Using LUT for Color Grading and Video Editing in Premiere pro

2 Mar 2020

4 Min Read

Since video is a visual artwork, the way you use colors is crucial to convey the message you want for your video. So it’s normal to have many tools and possibilities in terms of dealing with colors in this industry. Although there are tools built in some cameras to apply some filters to the footage, most of the color manipulation happens in post-production as you know. That’s why many filmmakers use LUTs to help them go through the process faster and better. So today we want to find out what is LUT and how to deal with it.

LUTs Basics

LUT or Lookup Table is a series of color data that change the color value of an image when it’s applied to it. In fact, LUT is a conversion table. Every image has a number of luminance values, what software like Premiere Pro does, is that it analyzes each pixel of the image to find out its luminance value, then changes the luminance value of that pixel based on the data in the conversion table inside the LUT. and it does it for every pixel until the whole image is changed in color.

LUT Basics
LUT Basics in Premiere Pro Lumetri Color Panel

How to Apply LUTs

To some extent, LUTs are the color palette you add to your video to go directly to the color mood you want and then edit it to get exactly what’s suitable for your video. So adding LUTs, in most cases, is just the beginning of the process and you are required to tweak the settings of the LUT like Contrast, Exposure, Saturation and the like. LUTs are generally in two file formats .cube and .3dl And these two formats work out on almost every editing software which makes using LUTs simple. In an editing software like Premiere Pro, you can add a LUT by opening the Lumetri Color, under Basic Correction, in the Input LUT drop-down select Browse and then choose your LUT. Then you can edit the look it gives you by changing settings like exposure, contrast, and saturation. As an instance, if your LUT has injected intense colors to your image and it’s not appealing to the eye, you can fix it by either changing the saturation or the contrast if it’s too dark.

How to Apply LUTs
How to Apply LUTs in Premiere Pro Lumetri Color
Most editing software can load LUTs natively, but there may be some here and there that need plugins in order to be able to handle LUTs. Below is the list of software that can support LUTs; Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Lightroom Classic, Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer, DaVinci Resolve, Edius, Sony Vegas, PowerDirector, Cyberlink Color Director, Capture One, The Foundry Nuke, Wondershare Filmora, Assimilate Scratch, SpeedGrade, Affinity Photo, On1 Photo RAW, HitFilm, Video LUT, LumaFusion, 3DLUT Mobile

1D LUTs vs. 3D LUTs

In a very simple term, a 1D LUT gives you color alteration possibility far less than the 3D LUT. while 1D LUT changes the value of the color, the 3D one uses a color cube and in order to change the color, it changes the place of it somewhere in the cube. This way, you get RGB channels separately and manipulate each color of RGB more accurately. A 3D LUT also has a measurement of color capacity by having more nodes in the color cube and it’s called “grid”. So the higher the grid the more color possibility you’ll get in a 3D LUT. you can also tell the difference by their names. 1D LUT is obviously a flat one while a 3D LUT is, well, a 3 Dimensional color space and therefore more accurate and realistic.

1D LUTs vs. 3D LUTs
1D LUTs vs. 3D LUTs

LUT Examples

As LUTs deal with colors and colors are visual elements of life, a set of examples will help better understanding the concept, so herein you can see different examples of LUTs being applied to change the color values of the image.

LUT Examples
Examples of Using LUT for RAW Footage
;
LUT Examples
Examples of Using LUT for RAW Footage
;
LUT Examples
Examples of Using LUT for RAW Footage
;
LUT Examples
Examples of Using LUT for RAW Footage
;
LUT Examples
Examples of Using LUT for RAW Footage
;
LUT Examples
Examples of Using LUT for RAW Footage
;

LUT Packs

With the progression of LUTs, more companies tend to create various types of them to help filmmakers get the look they want from production to post-production. And adding LUTs in the camera really makes filmmaking easier in terms of seeing the end product. Because when you add a LUT to your camera you can see that the shot will work out for you or not, based on the mood you want to create. So in this case, it’s better to have lots of professional graded LUTs to work with and this is why using Pixflow’s 700 LUT pack for both production and post is recommended. You can add any of these LUTs to your camera to find the suitable color mode you want and then add it to your editing software to edit your footage and get the exact colors you need. It’s super handy!

Pixflow’s 700 LUT pack
Pixflow LUT Pack

Conclusion

In general, LUTs are useful and also tricky. They might confuse you about choosing the right one so a trusted source is really helpful for you to get the work done better. But in the end, like every other feature in video editing, you need to know LUTs well and practice a lot to learn how to use them in a professional way. So get out there and make some colors!

Feel Free to share it on :

Up Next

How Coronavirus Has Affected The Movie Production Industry