Video Color Grading with Wedding LUTs *coming soon*
As photography has evolved over the decades, many photographers are finding themselves with new tools at their disposal. Take the mirrorless camera as an example. Now most affordable cameras offer 4K video.
Professional photographers are starting to take notice of this feature, particularly on YouTube and out in the field for wedding photography. As you pick up your camera you may be wondering how do you get the best looking footage from the device?
Well, put simply all you need is a LUT. Similar to photo filters, you can apply LUTs directly onto your footage in post-processing to change the cinematic tone of your footage.
We will get into the technical details a little later, but basically all you need to know is that a LUT will dramatically change the way you produce film for your clients or yourself. They simply enhance the footage by adjusting the hue, saturation and dynamic range all at the touch of a button.
Learn How to Use LUTs
speed up your editing process
What is a LUT?
LUTs are like video filters for your footage. Not just cinema, but recordings from weddings, tours, events, etc., can be retouched and improved using LUTs.
A good example of this can be seen in everyday television series or movies. For example in Suits, there is a distinct cinematic teal and orange look. You also might remember The Matrix for its strong green color casts across each film.
Ready to go into a little more detail: LUT is an acronym for a Lookup Table and has several values, used in a formula to transform one color range to another. In the film industry, editors perform color correction in scenes with LUTs inside professional studios.
A LUT contains a set of numbers that are utilized by software to change the colors of an image. A lookup table can change the exposure, saturation, hue, etc., of an image to transform its color grading as per requirement.
In any lookup table, the input value of the function corresponds to a set result in the output. A simple example of a table with pre-computed values of functions is a log table. A log table reduces the burden of manual calculation, while a LUT in photography has the same importance in editing.
There are some important things to consider in order to prepare the footage to accept the LUT. One crucial step is to ensure your camera has the ability to shoot in a LOG profile. A LOG profile is a flat image that is “stripped back” of saturation, contrast and hue. Applying a LUT to this type of footage helps you transform the ungraded footage into a cinematic masterpiece.
Let's color love stories!
If you need to deliver a wedding video or an entire album urgently, LUTs can be your savior.
They also come in handy when you need all videos to have a similar grading and look.
Our LUTs are compatible with any program that supports .CUBE files.
Why should I use LUTs?
All wedding videographers, emerging or experienced, should use LUTs for post-processing. LUT files prepared by experts, can be used by young videographers to produce the best wedding videos for their clients.
Even if you use the best digital cameras available in the market today, the final video or image always requires some touch-up. Using a LUT for a bunch of videos and pictures recorded in a wedding reduces the burden of hours of editing. Better focus on capturing beautiful memories!
LUTs for wedding filmmakers can be a useful tool for post-shoot processing:
Fast Color Grading
The most significant advantage of a LUT for a wedding photographer is that it speeds up the entire editing process.
Image processing involves several tedious processes that require a lot of time and effort.
With LUTs, all these stages of color transformation will take place. However, using LUTs speeds up the process by eliminating redundant steps.
The output that you obtain with the use of an LUT is always unique:
One LUT can provide soft and desaturated grading to your frames, while another can produce a higher contrast within colors in the same frame.
Therefore, the video that you obtain eventually will be unique and quite different from what you had started with.
Using a LUT helps in maintaining accuracy and consistency in color grading.
The transition between different shots becomes smoother, providing a cohesive cinematic experience to viewers.
How to use a LUT?
Now that we have explained all the good reasons to use LUTs, let's see how to use LUTs in editing and post-processing:
1. Normalization of Footage
The first step for using lookup tables like wedding LUTs, film LUTs, etc., for log footage or an image is called normalization. Normalization involves converting raw log footage to a workable video where all details of exposure are easy to understand and recognize.
In this way, a remapping of the image or the recording helps in streamlining the procedure. While one can perform normalization manually, it is too cumbersome and involves a lot of trial and error before you get things right.
Instead, one could just use a log normalization LUT, in the beginning, to make the process easier.
2. Color Corrections
Once you are through with image normalization, it is time to start with color corrections.
One thing that should be noted here is that if you are using a high-end DSLR camera, your images are already normalized. Thus, you can proceed with this step straight away, without worrying about normalization.
Today, even the simplest of smartphones provide a mechanism for color correction. Finding the correct balance between temperature, exposure, contrast, and light is the aim of color correction.
While simple devices can help with the process, using advanced software will provide significantly better results.
Image After Normalization:
While normalization is essential for the application of lookup tables, it is associated with unwanted changes in the image quality. Either your image will become underexposed, or will have an increased brightness, both of which are not desirable qualities.
This is the reason why color correction is essential before you apply a LUT to the image or footage. Balancing the exposure as much as possible will help you get the best possible results after the LUT application.
It is completely fine if you wish to apply the LUT without color correction to a normalized image or footage. However, color correction not only enhances the exposure but also improves the color response significantly.
The Need for Color Correction:
The adjustments and corrections are always subjective. However, it is recommended that you perform color correction after normalization in all cases.
When we discussed the advantages of using LUTs in wedding recordings, we stated that LUT helps in smooth transitions between shots. If you do not perform color correction at this stage, consecutive shots will have varying exposures and color responses, which will degrade the final footage quality.
Lastly, you should remember that any LUT capable of emulating any stock footage whatsoever will only work if the raw footage is adequately exposed and well-calibrated. Thus, give color correction it's due importance before applying a LUT.
3. Applying the creative LUT
The last step in using a LUT is to apply the creative LUT itself. The purpose of using the LUT after color correction is to provide the much-needed color grading to the footage.
Again, as we have discussed before, the process of transforming your footage from one color range to another can start with the application of the LUT. In that case, The LUT that you use will be the starting point for the color grade.
There have been a lot of discussions on the pattern of usage of LUTs. While some people suggest that it should be used in the beginning, others feel that it can help in providing a better final touch to the processed video.
Experts believe that using the LUT from the beginning will have a better impact than using it in the end. Moreover, even after using the LUT, minor adjustments have to be performed manually by the photographer.
Our LUTs are compatible with any program that supports .CUBE files.
Before purchasing a LUT, you should always correlate its compatibility with your editing software. Today, LUTs can be used with various software packages like Adobe Photoshop, Nuke, DaVinci Resolve, etc.
Most video editing software packages are natively compatible with LUTs today. However, even if your video editing software does not support a LUT file, you can download a third-party plug-in and make it work.
The plug-in will be a simple software that needs to be installed and will run with your video editing software so that it gets the additional feature of supporting LUTs.
For wedding photographers working with a digital camera that records in Rec.709, natural, or neutral profiles, our LUTs will work smoothly without any plug-in.
However, if you have recorded log footage, you need to convert the file to a Rec.709 profile, following which you can use our creative LUTs.
How to use LUTs in your Video Editing Software
a) Using LUTs in Premiere Pro
If you are using Premiere Pro, you will see two options. One is for input LUT and the other is for Looks. The input LUT option will enable you to edit the footage in a way that compliments the LUT selected.
Looks will help in changing the styling of the footage. While this also requires a creative LUT, it is separate from the process of color grading.
To choose an input LUT, you will have to select the Basic Correction tab of the Lumetri Color Effect section of Premiere Pro. Then, browse files and choose the LUT that you wish to work with.
Similarly, for Looks, you need to find a LUT file that has a .look file extension to start styling the footage.
b) Using LUTs in Final Cut Pro X
Final Cut Pro X is a video editing app that is pre-installed on Apple devices. It is considered one of the best video editing software exclusively present in Apple devices. Apple users prefer using the app over Premier Pro because of its great efficiency.
If you have been using Premiere Pro all this while, learning to use Final Cut Pro X is similar so it shouldn’t be too hard to gain a grasp. The installation of the LUT and application is the same in theory. So don’t feel like you need to learn a whole new system.
While it is not mandatory, some people prefer using an additional plug-in, like Color Finale, for editing footage in Final Cut Pro X.
To install a creative LUT, click the effects browser and choose the colors tab. Now, drag and drop the custom LUT plug-in on the footage that you need to edit.
Once you finish doing this, you can just import your LUT, and start working on the footage.
What Else Should You Know about LUTs?
a) Understanding Color Space & Picture Profiles
In image processing, different kinds of color modes are used for various purposes. Each of these modes is known as color space. It tells you the color correction abilities of a device or a file.
The picture profile contains an array of parameters that influence the image characteristics. Changing the picture profile is essential for processing the footage, to edit it efficiently.
The majority of mirrorless cameras out there all use a similar form of RAW file recording. For video this is referred to as LOG, Cinestyle of HLG.
Filming in such as profile allows you to color grade your footage, transforming it from a “washed out” or “flat” look to one rich in color and contrast.
The transformation of the footage is due to a change in the internal data once the LUT is applied. The data includes saturation, shadows, mid tones and highlights.
b) Limitations of LUTs
LUTs are great for editing and save editors and photographers a lot of time. However, the use of LUTs has its limitations, too. The biggest limitation is that LUTs can only help with primary grading and correction. When it comes to secondary correction, the editor needs to perform it manually.
This means that even if you apply a LUT to a balanced image, you will not get the perfect footage. LUTs are reliable, but overdependence on their application will not yield satisfactory results.
LUTs have revolutionized video and image editing. When applying a LUT not only will your workflow increase in productivity, but your footage will absorb a higher quality aesthetic with richer colour and greater tonality.
Especially in a wedding film, using wedding LUTs can ease the job of a wedding filmmaker.
From blue skies and seas to golden beaches, romantic vineyards, and moody mountain peaks, our LUTs and presets will work well for every aspect of your work. Let's color love stories!
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