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Using Adobe SpeedGrade CC, powerful professional color correction and color grading is available to anyone with a Creative Cloud membership. In this course, professional colorist Patrick Inhofer offers a project-based learning experience to get you familiar with the SpeedGrade tools. You'll work three different types of projects through the color correction and grading process, which includes getting projects and footage into SpeedGrade, color correcting and grading shots, and then rendering and outputting shots. Each step of the process is rich with lessons and anecdotes that are applicable to real-world color grading scenarios that editors, producers, and other creatives will face.
This course was created by Patrick Inhofer and produced by Robbie Carman. We are honored to host this content in our library.
In this movie, we are going to pull up Dead Man's lake ungraded, and regrade it this time using a LUT. And why are we going to do that? Because this film was originally recorded on an Arri Alexa as Log C. So, this is a perfect example of a film where we might want to apply a lot to help us get the color grade started. If you have access to the exercise files, open up exercise file 10_03_logandluts. Before we get started on this, let's just take a quick look here at the timeline and the format default, and you will notice there is an Alexa format default.
The thing is, is this wasn't ARRIRAW and that's what this pull down menu is referring to, ARRIRAW. This was actually recorded to ProRes 444 as Log C, therefore, this doesn't really apply to the footage we're working on now. So, let's jump back into the LUT tab and let's apply the LUT Look layer. And right off the bat it looks (LAUGH) terrible. Well, that's because it's giving us the wrong LUT. it's the CineSpace LUT, and let's jump up instead.
There are to AlexaLUTs that ship with SpeedGrade CC. Were going to pull the one for Rec 709. And the image doesn't quite look right. Certainly, if I come over here and use the eyeball to turn this layer on and off. I mean the image looks better, but I wouldn't quite say it looks rich and dynamic, like I'd hope this image would look like. And why is that? Well, because you do have to spend a little bit of time preparing the image for a LUT. Most let's assume that the incoming image is using most of the tonal range.
And what do I mean by that? Well, if I turn this off. Press the A key for analysis tools, notice how little of the full tonal range we're using. The highlights are peaking out at about 60 IRE. What we want to do is expand this out, set our blacks, set our highlights, and then feed that into the LUT to allow the LUT to preform its magic. So we'll come here into the Look tab, we'll select the Primary layer. And now I'm going to first use the overall offset, because the offset affects every pixel of this image.
And also do a very slight balance in the blacks, it looks to me like the greens were a little high. So I'm going to make a slight adjustment there to even them out. And then bring them down but not clip them out. Then I'm going to take gain control on the over all and lift that up, and I want the clouds, oh, probably around 95%. Right about there, on these highlights right here. Now, this image doesn't look very good. There isn't much color or saturation to it. Clearly, there's more work I want to do. But before I do that, now is a good time to feed this into the LUT and see what the LUT does for us.
So now, I'll turn on this LUT, and there we go. I've got a much more interesting picture. Look at all the color that came in. but I am doing a little bit of clipping out of the highlights right now. So maybe what I want to do is jump back into this primary and pull these highlights back. Just a touch, and then maybe pull these shadows up just a touch. And maybe I do want to give a little more saturation, because I'm looking at them and their skin tones, and I'm thinking I'd like a little more saturation in their skin tones.
Now that's looking better. Now, if I turn this LUT on and off. This LUT has done a nice job. If I turn the entire grade on and off, that's where we started, that's where we ended. That's a much better looking image, a much happier. But notice, we had to do a little bit of work in order to get a LUT to work for us. And now, let's see what it does for the rest of the shots in this sequence. Let's jump over to shot number two. I'm just going to hover over this first clip and press the C key to copy the grade across. I'm actually pretty please with that.
That is actually looking like pretty good shot to me. Next clip, press the C key, not bad. Next clip, hover, press the C key. maybe a little saturated there on the shirt. Again, the C key. Definitely a little over saturated on the shirt, but I'm generally happy with the skin tone. So, I will come in here with the secondary. Some of these blacks are a little crushed. His shirt looks like a big black-hole, and then I've got this orange screaming out at me. Back to the reverse shot. I'll come up to this previous reverse shot.
If I want, I can turn on the Little film strip here does help me find the shot I'm looking for. This one right here, press the C key. Next shot, come to the wide C key. And then I've got this point of view shot that I'll just put the C key on there, and that could probably be using a little more tweaking. But you can see that, you know, we've got the foundation of a very strong color grade going on right here. And there's more work that can be done, but using a LUT helps us pull a lot of this detail image right away.
Now I don't have to do it. And you can go earlier in this training title where I'm working with primaries, and we work with this footage using just the tools here as in the primary layer. Basically grade this shot from scratch, and not using a LUT. So you can go either way that you want. In this case I think the LUT is a pretty decent starting point. And I can go ahead, add an another primary layer, and if I want may be left out some of the detail in those shadows. I'm going to bring down my highlights a touch.
Come in to my mid-tones and maybe drop the mid-tones a little bit. It's a little later in the day. While lifting the mid-tone gain a touch to give me a little more contrast. And then taking the highlights and dropping them a bit. Just to keep the clouds from clipping out, we'll put a little bit more color, little bit more blue into those highlights. And that's what we've done on that third primary layer. So there you go. If you have access to the project files, I will save this off for you so you can kind of deconstruct what I've done.
It'll be saved as 10_03_logandluts. And, and hopefully this will give you a good idea of how to use LUTs in a grading workflow.
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