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Colorist lingo: RAW, LOG, and look-up tables (LUTs)

From: Up and Running with SpeedGrade CC

Video: Colorist lingo: RAW, LOG, and look-up tables (LUTs)

In this movie we're going to talk about three different terms, that have become a big part of the post-production lexicon in the past five years. What I'm going to try to do is give you a quick overview of each of these terms. Frankly, each of these terms in themselves could be an entire training series, so I'm just going to give you some basic definitions so we're all talking from the same script. What is RAW? Well when we talk about recording RAW off of a camera, we talk about having the tools within a color grading application.

Colorist lingo: RAW, LOG, and look-up tables (LUTs)

In this movie we're going to talk about three different terms, that have become a big part of the post-production lexicon in the past five years. What I'm going to try to do is give you a quick overview of each of these terms. Frankly, each of these terms in themselves could be an entire training series, so I'm just going to give you some basic definitions so we're all talking from the same script. What is RAW? Well when we talk about recording RAW off of a camera, we talk about having the tools within a color grading application.

To access the RAW controls, what we're talking about is a file format that gives us the signals straight off the camera's imagining sensor. The whole point is not to burn into these images, things like exposure and white balance and saturation. And all these things that would normally be used to give us a pleasing picture directly at camera record. You know, you can go straight to air with it. You can watch it on your home television, and it looks really good. The whole point is to not do that. The whole point is to give us as much latitude in post production, as we can to help us mold the image the way we want it to look. Now Log is, tries to achieve the same goal, but a little bit differently, whereas RAW gives us all of the sensor data that we can manipulate.

Log pretty much tries to change the way its recording to its file to give us more detail in the areas of the image we're probably most interested in. Which is anything that isn't in the deep shadows, or anything that isn't in the high, high highlights. Everything in the middle, and give us more detail in there to try to intelligently record information where we most want it to be. The end result, is that the picture itself, like RAW, looks very flat, it looks very lifeless.

But we've to use the traditional grading tools, of our color correction suite, to take those images and bring them back to life. Now, where RAW and Log are similar is that they both are designed to go through the color correction process. Right, they both assume that you're going to go back to the camera originals, that you're not going to be working off of proxies. Because by working off of proxies you now lose access to all that RAW data.

If you work off of proxies from the Log originals, again, you're going to be losing detail that you want your colors to have the option to pull back in. Both also benefit from their contrast being expanded and sent to editorial so that editorial isn't looking at these flat images that have no detail that are difficult to look at. And both benefit from the proxies being named identically to the RAW and Log originals.

Where this workflow falls apart for both of these types of recordings is if the reels on the proxy files are named differently then they are on the camera originals and there's no way to link everything back up. That becomes a very painstaking process, to put that all back together to get back to the camera originals. Alright, and then there's this notion of Look-Up Tables. And what a Look-Up Table does, there are two types. There are technical Look-Up Tables, although I've shorten as LUTs.

And those are very precise, they're designed to take you from one color space to another. Or from a very particular image to another particular image like, Rec 709 going to emulate a very specific film stock. That is a technical LUT. And then there are creative LUTs and I, I, that's what I call them at least. They're creative LUT's. And these are LUT's that are used to expand out our image. RE provides 16, over 16 different LUTs on their website for their log recorded images, so these things are more general creative tools.

They're designed to do an initial contrast expansion for you, and take some of the work off of your shoulders. But they are not magic bullets, they are not panaceas. They still require us to be intelligent about using them, and deciding if we even want to use them. And as I just mentioned, some camera manufacturers provide LUTs that you can start with. Again, you can throw them away, you don't have to use them. But in the end they're all designed to try to get you to a more pleasing picture as a sort of a short cut, as a quick step. So hopefully I've helped you understand in your mind a little bit about RAW and Log workflows, what LUTs are designed to do.

The truth is, this is really just an intro to an intro. as I said, you could do a three hour class on this stuff alone. it goes very deep and I encourage you to continue learning about RAW, Log and LUTs. It's becoming a much more important part of a colorist's job. And more and more footage is being recorded, with these types of workflows in mind.

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This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with SpeedGrade CC
Up and Running with SpeedGrade CC

55 video lessons · 10185 viewers

Patrick Inhofer
Author

 
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  1. 30m 23s
    1. Welcome
      3m 40s
    2. Where does SpeedGrade fit in a post-production workflow?
      5m 7s
    3. Exploring additional equipment
      5m 28s
    4. Using the exercise files
      9m 7s
    5. What's new in 7.1
      4m 57s
    6. What's new in 7.2
      2m 4s
  2. 46m 7s
    1. Interface overview
      7m 7s
    2. Navigating to media in the Media Browser
      4m 58s
    3. Direct Link vs. Native
      5m 39s
    4. Direct Link on the Mac
      2m 54s
    5. Manipulating the viewer
      5m 44s
    6. Manipulating the Timeline
      5m 3s
    7. Using analysis tools to evaluate contrast and exposure
      6m 42s
    8. Using analysis to evaluate color
      8m 0s
  3. 23m 14s
    1. Importing clips directly into SpeedGrade
      4m 42s
    2. Using automatic scene detection
      5m 53s
    3. Sending a sequence from Premiere Pro to SpeedGrade
      6m 6s
    4. Using an edit decision list (EDL) to conform a project
      6m 33s
  4. 35m 30s
    1. Colorist lingo: What is a primary correction?
      4m 11s
    2. Understanding the 3-Way controls: Contrast
      4m 59s
    3. Understanding the 3-Way controls: Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights
      5m 26s
    4. Understanding the 3-Way controls: Hue and Saturation
      5m 16s
    5. Using the slider controls
      6m 39s
    6. Adding, deleting, and working with primary layers
      8m 59s
  5. 17m 9s
    1. Making initial contrast and color adjustments
      6m 59s
    2. Balancing your shots by removing color casts
      6m 6s
    3. Grading in passes
      4m 4s
  6. 48m 23s
    1. Colorist lingo: What is a secondary correction?
      2m 9s
    2. Colorist lingo: The vignette
      1m 42s
    3. Using masks
      9m 43s
    4. Mask linking
      5m 41s
    5. Maks and layer linking
      2m 30s
    6. Grading layers and grading clips
      5m 29s
    7. Tracking masks and using the keyframing controls
      8m 15s
    8. Understanding the secondary layer
      8m 16s
    9. Pulling HSL keys and limiting with masks
      4m 38s
  7. 11m 25s
    1. Tracking a face
      5m 25s
    2. Keying and grading skies
      4m 18s
    3. Using a mask with a sky correction
      1m 42s
  8. 27m 10s
    1. Copying corrections from one shot to another
      4m 59s
    2. Using the Snapshot Browser
      7m 19s
    3. Using the Continuity Checker
      5m 47s
    4. Using the Shot Matcher
      4m 14s
    5. Saving and recalling grades
      4m 51s
  9. 14m 8s
    1. Understanding the Look layer
      7m 55s
    2. Saving and applying looks using the Look Manager and Look presets
      6m 13s
  10. 17m 8s
    1. Colorist lingo: RAW, LOG, and look-up tables (LUTs)
      5m 5s
    2. Controls for RAW footage
      5m 46s
    3. Understanding LOG (flat) footage and LUTs
      6m 17s
  11. 19m 40s
    1. Setting up a render
      6m 42s
    2. Importing rendered media back in Premiere Pro
      2m 40s
    3. Sharing looks between SpeedGrade and Premiere Pro
      5m 35s
    4. Direct Link to Premiere Pro
      4m 43s
  12. 4m 36s
    1. Additional resources
      2m 36s
    2. Goodbye
      2m 0s

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