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Why Most Color Grading LUTs Suck & Don't Work With Your Footage

For many years color correction LUTs (or Look Up Tables) were used exclusively by professionals in the post-production industry. They were primarily utilized for big technical tasks, like preparing a finished movie for output on film or DCP.

Over the years as color correction became more accessible and expansive, LUTs began taking a different shape. They began to be used creatively, and weren't simply used for technical applications any longer.

Filmmakers, editors and colorists began using creative LUTs to achieve a stylized look on set and in post. In some cases, artists would use a single LUT on all of their work to achieve a specific tone, similar to choosing a film stock in years past. Famed cinematographer Roger Deakins is one of these people. 

But if you perform a google search for color correction LUTs today, you’re bound to come across thousands of options that just won’t cut it professionally. This is due to LUTs becoming more mainstream even with non-professional editors and colorists, many of whom are now making their own and selling them online.

The result is a market flooded with options, but few of which actually work as advertised.

When non-professionals create LUTs, they are often created extremely quickly with non-optimal footage. The shots they use to test and develop LUTs are often captured on a single camera, with identical settings and lighting setups. This means even their best LUTs will only work a fraction of the time, when they happen to be applied to footage with similar settings to the test material... Which is rare.

This is why many lower-end LUT files just don’t work well on your footage. Almost always, their effect is far too strong - throwing all of your colors in different directions haphazardly, resulting in a final image that would have been better off with no LUT at all.

If you follow a correct order of operations (which involves matching your shots and fixing any glaring color issues before applying a creative grade) and are still not getting the results you want with LUTs, chances are it’s the LUT that’s the issue - not you.

This is why we take a completely different approach when we engineer our CINECOLOR LUTs. We tirelessly spend hours experimenting with footage from different types of cameras shot with different codecs, picture profiles and lighting setups to ensure that each one of our looks is completely universal. Whether you apply our LUTs to footage from an iPhone or an Alexa, they will work every time.

Having worked with countless professional colorists and cinematographers over the years, we have a deep understanding of their needs. And they definitely aren’t looking for LUTs that will create unpredictable results… They want consistent results every time, and a subtle enhancement and stylization of the great work they’ve already done in camera.

That's exactly what we aim to deliver with our LUTs. It's all about consistency and quality.

So for those of you looking for a stronger color correction process and more reliable results in the grade, look no further than our CINECOLOR LUT packs.

You can browse each and every LUT in our Single Pack collection, access bundle deals through our Master Pack collection or try out our Sampler Pack which includes 2 LUTs from every set.

Happy coloring!


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