LUTs are much more versatile than you think. With a little help from Lumetri Color, you can get your footage looking just the way you want it.
When first starting out with LUTs, you may think they are a “band-aid” solution for your color grading woes. Applying one might either make your footage great or turn it into a saturated mess — so you end up going through your entire catalog of LUTs just trying to see what works.
Instead, think of LUTs as a starting point for color grading and correction. They’re not “one size fits all” — most videos will need correction to get the desired look. So, let’s dive into how you can customize your LUTs in the Lumetri Color panel with PremiumBeat’s Charles Yeager.
2 Types of LUTs: Corrective and Creative
There are two types of LUTs that you should be aware of — corrective and creative. Corrective LUTs transform one picture profile into another, such as turning LOG footage into a REC.709 color space. This accurately converts color information to the true-to-form color from the original capture. Documentaries and corporate videos usually stick to this space.
Creative LUTs transform footage into a stylistic color palette. Films and narrative videos tend to stylize the color of their projects to fit the mood of the story. This is usually the last step in the color correction and grading phase – it is to be applied after you have corrected your footage and transformed it into a REC.709 color space. Some Creative LUTs can actually both correct and stylize – transforming footage from a LOG space, while stylizing the color at the same time.
Getting Better Results From LUTs
LUTs will never be a cure-all. I got into a pretty lazy rut with my color grading for a while — I would take my LOG footage, slap a LUT on there, and if it didn’t work, I would move right over to the next one to see if that one worked. I wasn’t correcting my footage after applying the LUT.
The best way to do that is to place your LUT in the Creative tab of Lumetri Color. Compared to the Insert LUT tab of the Basic Correction section of Lumetri, the Creative tab allows you to either intensify or reduce the power of your LUT. You will probably have to adjust the intensity of the LUT for every clip, since the color space for each individual one will always be different.
After you settle on a nice LUT for your clip, head into the Basic Correction section of Lumetri Color and adjust some of the settings that will correct your footage to the right specifications.
This includes shifting the White Balance, Tint, Temperature, and Exposure of the clip. These three settings can completely change the feel and context of your clip. For example, if you apply a M31 LUT on top of your clip, it’s going to change the color space to a heavy teal-orange tint. If the clip is too orange-heavy, you can adjust the temperature of your clip to add more teal back to the clip.
Exporting Your LUTs
If you are happy with the small adjustments you’ve made to your clip and want to save those settings for future similar clips, you can export them into their own individual LUT. To export, go to the top right of the Lumetri Color panel, and click the three dashed lines next to the title. From there, you can export a .cube file, which you can import at any time on any other clip. It’s pretty handy when you’ve put a lot of work into a grade you really like and want to save it for later.