Using LUTs in my editing workflow

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  • Because I’m in post production on my current project, I’m going to talk a little bit on how I use lookup tables (LUTs) in my workflow.

    According to Wikipedia, a 3D LUT remaps the color space of your image.  Traditionally, LUTs were used on high end monitors by editors and colorists to replicate what a project would look like once outputted to film.  LUTs are now being used by digital filmmakers to achieve a more filmic color space with their footage, especially when shooting in Log formats.  (Log is a flat, low contrast, desaturated image similar to the Technicolor Cinestyle.  However, if shot in RAW format, true log footage retains its integrity better than Cinestyle.)

    Recently, VisionColor (the group responsible for the VisionTech picture style I reviewed in my last post) came out with a bundle of LUTs for $49.  I’ve begun working with these LUTs on my latest project to quickly give a baseline for my footage.  I do not like the idea of a “quick fix” in color correction or color grading because there is no one program or plugin that can fix or improve every clip of footage.  However, the Osiris LUTs are a fast and simple way to attach a high quality look to your footage that replicates the quality and color space of film imagery.  Their website goes in depth on their color capture process, and for $49, it’s a steal what we’re getting.

    Check out this trailer for the bundle:

    For me, I add an adjustment layer in Premiere Pro over all my footage with my desired LUT before even color correcting.  That way, I’m color correcting to my baseline look and don’t have to do it again once my look is applied.  To apply a LUT in Premiere, you must download LUT Buddy from Red Giant Software for free.  If you’re using After Effects, there is a LUT effect built in.  Having the LUT in an adjustment layer lets you adjust the opacity of the LUT for the entire sequence so you can control how strong the look is.

    Below I’ve I’ve tested several LUTs from Osiris and other free sources I’ve found on the web.  Check them out and let me know how you use LUTs in your workflow.  (FYI, you can also use LUTs in Photoshop.)

    Canon 5D Mark II; Canon 50mm f1.8; CINEMA picture style by John Hope; Neumann Films 35mm film grain at 30% opacity

    CINEMA picture style

    with the Vision 6 LUT from the Osiris bundle (50% opacity)

    Vision6

    with Hunter’s LUT (30% opacity)

    Hunters LUT

    with Fuji3510 (50% opacity)

    Fuji3510

    with Nashville (50% opacity)

    Nashville

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  • 3 thoughts on “Using LUTs in my editing workflow

    1. Hi. Thank you very much for the article. Don’t you have yo first do a basic color correction like white balance before applying the LUTs? That’s what Osotos redo,mendsa on their website. I think it makes sense because if you don’t have correct white balance the LUT itself will shift the color information anyway in addition to the incorrect white balance. After that you can do your secondary color correction such as contrast, shadows, etc

      Thanks

      • I work under the assumption that the shots were correctly exposed in the field. However, often with Canon and Zeiss lenses (my lenses of choice), highlights are easily over exposed, especially in interview footage when you are exposing for faces. LUT’s then tend to exaggerate such problems. So, I do corrections to the LUT. In addition, what you mention above is treating the LUT as an easy, 1-pass grade rather than a baseline look for your footage. I do shot matching to the LUT to ensure continuity at that point rather than having to redo it later.

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