3 Different Types of LUTs That Filmmakers Use (and How to Use Them)

Find out how to use LUTs to make your images more dynamic.

LUTs are an essential tool for any filmmaker. They can make your images more stylish, rich, and dynamic while making the process of color grading a whole lot easier to navigate. This aesthetic purpose is typically what a lot of new filmmakers think about when they think about LUTs, but these color tools can actually do a lot more than that. In this video, Ted Sim from Aputure lays out the different kinds of LUTs filmmakers use as well how they use them on and off set.

Ted mentions three different types of LUTs in the video and each one serves a different but very important purpose at different points in production.

  • Technical LUTs: Filmmakers tend to use these kinds of LUTs to calibrate monitors and to ensure your image looks the same on different monitoring devices.
  • Creative LUTs: These are similar to technical LUTs, but their aim is to provide uniformity across different software rather than hardware (i.e. editing platforms rather than a monitor).
  • Camera LUTs: Ted explains these LUTs perfectly: "A camera LUT is a manufacturer's best guess for what color space they think you want when you're shooting with their camera."

Just to be clear, all three of these different kinds of LUTs do the exact same thing; they all take the color value inputs of an image and change them into another. The only difference is in their purpose and application. And though there are many other types of LUTs that filmmakers use, these three are the ones you'll most likely deal with on a regular basis.      

Your Comment


Could you please speak a little faster? I was able to catch every third word or so, and I'm don't think that was your intent.

September 9, 2017 at 9:12PM, Edited September 9, 9:12PM


Alright, so I'm crazy thankful for this particular post for two reasons. The first being that I didn't realize there were three distinct LUTs! I don't use any but have been aware of their use for a few years now, so it's always great to learn new stuff! But the second reason I love this is because it's detailing how they're used in a strict reference capacity and *not* as a final look tool for color editing. I hate seeing people use them as a shortcut to get their final color lock because, at least as I understand it, they're depriving themselves of the opportunity to make better and more detailed decisions when color editing their video.

September 12, 2017 at 1:57PM, Edited September 12, 1:57PM

Andrew Sellers
Writer/Director/Assistant Camera