01 June 2020

5 Reasons why you should be using LUTs

Conversion and Creative LUTs

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Types of LUTs

LUTs are a must have for any experienced or emerging filmmaker. They are used to easily create quality colors passed on from color grading experts in their field, through a LUT file. LUTs are compatible with Premiere Pro, Photoshop, DaVinci Resolve, and many more.

Before we start, we want to explain something. There are generally 2 types of LUTs to use in video editing:

Conversion LUTs

Used by Professionals & Beginners.

These are mostly used for color correcting Log color space back to a standard color space (Also referred to as Rec709 or Rec2020) that you would generally find on all cameras as the standard color. For example when you open up your iPhone camera, you will see a standard real-life color.

Log is mostly used by professionals to achieve a higher dynamic range to maintain more details in the shadows and highlights. For example when shooting in a sunny location, you may have a bright sky and some dark shadows, your aim is to capture all details in both the highest and lowest exposed areas.

Using Log color space will need a heavy color correcting process to bring your colors back, but you will gain a great benefit from maintaining all detail usually lost when shooting standard color space.

This is where Conversion LUTs come in handy to help convert your HDR footage back to a standard or creative look.

Creative LUTs

Used by Professionals & Beginners.

These are used for introducing the creative colors that give your video a unique tone or look. Also known as Creative, Film or Cinematic LUTs.

Creative LUTs generally have a wide range of styles like moody, summer, cinematic, vintage and much more.

These LUTs are used in many ways and by many people. In this article you will find out what type of people use these LUTs and why.

They are used by professionals and beginners in uses cases such as color grading, transferring colors from one program to another, adding an overall tone to your film, speeding up your editing workflow, coloring your films with tight deadlines, adding to camera monitors to see a live look at what your grade may look like and much more.

Creative LUTs are one of the most powerful tools in video editing today and you will find out why below.

1. Perfect for Youtubers, Instagrammers, Business Owners & Enthusiasts

There are many content creators out there that are not professional Videographers/Filmmakers or have the interest in becoming professional. But they have a social media platform, a YouTube channel or business they want to build by creating their own videos.

Videos are a HUGE part of social marketing in 2020 as they can portray such a unique and powerful message to millions of people around the world.

Not everyone wants to be an experienced Videographer or Filmmaker or even learn the time-staking process of color grading. Because let's admit, it's a career and art in itself to be a Colorist. Some people jsut don't have the passion or skill in them to learn to color correct or color grade. Many people just want to be able to place nice colors on their videos to speed up their workflow and make their videos look nice. Colorists are bridging the gap to help these types of creators to enhance their colors.

This is why LUTs are amazing for a huge range of people from professionals to beginners:

  • Business Owners
  • Youtubers
  • Instagrammers
  • Tik Tokers
  • Snapchatters
  • Pinterest
  • Family Videos
  • Videographers
  • Photographers
  • Video Enthusiasts
  • Pet Videos

LUTs are also usable on all footage. For example, you can use LUTs on iPhone footage, any smartphone footage or any camera whether it's beginner or professional. All you need is have editing software that supports LUTs, which all of the best video editing software supports them.

Here is a list of software that is fully compatible with LUTs:

davinci resolve, final cut pro x, vegas pro, premiere pro, after effects, photoshop, filmora, lumafusion, avid, pinnacle

Recommended editing software for beginners:

If you're after a nice easy editing program to start out with, we would highly suggest using Filmora or Davinci Resolve.

Filmora is a great piece of kit for editing videos, they have made editing very simplified for users to learn how to edit videos. It also supports our Film LUTs too so you can even color grade using our LUTs in Filmora. It does come at a small price but it's super simple to use.

DaVinci is a bit more on the professional side, so it's a little harder to learn but it is super powerful. It's used by the biggest professional color graders in the world on Hollywood feature films and series that you would have seen.

There is a free version and also a paid version. The free version is fully suitable for semi-pros and beginners. It also includes an editing section where you can edit your videos. It has developed to being one of the most loved editing platforms in 2020.

Our favorite recommended editing software for professionals and enthusiasts:

Our recommended color grading and editing software for professionals and enthusiasts:

Click here to read our tutorials on how to use any of our LUTs:


2. Experienced & Emerging Filmmakers

Film LUTs are a must-have for any experienced or emerging filmmaker. They are used to easily create quality visuals which give any project a professional finish. Also they are suitable for giving your film an overall tone of color. There are many ways to do this, please check our Tips & Tricks tutorial to see many ways professionals can use our LUTs.

LUTs are compatible with Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Davinci Resolve, and many more. They’re perfect for any videos which you want to give a specific look or feel.

production value

Many use cases for LUTs are:

  • Color grading using Creative LUTs
  • Color correcting using Conversion LUTs
  • Using LUTs on your camera monitor to get a live look
  • Transferring a set of colors from one editing software to another without having to recreate them.
  • Monitor calibration on Computers, Laptops and Camera Monitors

Read more on use cases of LUTs:

Use Cases of LUTs

3. Versatility - Log Conversion

They’re ultra versatile. LUTs and can be used to convert Log footage back to Rec709 standard, making Log color profile a lot more accessible to those without years of experience with color grading. Log color space is mostly used by professionals to gain a higher dynamic range, to maintain the shadows and highlights in contrasted environments. Log footage is notoriously known to be difficult to color grade without experience, especially the likes of Sony SLOG with an unusual color science and tough to achieve correct skin tones. So now conversion LUTs help get past that painful process of color grading Log footage. Conversion LUTs are used by many professionals and beginners to make this step much more simple.

Once the footage is converted to Rec709 from Log, it is compatible with many LUTs including creative LUTs. Creative LUTs generally hold the cinematic and stylish colors for placing on Rec709 standard color footage. Rec709 is the standard color profile for most cameras and therefore is the simplest to work with.

Please find a list of our specialized conversion LUTs that are designed specifically for the camera Log profile to convert to a natural clean look here:

4. Color grading projects with a tight deadline

Whether it is lifestyle, personal or for a client, some projects can take some time to edit. Some projects have a super quick deadline, sometimes editing over night!

This is where LUTs come handy. Most professionals have had it where their client says they want to video asap, but they don't realize how long it takes to edit a video! It takes much longer than they think. But you still want to deliver a nice project, color grading can take quite a bit of time to go through all clips and make them look good and maybe you just don't have the time.

Using LUTs have been a life saver in the past for us as Filmmakers. Making the footage look colorful without having to spend precious time coloring all the shots. Of course for some projects we want to color grade manually but this will take time and usually happens on projects where the client has given you time or you have deep passion in making something look as good as it can be.

To please the client, get the project done on time and have beautiful cinematic colors then LUTs help with this process. Applying a LUT is super simple and only takes a few clicks.

Also many Filmmakers sometimes have those projects that you just don't want to spend time on like internal private tutorial videos or boring event videos for corporations. It's best to just whack a cinematic LUT on and give it a finishing overall tone that works really nice. Happy client, happy filmmaker. More time, more money.

Film LUTs are the most efficient and hassle-free method of quickly editing high quality footage. As filmmakers we know how time-consuming editing can be, particularly when attempting to create a cinematic look. With a LUT, grading can be done in around 10 seconds with just a few clicks of the mouse. Even a more detailed edit with adjusting colors can be done a few minutes. Cinematic LUTs are an incredibly fast way to produce a colorful production.

5. High production value

Think of LUTs as experts spreading their knowledge of color grading, through a LUT file. They apply all the hard work so you don't have to. Of course to make it fit perfect with your camera footage (as all cameras are different) then small adjustments may be needed to achieve optimal results but this is much easier than doing the color grading process all by yourself, especially if you are just not into learning how to color grade yet, or you simply don't have the time. Especially if you need to learn the complicated color grading tools which are not easy to get your head around when you haven't used them at all.

Some people just want to be able to add color to their videos of cats or babies that they upload to Instagram, or even a Youtuber who has other more important things to do than sit and learn color grading. It is a career in itself, people live their whole lives learning how to color grade.

Although it's a great skill to learn, there just will be a huge amount of people who just are not interested and want decent colors quickly.

The professionals in feature films even use LUTs. So don't  get mistaken that only people who don't want to color grade use them,  they are used on the whole spectrum of Filmmaking.

The professionals use them mostly to have a 'look' on the monitors they use so they get a rough idea on how the film will look when the final grade is done. LUTs are basically just a small file that tells the computer to change one set of colors to another. So the knowledge from the pros can easily be saved into this file and transferred to everyone who uses them.

Although LUTs are a simple quick way of achieving colors, we do suggest learning to color grade eventually as you will learn a whole bunch of how to make your LUTs look better, or even create your own LUTs. Again this is another step to take in the future once you have time to jump into it.

red camera operator

Combining Film LUTs Together

One of our favorite things about LUTs is that they don’t just have to be used on their own. Any combination of LUTs can be worked together to create all kinds of unique and stunning colors.

Try pairing the Filmic Tone Film LUTs Pack with another pack from the Complete Filmmaking Bundle: Cinematic LUTs and Lens Flares, to create a masterpiece which is completely original and unique.

Finding a unique combination of colors will help you stand out from other creators. It's common to see content creators have a specific style of colors and editing styles. Combining Film LUTs can help you achieve this. You can learn how to combine Film LUTs at this article below:

Combining LUTs

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