June 27, 2013

How to Get Your Canon 5D Mark III RAW Footage Looking Like Arri Alexa

Suffice it to say some lucky, happy campers here at NFS have recently (finally) gotten their hands on a refurbished Canon 5D Mark III. Substances will surely flow in the not-too-distant future -- and by substances I think I mean "footage." We recently came across an overall-helpful 5D3 RAW DaVinci Resolve workflow tutorial from DP Hunter Hampton Richards, which we have found very helpful in our early experiences. Hunter has devised his own custom LUT to Alexa-ify your 5D CinemaDNG RAW footage, emulating that camera's Rec. 709 output. Hunter also digs Purity Ring, so you'll definitely want to check this out.

Be forewarned, there's a little bit of NSFW language in Hunter's Tut for Hunter's LUT -- and that's because he tells it like it is. First, some details from the video description:

Its meant for exposing the 5DM3 when shooting raw at around -1/2 stop to 2/3 of a stop underexposure, but feel free to experiment with both over and underexposure. The reasoning behind the LUT: The majority of footage from the raw hack you come across on the internet is processed incorrectly, saturation is usually way too high, skin looks strange, shadows are lifted to the extreme, highlights are brought down way too far so you can see the hard clip to white -- films don't look like that.

What this LUT does is mimic the Rec. 709 image out of an Alexa (I actually modified it from a Log-C to R709 LUT), the highlights roll to white and clip nicely, the blacks as well roll into black -- skintones are soft and for the most part -- accurate, nothing is over saturated, just an overall pleasing look strait "out of camera". Once you apply this LUT and learn the workflow, you shouldn't need too much *if any* additional color correction. I will continue to develop the LUT to improve it -- feel free to do the same.

IMPORTANT NOTE!: Resolve defaults color temp to 6500k in this workflow, you can change that white balance setting in the Camera Raw tab and apply to the needed clips.

You can access Hunter's custom LUT here.

Given that the tutorial and description info pretty much speak for themselves, I'll leave you guys with one of Hunter's pieces as Director/DP, beautifully captured with the Sony F35 and (from the looks of things) a little bit of love.

Be sure to check in with Hunter and send him some props if you find his video helpful 'like' his LUT -- or his video -- or both! Also be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Links:

Your Comment

44 Comments

He might be right about it being processed "wrong", but the fact is much of the RAW files are beautiful in their own way (particularly John Miller's, which looked downright hypersaturated and hyperreal, but in the right way). Like the artists of yesteryear he's simply denying a basic fact: beauty has nothing to do with rules.

Essentially what he's denying is the ability to have several emulsion as well. In analogue film, you "shouldn't" use Fuji Pro160s film to shoot anything but lanscapes, because it's a very greenish film. Yet I've seen shots from it taken by an African photographer that looked straight out incredible. This idea that there is a "correct" way to do things in art just seems very odd to me.

June 27, 2013

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Agree with this completely, and this goes across the board with filmmaking -- not just in regards to color/film stock. Art > Rules.

June 27, 2013

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You're just putting words in Hunter's mouth, for starters, there is no way to know what he means when he says "films don’t look like that", he could be referring to a more comercial kind of cinema in a specific genre or he could be referring to a proper way of color correcting, not grading, footage.

The things you mention when talking about breaking rules is more about specific effects, sometimes even used to an extreme, for an aesthetic cohesion with the style and story of the movie, it's not so much about color correction, which is what this news is about, it's color grading taken to a level of visual effects.

June 27, 2013

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Dahlius

As someone who really hates the oversaturated grading that is so in vogue today, I love his far more natural looks. This type of stuff is lasting. The other thing is a fad.

June 27, 2013

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DLD

how are the guys at magic lantern doing ? is anyone guessing as to when they might have a beta release for this raw ? are they hazarding any guesses ? (i know they've done outstanding work, and yes: i know it takes time ... jest wonderin').

June 27, 2013

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sjk

I'm wondering the same thing about the beta release- really antsy to try the alpha version but i definitely can not afford to brick my camera if it is a possible risk.

June 27, 2013

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Hi guys, I can't guarantee anything but i've been using the latest nightly builds in commercial shoots and so far so good!! For some piece of mind regarding ML Raw (and also some eye candy) you can check out the latest film I shot here https://vimeo.com/68793193

June 28, 2013

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I love this look and process. When it comes to saturation and stuff it really depends on the subject but I do like this "film" look. My Big Sur video was super saturated but I'm developing an indie film that will be closer to this film style.

Really interested to see how his process works on other RAW cameras like the 5Dmk2, 6D, etc.

June 27, 2013

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Blackmagic Devinci and preset color space, helping Canon with its RAW footage. Love it!

June 27, 2013

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Hunter is a talented dude and the tutorial is really strait forward and helpful.

June 27, 2013

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Erik

Yeah that's great work. Starting to think about going full frame... :)

June 27, 2013

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Im trying to learn about luts myself right now, great insight and Hunters got a new student....Thanks. I'm not a huge fan of over saturation either, there seems to be good balance most of us can achieve with these Luts. For my camera people are trying to create these S-log type profiles that just dont work well. Forget its only an 8bit camera, these custom profiles look terrible (they all pretty much do). I apologize for the dumb question (and off topic) but what's the recording lengths we can expect from a hacked 5d these days? Thanks

June 27, 2013

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Anthony Marino

As long as you have card space. With the Mark III, if your card is formatted in exFAT, it doesn't need to span 4GB files, it will just create one for each clip.

June 27, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

It's tough not to want shoot with this camera. The images are just dynamic. It's like one of those things when you see the footage you don't even ask what's it shot on, you just figure it's one of the big guys. Amazing, thanks for the reply Joe.

June 28, 2013

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Anthony Marino

At EOSHD.COM: Nikon d7100 has a raw live-view feed according to Vitaliy Kiselev

June 27, 2013

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vinceGortho

How come it says anything higher than 1920 is not possible in current video mode for me? also how do you shoot 60fps raw? I have the June 25th ML build

June 27, 2013

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Omar

I'm going to be honest with you... I would have left it on the Log Gamma look, the look before he added the LUT. That to me is gorgeous and it adds a filmic look to the footage. That's JUST ME. The footage was awesome though.

June 28, 2013

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For some reason I followed all the directions, and it won't let me apply hit LUT. I'm using the Davinci Resolve lite btw.

June 28, 2013

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In After Effects, after applying the LUT, I'm getting a lot of saturation and even solarizing in the blues and cyans.

June 28, 2013

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That's MK III footage on his tutorial? Wow.
Blow away by some of that.

June 28, 2013

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Fresno Bob

Hi my raw footage has some heavy magenta in it i use raw2dng so i can open the file with camera raw and lower the magenta tint, if i use rawmagic i cant get rid of the magenta, what im doing wrog? thank u guys

June 28, 2013

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Jas On

is this LUT only for mark III? i tried to install it but don't show in DR..i'm using markII thou...any ideas?

June 29, 2013

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mani

It should show up in Resolve regardless of what camera you're shooting on, try restarting Resolve. If that doesn't work double check your steps and make sure it's a .cube

June 29, 2013

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

I tried this workflow and the footage came out super soft. I had previously run footage through After Effects and the detail in things like hair was great. My tests with DaVinci Resolve and this LUT had significantly less detail than my comparison shots in H.264. I'm assuming before adobe camera raw did some work sharpening. I'm sure it's user error but I'm not quite sure where to add a sharpening step.

July 1, 2013

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Todd Fraser

I am sorry, I got this problem with my mac. I installed the davinci resolve lite but I can't use because of I am getting an OpelCL Error concerning my GPU Cards and/or Software Update. Did you have it first or since it was installed worked well? THANK YOU. Sorry for my english, I am from Panama.

July 5, 2013

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Manuel

Anyone else having problems sending the Premiere XML back to Resolve? I end up with a mess of a timeline that looks nothing like the Premiere edit.

July 7, 2013

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JM

If anyone is interested this worked for me. http://youtu.be/AJzgpIdoUqw?t=7m10s
After fixing the Reel number issue I have had no further problems importing Premiere XML. Thought I'd share.

July 8, 2013

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JM

Thanks JM I found that recently/independently and I'll be including it in an upcoming post.

August 13, 2013

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

You want an Alexa look? get a Lo Con filter. The Alexa has one permanently attached to give it's look. It's a built in look.

August 7, 2013

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Alexa

This is just amazing ! I have never been fund of Canon DSLR but after having seen the possibility of shooting RAW with the 5DM3, I may just sell my D800. Great demo.

August 9, 2013

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This LUT seems to be causing the sky to blow out completely on my test footage. Not following this retains a lot of the info (cloudy sky), though obviously the image is simply flat using the BMD Film info... and if I use this LUT and try to bring back detail in highlights, it's unable to.

Am I doing something wrong or is that part of the LUT?

August 10, 2013

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Kirill

The LUT tends to "like" (i.e., produce nicer results) erring on the side of under-exposure, maybe try pull-developing your CDNG within -1 stop with the LUT applied, see if that helps?

August 13, 2013

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

Generally I do not learn post on blogs, however
I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do it!
Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, very nice article.

August 13, 2013

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Thanks a lot! Most of the words (and material in general) come from Hunter so I take no credit for that but I was happy to share this. Hunter's LUT & Tut helped me a lot as well!

August 13, 2013

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

財布 miu miu

August 15, 2013

this doesn't look like film. it looks like digital trying to look like film

August 30, 2013

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ishoot720p

; (

November 30, 2013

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I'm having trouble downloading the LUT. For some reason, when I download it, it comes out as a text file. Anyone know why this is? I feel pretty foolish as this is the first step of the instructional video. Please help

September 16, 2013

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Ryan Denman

I've dropped your LUT (with .cube) extension into the LUT folder under DaVinci Resolve in the Library folder but the LUT isn't showing up in Resolve lite (version 9 or 10)...Help? What do I do?

October 10, 2013

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David

Cant seem to get this to work...it downloads as a txt file. I'm fairly new to Resolve, is there anything I need to do to convert the txt into a cube?

November 14, 2013

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Do you know the name of that photog? I'm in prepro for a project set in Zimbabwe and am collecting African photographers for reference.

January 27, 2014

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Macar

Alexa never allows the saturation to increase beyond a point, when exposure is increased. This is the same way film works. Whereas videos from other manufacturers like canon, sony & RED tend to give ugly hyper-saturated highlights.

May 12, 2014

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Ratheesh

This is great stuff. We all find our own style in color grading. I seem to consistently go back to a similar pattern across many different shots. However, having something solid like this up go back to and compare to is only another card up our sleeves. Thanks!

August 12, 2014

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James L

I've been tempted to look at the new Sony A7s (purchased one and am trying it out) but I keep coming back to my Canon 5D. One you get used to the workflow it's really not much longer than grading regular footage, and the image you get is, like you said, on par with the big guys.

August 12, 2014

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James L