LUTs Explained: What They Can (& Can't) Do to Help You Make Pretty Pictures
Color grading plays a big part in making your images look good and a major tool colorists use is the LUT—but what are they?
Even if you don't really know what "lookup tables" are, chances are you've used some variation of them at one point or another—think "Instagram filter for your video footage, but way more complicated and powerful." LUTs help you change the look of your footage with a single click, but working with them can have a bit of a learning curve, so here to show you how to utilize them is Ryan Connolly from Film Riot:
I'm not a colorist, so I personally love LUTs; I can choose a look I think would work for a scene, drag and drop it onto my footage, and presto—a professional looking grade that looks like it took hours to create but really only took me 2.2 seconds.
But a common mistake beginners make when working with LUTs is treating them like a magic wand. You can't necessarily add a LUT to poorly exposed footage and get something that looks awesome. You can't necessarily add a LUT to a sequence and have each of the shots look the same.
In fact, color grading starts before you open your post-production software; it starts before you ever even hit record. Take the time to light your scene and get a correct exposure, so when you head into post you'll have good, even images to add LUTs to. In the end, think of lookup tables as a good starting point for color grading your footage, because you'll most likely need to go back in an adjust levels until every shot in your sequences looks even.
Do you work with LUTs often? What programs do you use? Which sites do you get your LUTs from? Let us know in the comments below!