What are LUTS and How to Use Them

One of the biggest mistakes everyone does in the film industry, is over using luts. Many believe that lut is a magic one click solution that will immediately turn the terrible footage into a Hollywood blockbuster. I am going to break things up for you guys, especially for those who thinks its a magical solution to all problems.

What is LUT ? A LUT “Look Up Table” is a mathematical value chart, turning one hue into another. To break it down even more, LUT takes one color and contrast, and turning it into another one. For example LUT can turn original blue color into teal after application. Yellow into orange or red and etc.

Many filmmakers download or purchase LUTS from all over the place and just apply them to their footage, thinking one of those LUTS going to make magic. WRONG ! LUT will not make your terrible footage looks great. Film Look, that many filmmakers after, is set prior to filming. Proper lighting, camera technique, the color palette and wardrobe are all carefully selected prior to filming. LUT is not a magic answer to terrible cinematography or directing.

If you are applying LUT, make sure to do so in the beginning of the grade or at the very end. I personally prefer to do so at the very last node, if you are using Davinci Resolve. Always start by balancing the image first, in the first node. A key to successful grading is balanced image.

Always Remember that LUT’s are not final preset, its a building platform. Don’t try to force certain look for the video, that haven’t been shot for it. Don’t try forcing “Transformers” look to overexposed DSLR day shot. Remember, the final look of the film is determined in PRE-PRODUCTION

Examples of Properly Matched LUTS to the Footage







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Aram K

Photographer, Cinematographer, DI Colorist at FILM LUT
Fashion, Portrait and Commercial Photographer.
DI Freelance Film Colorist.
San Diego - Los Angeles - WorldWide