THE BEST CINEMATIC LUTS FOR VIDEO
The article tells you about so called Look-Up-Tables and their role in video editing. Learn about cinematic LUTs and how to apply them to your footage in various softwares.
Cinema is a world of wonder. Attractive visuals that keep audiences glued to the screen are fascinating for all. However, besides the actors and cameramen, the film editors help create this magic on-screen. But how do these editors transform raw footage to something so appealing? Cinematic LUTs play an indispensable part in helping them do so.
TEAL AND ORANGE LUTS
As stated before, tweaking parameters like color contrast is crucial for obtaining an appealing visual. A major component of adjusting color contrast is modifying teal and orange. Teal and orange are complementary colors. While they are antagonistic to each other, their combination creates perfect contrast in images to make them look completely balanced.
Special Teal and Orange 3D Color Grading LUTs are available these days. They have been used to edit several movies as well. Using such LUTs, editors can create a lot of depth in a visual. Teal and Orange 3D Color Grading LUTs separate the subject from the background effectively.
These LUTs are used to create orange skin tones and to push other color components towards teal coloration. In this way, a simple system to create contrast is established, even when the scene contains hundreds of colors altogether.
WITH ONE CLICK
WITH ONE CLICK
PERFECT SKIN TONES
Lookup tables can also facilitate the reshaping of skin tones on the editing table. Editors often use existing footage from movies or other sources and emulate them in terms of skin tones by using special Skin Tone color grading LUTs.
It is crucial to get the skin tones right when you are preparing a video that has loads of shots with people in them. When you use LUTs for this task, you can soften the images and change the intensity of shadows to get a perfect scene.
Skin tone LUTs, just like many others, are a popular choice amongst editors. They are also available for free on many online platforms.
CREATING A UNIQUE LOOK
The cinematic flair that we witness in movies is due to the application of some great creative LUTs. Applying LUTs transforms an image completely. If you follow the workflow well, you are bound to get impressive footage in the end. Fine details are tweaked in this process, and this makes a major impact on video quality.
Moreover, as we discussed before, LUTs are just one aspect of footage processing. Take an image enhanced by LUTs as your starting point. Then, build on this image to get your final video footage. LUTs, when combined with rigorous secondary processing, have worked wonders in the field of cinema.
LUTS FOR VIDEO
LUTS FOR VIDEO
SAVE HOURS OF EDITING
We discussed the concept of normalization and how difficult and time-consuming it is to manually remap all aspects of an image. Similarly, the results that we get by applying a LUT can also be obtained manually. However, since it requires a lot of time and effort, no editor would prefer to do so.
Besides the role of LUTs in creating an appealing atmosphere in a scene, they are crucial when it comes to saving the editor’s time and effort. By using LUT's, editors can obtain high-quality post-processing results by investing only a little of their time.
PROFESSIONAL COLORS IN SECONDS
LUTs are an interesting editing tool that can be used effectively by both professionals and beginners. While professional editors have enough experience to perfectly adjust footage manually, they will pick a creative LUT to do the task any day.
Moreover, cinematic LUTs are great for recording professionals as well. When they record log footage, they can instantly apply a LUT and check whether their input footage is good enough to be transformed by editing or not.
While beginners do not have many other options, learning how to apply a LUT while editing is a skill that will help them throughout their careers, it is easy to learn. LUT files are compatible with almost all prominent video editing software.
FOR ALL CAMERAS
COLOR SPACE AND PICTURE PROFILES
The color space of any device is the range of colors that it can deal with. Be it a printer, a camera, or a monitor, all these hardware devices have a set color space. However, the color space of the image obtained from any of these devices can be edited.
Picture profile is a parameter in several cameras that helps in adjusting the colors in an image while shooting. While editing, you can make such adjustments with nonlinear editing software to get precise image profiles.
When it comes to styling log footage, editors use creative LUTs. Creative LUTs give the editor access to a vivid color palette. These LUTs are commonly used in movies to give the scene a certain mood.
Conversion LUTs are primary LUTs that are used in converting the log footage into a standard profile. Most commonly, they convert log images into the Rec709 profile.
WHAT IS A CUBE LUT VS A 3DL LUT
LUTs can be available in different formats. A common file format for 3D LUTs is .CUBE. In this format, you get creative LUTs that are compatible with different video editing apps. Moreover, these LUTs work well with several color grading programs and NLEs.
.3DI files for LUTs are another popular format in which these tables are available. The .3DI format contains 3-Dimensional effects that can be placed over log footage.
FOOTAGE TO LIFE
FOOTAGE TO LIFE
WHAT IS LOG AND REC 709
Log or Logarithmic footage is the flat footage that is usually recorded and needs editing. Log footage is not meant to be displayed without editing. The log footage makes the shadows, highlights, and whites more precise. The only thing missing in log footage is color grading.
One of the most popular color spaces is Rec709. Footage with a Rec709 color space has a linear color range. Therefore, Rec709 is considered the standard color space. Unlike log footage, Rec709 footage has colors.
CINEMATIC LOOK IN-CAMERA
To record cinematic footage with your regular digital cameras, you need to adjust some parameters. Obtaining cinematic-style footage is not entirely dependent on post-processing.
The Director of Photography should have a good grasp on the technical side of cinematography. For instance, the DOP should know what lens (and t-stop) to use to obtain the desired depth of field.
Lighting also plays a crucial part of filmmaking. Without great light you will find your LUT looks flat without contrast. So invest in a good Gaffer and Best Boy.
During video editing, the use of special cinematic LUTs transforms ordinary footage completely. These LUTs offer cinematic color grading and the preset color profiles help in emulating the profiles of cinematic stock footage. Overall, using LUTs can help you produce splendid footage with impeccable and cinematic visuals.
CREATING THE FILM LOOK WITH EASE
A LUT that codes for the transformation of plain log footage to a visual that has a cinematic look is called a cinematic LUT. Cinematic LUTs have been used in the post-processing of several blockbuster movies. They are responsible for the magical aura of movies that leaves us awestruck.
WHAT IS A LUT?
A Look-up Table or a LUT is a simple file containing preset color profiles used to transform different colors in the footage separately. LUTs save time as they simply contain codes that change an input color value to a different color and gives us a color-graded output.
USING LUTS IN FINAL CUT PRO X
Final Cut Pro X is one of the most popular video editing software used by many editors. While version 10.4 of Final Cut Pro X is compatible with LUTs, you will need to install plugins for applying 3D LUTs in older versions.
The first step is to choose the clip that you want to edit from your timeline.
Next, you need to go to the effects browser and select the color category option. Finally, you need to choose the Custom LUT option. It will enable you to drag in your LUT files.
You then need to go to the video inspector option and select the custom LUT that you want.
You can easily browse your device to search for the LUT that you require. Moreover, it also provides you with an option to stack different LUTs together, which you might wish to use while editing.
Since 3D LUTs are added as part of the Final Cut Pro X effects, the LUTs can be re-ordered and enabled to appear before any other effect that you have applied.
USING LUTS IN AFTER EFFECTS
When the Effects and Presets menu is visible, search and choose the LUT option in it.
You will see the Apply Color LUT feature. Drag and drop it on your footage.
A dialogue box will appear, from which you will have to select your custom LUT.
It will successfully apply the LUT to your clip.
USING LUTS IN ADOBE PREMIERE PRO
Adobe Premiere Pro is another good option for editors to use in order to apply LUTs to their log footage. The following steps need to be followed to apply 3D LUTs in Adobe Premiere Pro:
First, load the footage in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Next, go to the Effects tab and choose video effects from the menu.
Choose the color correction feature and add the Lumetri Color effect to your clip.
After applying color effects, choose the Effects Control tab and add a 3D LUT of your choice.
To choose a creative LUT, go to the 'Creative' option on the menu. Then select 'Look' and finally 'Browse' to search for your LUT file.
Choose your LUT, and it will get applied to the clip.
USING LUTS IN DAVINCI RESOLVE
On the Davinci Resolve homepage, select the Project Settings menu.
Go to the Color Management Section and select the Open LUT Folder option.
Select your custom LUT and drag and drop it on your clip.
USING LUTS IN ADOBE PHOTOSHOP
After opening Adobe Photoshop, access the Layers panel.
Select the New Adjustment Layer option and add a Color Lookup Adjustment Layer.
Click the Load 3D LUT option twice. This will open a dialogue box from which you can choose and apply your LUTs.
HOW TO USE LUTS?
Understanding the concept of LUTs is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using them for visual editing. Here is the workflow that you need to follow to use LUTs for perfectly enhancing your footage:
The first thing that one needs to understand before choosing and applying a LUT is its purpose. Using the right LUT at the right place is very crucial for successful video editing.Of course, LUTs do create magic on screen, but that doesn't mean that they will be a good addition in every segment of footage.
Coming to the application part, always remember to normalize the footage (by recording in a LOG profile) before proceeding with LUT usage. Make fine adjustments to the saturation and exposure in your log footage first.
Normalization produces a workable image. While it is possible to normalize an image manually, it is usually a cumbersome process. You can use software that will re-map the entire image for you, after which you can proceed with the LUT application.
The next step in the ideal LUT workflow is to perform color correction. Color correction involves modifying parameters like temperature, light, contrast, etc. to get the most balanced form of the image. If you are recording the video using any latest DSLR camera, your footage is already normalized.
Even though normalization makes the image workable, there are always disturbances in contrast when the image changes its form from the log footage to the normalized visual. Hence, you need to perform color correction before applying the LUT.These adjustments will help you obtain the perfect color response. Color correction is crucial because Lookup Tables (LUTs) can only perform their function when the input fed into the table is good. If the input is distorted, the output will never be satisfactory.
Now we come to the main part the application of the LUT itself. Once you get a finely balanced image or footage, it is time to use it as your starting point to create a cinematic visual. We will teach you how to use LUTs in different software later in this article.
Our purpose of applying LUTs at this stage will be to enhance the color grading of the image. Moreover, cinematic LUTs are only a single weapon in your arsenal to edit footage. Do not stop at this stage. Give your footage what it needs, over and above LUTs, too.
After applying a creative LUT, you might have to tweak some parameters to get a good final image. This process is called a secondary correction.
STEP UP YOUR