The ability to shoot flat log footage is both a blessing and a curse.
Sure, it can help you maximize dynamic range and maintain the utmost flexibility throughout the grading process, but it can also be a major pain in the ass. That's where LUTs come in. Even if you intend to craft your own creative grade, having a neutral starting point is incredibly helpful. And if you just want great looking shots without the time-consuming process of grading, slapping a LUT on your log footage is a great way to go, especially now that there are so many options on the market.
One of the most affordable (and great looking) options come from a small startup called Rocket Rooster which makes post production tools for indie filmmakers. Their latest product, the Cinema Color II LUTs, emulate classic s35 and s16 film stocks. Here's a sample:
What I love about these Rocket Rooster LUTs is that they're not over-the-top and hyper-stylized in terms of contrast and saturation like many of the preset looks on the market. They're clean, naturalistic looks that look great on their own, but also make a solid base for crafting your own creative grade on top of them. Plus, the Cinema Color II pack comes in three price tiers, all of which are stupidly affordable, ranging from $45 for the entire pack to $25 and $15 for stripped down versions. Plus, Kevin at Rocket Rooster is offering 20% off right now for No Film School readers, so you can snag the Pro pack for $36, the Basic pack for $20, and the Starter pack for $12.
In case you're wondering, here's what you get in each of the different packs.
If you're new to shooting log and applying looks, these Cinema Color II LUTs are a great place to start. They work within whatever editing or grading software you use, they look great, and they certainly won't break the bank. If you're interested, you can learn more about Rocket Rooster and the Cinema Color II LUTs here.