fixed direction different read-out schemes are presented. By applying these techniques spinor phase rotations are implemented which enables controlling of the spin length. This technique is then extended to the spatial domain for generating spin waves. Finally, the read-out methods are applied to measure quadrupole projections in long-time quench dynamics.