Heres a question… Im an offliner so to all you colorists out there… whats the advantage to shooting footage so muted and then adding the LUT on in post? Why not just shoot right the first time and enhance that image? Ive always wondered but a conversation with other editors over lunch spurred me to pose the question here. Have at it. Im curious to know the advantages.
Adrian Smith: Ah, the mystery of the LUT (and those that ignore them).
Richard Sanchez: Shooting flat allows a greater range to color correct. You use the LUT to for viewing purposes in offline. Its theoretically built by the DP, or the DIT with the DPs advice. It allows the color to be consistent with how the DP intended for offline.The tricky thing with LUTs, is while there are different kinds of LUTs (1D versus 3D for example) they arent really standardized. You also have CDLs, which are standardized and can be stored and passed along in an EDL for finishing.Both LUTs and CDLs are color decisions typically made on set or in pre production. They can be utilized as a starting point in final color, or thrown out all together and have color looks redone from scratch.That said, its never advisable to work with flat footage in offline.
Diana J. Brodie: Thanks so much
Richard Sanchez: Anytime!
Basil Galloway: Diana J. Brodie Yeah, more dynamic range when you shoot flat, so when you grade it in the end, you get more detail in shadows and highlights for scenes with challenging dynamic range.
Jud Pratt: Much like ETTR (Expose to the Right) when I shoot photos on my DLSR where you adjust your exposure to the point where your whites are just a notch or so below clipping. Without adjustment it looks over exposed & flat. But, you have much more latitu…See more
Jud Pratt: Oops… Meant to linky ETTR… En.m.wikipedia.org
Exposing to the right – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Christopher Darlington: Shooting everything flat just gives you more options to colour.
Warren Eig: Apply the LUT (the DP and Director determined to use in Preproduction) before you edit to see what their intent on set was. The muted look is like shooting RAW or a negative– more latitude in the color grade.
Nick Berrisford: Its not a question of just shooting it right. Shooting Raw is shooting right. It allows more control over final color at the end of the process rather than locking in at the dailies stage. One should be doing a dailies color pass for the offline edit to separate files. Then the RAW files should be assembled in online for Final Color.
Adrian Smith: The way I understand it is that the footage (hopefully) is shot right the first time. Its just that the camera info (dialed in by the op or DP) is recorded separately as a LUT. It gives the colorist more options in post. They can use/apply the LUT as a starting place or create their own palette.
Richard Sanchez: This is also helpful to understand the different between linear and logarithmic color. Flat footage being logarithmic or LOG. Qvolabs.com
Digital Images: Log vs. Linear
Diana J. Brodie: Ah thanks so much. This will be very helpful
Manuel-Manoli Tsingaris: Im still confused… 🙁
Jesse Spencer: The colors that humans like to watch VS the colors that the camera can record.They arent the same.Using a LUT allows for the picky humans to select from the full buffet of colors more readily.It can mean some fuss and recompression in the data, but the benefits are:-When you shoot correctly the end result will be made of a higher amount detailed information-When you shoot incorrectly, it means that at the least you will not have blown out footage.The notion is that video, unlike film, is pretty unforgiving to shoot. This increases the margins for error.However – IMHExperience DPs screw it up 9 out of 10 times.Any time you shoot with a LUTDEMAND:Camera reports explicitly noting the LUT usedANDInsist your DIT get the LUTs used labeled and placed on the media drives.
Diana J. Brodie: Ah thank you.
Steven L. Austin: IMO any minute an offline editor spends NOT cutting the narrative is a wasted minute. (I didnt shoot it, Im not grading it… is it possible to allow me to work at full capacity using my specific skills that Ive honed for 28 years? That was a rhetorical question. Of course, the answer is no. Get offline to do it! Flat rate their lazy asses!)
Diana J. Brodie: Word Dude. Seriously
Jesse Spencer: Agreed.There are ways for AEs to prepare LUT footage so the editors can concentrate on story.However if you are like 98% of editors out there, you are your own AE… So its hardly the most technical hurdle you will face.
Dan Boujoulian: better control of the highs and the lows
Manuel-Manoli Tsingaris: Any good suggested readings so I can better edit when I get LUT footage? I typically am an offline long format film and doc editor but Ive had to see this washed out LUT footage and I need to know how best to work with it. Cheers all!
Jesse Spencer: Its very simpleIf you have the correct LUT you enter it into a color effect.Lumetri for Premiere Pro…See more
Manuel-Manoli Tsingaris: Thank you Jesse!
Jesse Spencer: I get screwed by the DPs all the time who dont know how to use LUTs however.3 times out of 5 I just have to resort to screwing with a curves color corrector to get an approximation.
Bernd Gareis: To put it simple, Rec709, is the norm that your Telly shows you the picture is something like 8 stops. If you want to capture more you have to compress it somehow. When in Post, you decide where to put the 14 stops of latitude you capture into your 8, bring down the sky, by darken it. If you shoot Rec709 it might be white, when it is too bright. No way to recover ….. The FS7 even has a function for that. If you put a rec709 LUT in your viewfinder, you can press a button to see the brighter areas above the Rec709, you press again, the darker. So you can evaluate what can be recovered in Post.
Lauren Sorofman: To relate it to offline — if you have a 3 camera set-up for a dramatic scene, why not just use a line cut from a live switcher on set? You wouldnt because it would rob the editor and director of the creative process that is storytelling. Sure you could argue that a good live switcher would nail it right out of the gate… but why restrict yourself like that? Odd are, youll have a more powerful piece if you give the editor the ability to nudge and play and shuffle and cheat. Its the same with shooting log — youre giving an artist more elbow room to craft something rich and expressive and supportive of the project.
Manuel-Manoli Tsingaris: Thank you Lauren. Im less in need of justification and more in need of how to utilize so it benefits the final outcome of a film. Peace.
Sean Lander: Its called Fix it in post ha ha.. But yeah Id do the same if I was shooting
Gregg Grinnell: It always seemed to me that a flat image, one with no dark blacks or hot whites but containing detail throughout the luma range (and is not RAW) would tend to have more noise when CCed since you have compressed all those luma levels into a more limited luma range (Im assuming in the 16-235 range in 8 bit…)
Jesse Spencer: Noise is preferable to blown his and lows.But you are right- making fewer values out of more can be a waste of data.
Gregg Grinnell: Agreed
Steve Hullfish: The whole point of log is to so this and NOT have the noise. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the process.
Tony Graynoth: Ive heard some execs are so sick of watching flat offline cuts that they have banned production from shooting that way.
Manuel-Manoli Tsingaris: I understand why. Its a very uninspiring look at that stage.
Kai Yu: Dailies should be transcoded with a LUT or it can be applied in the avid. Unless literally everyone at that network, from production to post is incompetent, theres no reason to bake in a LUT on-set.
Gregg Grinnell: Just added it in the source setting
Bernd Gareis: Very smart to loose 6 stops of dynamic range, because of incompetent producers ……
Adrian Smith: well in this digital age its very easy to show the execs a version with a LUT applied and have a flat version to hand over to the colorist. We do that all the time in this shop. Never underestimate the lack of knowledge amongst clients and producers.
Richard Sanchez: That speaks to people in post also not knowing how to deal with the footage. Generic LOG to Rec.709 luts are now built into most systems (Avid & Resolve for sure). While it wont achieve whatever specific look might be intended by DPs, it will give footage appropriate contrast to be palatable for viewing and editing.
Sean Lander: The problem with Avid is that most are still using versions where this isnt possible. And having to transcode in AVID is super slow. I put a blanket grade on a top layer before screenings but even this can cause issues.
Tony Graynoth: Hi Sean. Yes exactly. Its unfortunate that it has come to this and it represents a failure of education and communication across the freelance post community.
Manuel-Manoli Tsingaris: Yes Tony, I agree. Im a 20 year editing vet of docs and indies and perhaps since Ive been freelance that whole time Ive not had to deal or even learn about LUT. I feel like it happened overnight! Lol I used to online on avid symphony too! Enough about me. I need to study up on this because I dont like the feeling of ignorance in my own field of expertise!
Scott Arundale: Shameless plug for my book which explains LUTs in further detail. Amazon.com
Modern Post: Workflows and Techniques for Digital Filmmakers
Joshua Laplap: I definitely will PICK THIS UP!
Diana J. Brodie: Thanks so much. Perfect
Manuel-Manoli Tsingaris: Just what I needed. Peace.
Lori Baldassano Howell: Thank you colorists for the information. I recently worked on a show where it was shot flat. We put a temporary adjustment layer on the episode so the network execs can see what it may look like. Then in online the colorist did his job perfectly
Tony Graynoth: The issue as previously stated is with older avids that are still in use and that dont allow LUTs to be easily applied. One recent show I worked on had one of the 4 cameras shot flat. When all that footage is mixed together its a faff to correct especially as some offline editors are not knowledgeable in even the basics of colour correction. This results in poor looking pictures in the approval process. Hopefully in time this will go away but until then I can understand why the execs dont see the benefit in shooting flat.
Jane Fleck: As a editor who also works as a DIT, I live in the space you are discussing. To get 15 stops of latitude (exposure) and offer the widest choice for color correction in post, the files must be un-color-corrected when delivered from set. Adding a correction to the normal baseline means you add a LUT that is usually Rec709. That is similar to setting an analog tape up to bars or a reference signal.
Jane Fleck: DPs often get their preferred look into the footage by adding a custom LUT. It is possible to get a really specialized look by adding color correction to the transcodes (smaller files used in editing) but unless you have the correction that was done in the field, that can be difficult to match. If you are the one transcoding the files, and you are not adding a correction to make the digital file match the color you want, you will see the washed out image where the black levels appear too high and the bright areas of the picture lack definition.