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I am new to the world of LUTs and am just doing initial research on it in advance of doing some colour grading on a video project. I understand that LUTs are applied to either give a 709 look to footage recorded in log - OR to give a particular style.

My footage was shot on a humble Fugifilm hs10; so it's not log and I'll have to attempt to make it good good with the manual colour correcting tools (I'm using premiere pro CS6).

But if I want to apply a stylistic effect how do I go about that. When I visit websites which sell LUTS to give particular effects - eg rocket rooster, deluts, ground control - they all have luts for sale but they appear to be starting from a point of view of a log file - at least the footage always looks washed out like log files do.

Regardless of whether they're starting from log footage or not - my question is do I have to be starting from a particular point of view ( eg particular nominal values on the scopes for instance ) to achieve these stylistic effects - or are there any general guidelines for me to get my footage ready to apply one of these stylistic luts

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Applications such as FCPX and Adobe Creative Cloud actually ship with a wide variety of stylized LUTs, so if you use either of those you can play around with them. Most LUTs will specify what they expect as input, and many I have seen are designed to work either with LOG or REC709. (There are many LOG formats out there--Arri Log-C, RED RedLogFilm, Sony SLOG, Canon, etc. Some LUTs get really particular, others less so.)

A good rule of thumb is that the LUT expects a properly exposed image, meaning black, white, and 18% gray land at around 16, 235, and 110-120 in the 8-bit broadcast video safe world of 16-235. It's very helpful to have an optical signal generator (calibrated black, white, and gray pieces of paper which, when hit by light, generate an optical signal) so that you can verify exposure before you shoot.

If you don't have a waveform monitor on your camera or in your signal chain, you can record data from the optical signal generator, upload it to your favorite NLE (which should have a waveform monitor) and you can verify that your white, black, and gray levels are sane. Learn whatever it is your meters are telling you when you shoot your black/white/gray value chart with a correct exposure.

If you cannot shoot LOG, then look for LUTs that will accept REC709, shoot properly exposed images, and have fun!

  • Thanks - a lot of info in there which I think will cover what I was asking when it get to the bottom of studying it - actually btw edited my question I'm on CS6 so I don't think I have any LUTs in that. – byronyasgur Dec 7 '15 at 18:39

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